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How to shoot interviews on the 5D mark III - Basic kit & settings

I recently had the pleasure of shooting three interviews in Athens for Hermann Vaske's new documentary about creativity and the Balkans.

The three distinguished and highly respected artists interviewed by Hermann were Phedon Papamichael ASC, Actor & Director Renos Haralambidis & Director Helen Angelopoulos, Theo Angelopoulos's daughter. Since we had to shoot only interviews i used my basic 5D Mark III setup and just one lens, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II which is great for interviews.

I also had with me 3 more lenses: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4, Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II and Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L. For a second / backup camera i had my trusty Canon 7D with the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS that only mount on Canon EF-S bodies and it's my favorite 1.6x lens. With the latest Canon 7D Firmware Update (2.0) we also now have Manual Audio Control.

Also used the IKAN Follow Focus & IKAN Monitor, Vocas MatteBox, ND filters and a Sachtler CineDSLR tripod.

Sennheiser EW 100 G3, RODE NTG-2, Zoom H4n

For audio i used the Wireless Sennheiser EW 100 G3 recording straight into the camera and the RODE NTG-2 plugged into the Zoom H4n. Keep in mind that in order to capture really good audio with the NTG-2 you have to power the mic with one AA 1.5v battery & use the back input of the Zoom (3.5mm mini jack). You will need an XLR-to-minijack cable.

DO NOT use the XLR inputs at the bottom side of the Zoom because the output level of the NTG-2 is really low even if you use the H4n's internal Phantom power.

5D Mark III Sound Recording Menu

If you want to record audio straight into the camera you have to switch to Manual Audio on the 5DmkIII and set the in-camera Rec Level just 1, 2 or 3 clicks before 0 (zero). This way you will cut some of the 5D noise.

Wireless Sennheiser EW 100 G3

At your wireless Sennheiser receiver set the AF Out at +12dB and the Lavalier mic Sensitivity at -24dB. Try to see as much Yellows you can without hitting Reds (-12dB to 0dB: 5DmkIII audio levels). From there choose your desired sensitivity.

Keep in mind that if you want to shoot an interview outdoors the 5D noise would not be noticeable. If you're going to shoot in a really quite environment like for example a hotel room, the noise will become slightly noticeable. For many shooters this background frequency is acceptable. If you want 100% clean audio you have to record sound externally. Use the NTG-2, the Zoom H4n and sync manually in post or by using PluralEyes.

5D Mark III Silent Control Menu 1/2

5D Mark III Silent Control Menu 2/2

On your 5DmkIII enable Silent Control. It's on the 5th submenu of the red camera icon. This way you can silently adjust the recording level during shooting by just touching the 5DmkIII's dial on the left or the right side.

Kino Flo Barfly

For these interviews i also had five lights with me that i never used since we shot everything outdoors using just a Dedolight reflector. The lights i had with me was the Lowel Rifa LC-55 that creates a beautiful soft key or fill light. 2 x 500w Kino Flo Barfly, delivering more lumens per square inch than any other full-spectrum fluorescent source on the market using only 110W. The classic Dedolight DLH 4 and one Lowel DP Light. A powerful key, backlight or background light. Add diffusion or an umbrella, and it's a soft fill source.

If you're shooting in Greece and you're interested in any of the gear on this post, you can find it at MC Manios or rent most of it from Kostas & Dimitris at RentPhotoVideo.

DP Phedon Papamichael, ASC

Actor/Director Renos Haralambidis

Director Helen Angelopoulos

Visit: Hermann Vaske | Why Are You Creative

How to shoot interviews on the 5D mark III