An Interrotron is basically is a device which enables interview answers to be given directly to the camera, helping engagement with the viewer. It allows the interviewee some comfort by allowing them to see the interviewer’s face instead of the camera lens.
It was invented by Oscar-winning documentary film Director Erroll Morris to help conduct interviews.
He explains the device as follows:
"Teleprompters are used to project an image on a two-way mirror. Politicians and newscasters use them so that they can read text and look into the lens of the camera at the same time. What interests me is that nobody thought of using them for anything other than to display text: read a speech or read the news and look into the lens of the camera. I changed that. I put my face on the Teleprompter or, strictly speaking, my live video image.
For the first time, I could be talking to someone, and they could be talking to me and at the same time looking directly into the lens of the camera. Now, there was no looking off slightly to the side. No more faux first person. This was the true first person."
Film 4 utilise this technique really well with all of the interviews they conduct...
Credit: James Brown - Film 4 Ident Claps https://vimeo.com/102170780
Conventional straight-to-camera interviews can be really tricky. If your interviewee is not a professional presenter, trying to get them to appear natural and relaxed while talking directly to a camera can often look awkward. Not only is looking straight at the lens intimidating for your interviewee, but it’s also remarkably easy for them to look away — mostly at you, the interviewer — and break eye contact with your audience.
Production companies often resort to the tried-and-tested, off-camera interview with an interviewer sitting just next to the camera. This makes your subject more comfortable, but it does tend to look quite “corporate”, which isn’t always the look you’re going for. If the person is talking about their personal experience or their message is designed for the audience directly, a straight-to-camera approach works an awful lot better.
When your talent looks straight into the camera, a natural connection is forged between your subject and your audience.
Because of this increased engagement we have used variations of the interrotron since 2009 and had a bespoke custom one built for us in 2017.
Some snippets of our own interrotron films are shown below...
To find out more about this technique and how you can utilise it for your videos
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