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Choosing the Right Lens for Filming an Interview

If you’ve just landed your first interview gig but you’re not quite sure what focal length to choose, you’ve come to the right article. While an interview may appear very simple to the viewer, there’s still so much that goes into filming an interview, and it can be pretty overwhelming.

Pami Coleman

If you’ve just landed your first interview gig but you’re not quite sure what focal length to choose, you’ve come to the right article. While an interview may appear very simple to the viewer, there’s still so much that goes into filming an interview, and it can be pretty overwhelming.

Today, we’re going to focus on the lens choice, and for the sake of this article, I’ll be referring to a camera with a full-frame sensor. That way, when I mention a particular focal length—say, 24mm—the corresponding field of view (FOV) will match that number. I should also mention that though this info is a good starting point for filming interviews, it is by no means the be-all, end-all source for selecting focal lengths.

I am also focusing on a one-interview talent composition in this tutorial. However, as you film more interviews and become more aware of focal lengths and their characteristics you should probably break away from these standards to evolve your art (and blow your client’s mind.)

Intro to Focal Lengths on Lenses

Before I run through the fundamentals on what focal length to choose, let’s quickly recap some basic information on lenses. Lens manufacturers identify a lens’s focal length in millimeters (e.g., 24mm.) The lower the number, the wider the focal length. For example, a 16mm focal length gives a wider field of view than a 24mm lens. Focal lengths are generally grouped into three major categories; wide-angle, medium, and telephoto

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