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The philosophy of (the 1on1) composition

By Michal 'Carmac' Blicharz
Oct 2, 2008 22:55

I thought I would share what the 1on1 video production entails from the start to the very finish. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year you should know that every Wednesday SK Gaming publishes a video interview with a person that's involved in esports.

The hardware
The 1on1 formula has evolved a little throughout the year. Right now we use two cameras to get two angles. This serves two purposes: 1) It makes the interview more interesting visually. 2) It makes the interview easier to edit (easier to seamlessly cut off hesitations, repetitions, disruptions).

Shooting the interview is how a lay man would imagine it. We sit down, turn on the cameras and we talk. Most often it's either pigvomit or my girlfriend Iza that works the cameras (the credits are at the end of each video).

When we have everything shot, there is post-production. Assuming you got the footage onto your PC and your software is able to edit it without any glitches (Premiere has problems with one of the HD video formats), you can proceed to editing. I presonally use Adobe Premiere (I hate Sony Vegas) but I am looking to switch to Final Cut Pro on the Mac.

The timeline
Editing can be much harder than it may seem. Yes, you could take a video clip, add an SK logo in the corner and be done with it. But what we want to do is make the 1on1s a real PLEASURE to watch.

An interview is a story. If it has a discernable beginning and end, it will have a flow. And if it has that, then the video's minutes will fly quickly. That is the point. This is why we sometimes rearrange the order of questions in order to get a story that evolves.

First things first, though. In order to arrange the questions and answers into a story with a flow, you need to know what you want to use first.

The very first thing we do is we synchronise the footage from both cameras on the editing software's timeline. You can imagine what happens if we chop up the footage first and then start syncing...

The second thing to do is to watch the entire footage from start to finish (this is usually between 20 and 45 minutes) and cut out stuff. We remove anything that's boring, anything that's repetitive, pauses, disruptions, planes flying past and me sneezing.

The final product should be between 10 and 16 minutes in length. I feel it's the perfect length for a casual interview. It is much better if people complain it was a little bit too short than if they stop watching in the middle.

If this means you need to cut off a few fairly interesting answers, then you just do it without hesitation. Juding by the small number of complaints I think we usually get the length just right.

The third thing is to watch it again and start rearranging the interview topics into a story. While conducting the interview I try to keep to a certain scenario but it usually doesn't work out - you never know what the answers are and how you will react to those. This usually takes 20 minutes to an hour and we have a timeline!

Getting to this point usually takes about four hours of work. When you've carved out the "story," you can start working on making it look good.

There are two phases of this. In the first phase you need to smoothen the video out on all the cuts. If your interviewee gets an epileptic seizure right in the middle of a very interesting answer, then it is your job to make it look like it never happened.

In the second phase you just pick out the prettier camera angles and simply focus on making your interview a pretty video.

Broll enters at this stage. Regardless of how talented your camera man or gamera girlfriend is, a talking face can only be interesting for so long. It is always good to use extra footage to additionally illustrate what is being said.

Making the video pretty takes between 30 and 90 minutes. (If you have broll your footage picked out beforehand and don't have to browse through it!)

You could choose to add in-game footage to the interview, but that is a ton of additional work. It requires watching a few hours of demos, noting down the frag times, playing the demos again and extracting the action. A lot of the time it's worth it, though.

Final touches
At this point, you add the intros, outros and the logos to the video. You need to make sure it's all tasteful and doesn't get in the viewers' faces. By this time it will have taken you a lot of time, believe me.

Once you're done with that, it's time to export (an hour), upload and wait for the comments!



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