How to film great looking vox pops

At Echo Video we tend to film at quite a lot of events, normally one or two a month over the course of a year. These can range from festivals to gigs to conferences and seminars and will last anywhere from one hour to a few days. We might be there to film the entire event or just to put together a highlights reel but whatever the reason we always end up having to film a few vox pops.

What are vox pops?

For those of you who don’t know, vox pops (or vox populi) is simply is when we stick a camera in the face of an unsuspecting member of the public and ask them a question. At an event we might be asking for their feedback on the event or getting them to comment on something more specific. Whatever the case, we normally only have a few seconds to film each of the vox pops and in this time we need to grab someone, frame up, hit record and ask a couple of questions

Trying to work in this way can be stressful and lead to poor looking vox pops as you’re concentrating more on getting good content and not how it looks, however, there are a few things we do to make sure that our vox pops look as good as possible.

It’s all about camping

Instead of running around with the camera see if you can get the people to come to you. Find a good spot and get set up, then send your assistant out to bring people over. In the long run it will save you time and stress as you’ll be ready to film the vox pops when the interviewees arrive.

Only film one person at a time

Composition is king in interviews and if you’re in a hurry it can be hard enough to get one personvox-pop-example1 looking good on camera, if you start to bring in more than one then it can get messy. If you have 2 or more people on camera then inevitably they’ll start talking over each other making it’s difficult to cut or if they don’t do that the person not talking will likely stare gormlessly down the lens. Best to be avoided if possible.

Beware the backlight

It can tricky to get a shot looking good when you’re running around grabbing people and don’t have lights on hand to set up. In these cases, if you’re inside don’t film towards a window. It sounds obvious but under the stress of getting a vox pop you can forget the simplest things. Also, if you’re in a conference centre, look out for filming under those horrible spot lights in the ceiling. They cast hideous shadows from the brow and nose of your subject which are impossible to fix in post.

vox-pop-example2Take your time
It might sound nonsensical but you actually have more time than you realise. When you grab someone they may only want to give you a few seconds but once you get going then they won’t be able to stop. So you do have time if you need to make adjustments or repeat questions.

I hope that you’ve found this helpful, if you would like to talk to us about filming at one of your events then please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us here at Echo Video.

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