How To Do A Double Video Interview

Everything you need to know to film a double interview

Over the last few years, the double video interview has been increasingly used in TV documentaries and even cinema: it is a particular type of interview, which allows the comparison between two subjects, which are usually placed the same questions.

This type of video interview has recently also been used for commercial video production: there are numerous commercials that have made use of it: the comparison, in fact, allows the viewer (the consumer, in this case) an immediate comparison between characters, products or themes, without an excessive effort of abstraction.

If you are also thinking of making a video of this kind, you will find everything you need to know in this simple guide to making a double video interview: it is a simple operation, which however needs some tricks.

After this article, however, you will have no problem filming your double interview 

Three ways to make a double video interview

Before explaining what possibilities you have to make a double video interview, let’s start from the basics and what you need to have: whichever method you choose, it is obviously essential to have a camera or a device capable of filming. Whether it’s a reflex camera or a good smartphone, both must be fixed on a tripod for perfect stability.

Also, when recording a double video interview always remember to keep a short depth of field, so that the subjects are detached from the background. If you prefer and you are shooting in the studio, you can use a white, black or chroma key cloth to hang behind the interviewees.

We now come to how to position the camera (s) during a double video interview. You have three possibilities:

  • If you do a double video interview with separate subjects, not in the same space then, then you just need a room and a little forethought. Keep the interviewee in the central part of the frame, his gaze can be turned towards the camera, otherwise position the interviewer slightly to the right or left of the camera. When interviewing the other subject, place the interviewer on the other side of what was done previously: this way the two will appear to be facing each other. The really important thing with this shooting mode is to leave 15-20 seconds after each answer, so that you can then assemble the interviews together and have the right listening plans.

 The second possibility is to film the subjects of the double video interview at the same time. Choose this setting if you want the two subjects to interact with each other: hearing each other’s answers will be influenced, in fact. Behind them mounts a common background for both. If you use two cameras, you can position the subjects at a distance: make sure to start the recordings together so as to have audio and video synchronized and simplify your life during the editing phase. The interviewer will be positioned here centrally between the two subjects of the double interview.

  • If, on the other hand, you carry out a double interview with a single camera, then position it centrally with respect to the two subjects, who in this case will be close and can also physically interact with each other with a pat on the back or other. In this case you will only have a video track, but to help you use a small mask to be placed on the preview of the camera, so as to put the two subjects at the right distance, and then recreate the mask during the editing phase.

These are the three possibilities for making a double video interview: for convenience we also leave you a small summary scheme with which you should easily find yourself. One last tip: make the interviewees sit on stools and not on chairs or armchairs; people tend to move to make they comfortable, especially before giving an answer and this could be inconvenient for the success of your double interview.

How to edit a double video interview

Now that you’ve recorded your double video interview, it’s time to finalize it in the editing stage. These are not complicated operations, especially if you have chosen to film the interviewees together and with only one camera. In this case, skip to the next paragraphs, where I’ll explain how to insert a dividing line for a fake split screen. In both cases, a piece of advice is worth: if too many seconds pass between one answer and another, cut the dead time between one question and another in your double video interview for an optimal result.

All marked? Now let’s see how to edit a double video interview on Premiere.

  • Import the interviewees’ video and audio clips and place the two clips on top of each other, on two different video tracks.
  • At this point you can move one of the two panes by going to the Effects Controls panel at the top left and changing the Position parameter.
  • As you can see, however, the image is not perfectly centered, you need to crop it. Then go to the Effects menu, search for Crop (you can find it in the Video Effects folder) and apply it to both video clips.
  • Now go back to the Effects Controls panel and scroll down to Crop: if you have centered the subject, crop 25% both to the right and to the left. 
  • Place the cropped clip in one half of the screen, again using Place.  

Repeat for both clips. Now you have a perfect split screen with the double video interview.

 It’s time to add a little effect to the double video interview. Right now, in fact, the split screen has simply placed the clips side by side. But to have a good double interview you need to add a mask or, more simply, a simple dividing line. A simple step you can do on Adobe Premiere like this:

  • At the bottom left, select the second icon from the right.
  • Add ” Title “
  • In the title menu, select the line icon and place it in the middle of the screen.
  • Decide on the thickness and color of the line.
  • At this point, insert the title clip onto a new video track.

ET voila, now the double video interview is set up. You “just” have to cut the dead times, synchronize the audio and any captions and then everything is ready. Easy, right?

Double Video Interview: A Summary

We have come to the end of this step by step guide on how to make a double video interview. Nothing too complicated: just decide if you want to shoot the subjects together or separately and, in the second case, remember to let some time pass between one answer and the other to have good listening plans. When editing, follow these simple steps to set up the double interview split screen and that’s it.

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