September 2016 - Challenge - Interview - With Special Guest Judge Nora McCormack

This month, our technical challenge was simple: quality audio capture and expression.  And what better way to learn that than with a simple interview? 

We brought in guest expert, filmmaker Nora McCormack from S/P Films.  Nora lives in Maine and creates gorgeous wedding films in summer, and amazing ski footage in the winter.  She's worked at a television station as well as independently, running her own business.  Some of her work has been featured on The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, Good Morning America, and The Weather Channel.  Nora knows how to handle interviews and audio challenges, so I asked her:

What are your 3 best tips for interviews?

Nora says: My 3 Tips for Interviews:

1. Use a lav mic & audio recorder as oppose to the in-camera mic. There are dozens of affordable choices out there & it immediately bumps up your production value. A shotgun mic is convenient & better than the in-camera option, but still doesn't compare to a lav.

2. Lighting is key. If you don't have access to off-camera lighting, place your subject in front of a window for some natural light.

3. Use a tripod. When you don't have to worry about keeping a camera stable & the subject in frame, you can have a more natural conversation with your interviewee. This will put them at ease, giving you more natural & authentic responses to work with.

Nora was generous enough to field a Q&A for us all month long over at Project 12, and you can join us for future challenges, which are open to anyone willing to learn video.

She was also our guest judge for the month and selected the following 3 interviews. Below, she outlines why she selected each one.  Congratulations to all Nora's winners, and thank you, Nora, for lending your time & expertise!

60 seconds with Aspen- I loved how simple this was, yet it left me wanting to know more about this absolutely charming little girl! The music fit perfectly, the graphic overlays were SUPER adorable (and I can only imagine that they fit her personality to a T), & the audio was crystal clear. I can't wait to see more from Christin! Winner: Cristin Kreml, Oak + Feather Films


A morning with Liam- I felt that the use of spoken audio from the mother was used beautifully here. The audio quality itself was great, and the complimenting images to go along with the words made it even more emotional/powerful. Wonderful storytelling! Winner: Stacey Ilyse, Stacey Ilyse Photography + Films


Three- Simple, & another fun peek into the soul of this little 3-year old! I loved how his aspirations of being a chef was tied in with the making of the banana bread The lighting on Bo was nice & bright, and the audio was clear. Extra kudos for trying to work with the H4N to capture clearer audio! Winner: Alyssa Kellert, Alyssa Kellert Photography


Honorable mention: Gracie at Five- The lighting looked great- Window light is the best light This is such a fun piece to have for your family. Keep this up throughout the years, it's an absolutely priceless gift for your family! Winner: Janet Crouch, Janet Crouch Photography

Emily Mitchell