UWI TV Shooting Guidelines

Framing the Shot:
Interviews tend to use shots ranging from mid-shot (from head to waist) to medium close-up (from head to chest/shoulders). Wider shots can be occasionally used as establishing shots or cutaways. Read more
For UWITV interview purposes, there is less need for close-ups or extreme close-ups. If they must be used for creative reasons, ensure they are not held for prolonged periods.

It is important to provide sufficient headroom for your subjects while also leaving enough room below the subject’s chin for our standard lower third. This is where the medium shot and medium closeups are key.

The examples below show instances where a subject was given insufficient headroom and leaving no room for the lower third.

No headroom

No room for lower third

The Rule of Thirds is the key principle which should guide framing subjects. The subject on the left, should be framed along the left vertical line with adequate looking room on the right. The subject on the right should be framed on the right vertical line with looking room to their left.

If using slats for a background cut the top off in frame so you can not notice they are slats behind.


For interviews, a 2 or 3 point lighting setup is ideal. A key-light providing primary lighting for each subject, coupled with a less powerful fill light to soften shadows. In instances where there is not enough light available, the ISO or Gain setting on the camera can be adjusted to compensate. It is important to note that image quality will be affected, so these settings are best used only when absolutely necessary.

1.How large is the location in which we’ll be filming the interview?
Location sizes may vary. However the room should be large enough to accommodate the subjects, crew and equipment comfortably. Also, subjects should not be too close to the background.

2.How tall are the ceilings?
Ceiling heights may vary but should be tall enough not to impede light stands which should position lights above the subjects.

3. What ambient light is already in the room?
Assess all available light sources and use the ones that provide the best, most consistent lighting. Daylight, florescent and LED lights tend to be cooler, while older video lights and incandescent bulbs tend to be warmer. It is best to avoid mixing lights of drastically different color temperatures if possible. While getting subjects adequately lit is the key, lighting should not be too orange or too blue. White balancing will help compensate for the predominant light source.

4. What does the space look like? Is it very colorful? Just a bunch of white walls and a conference table?
What you are giving is depth and volume to the room so there should be no shadows. When doing interviews you should light up your subjects. For a region talk you would use no less then 2. However for a symposium you can light up the subject using the light on top of a camera. Or visit the location and talk to the tech if you are not conversant with the location. This would go for sound too on symposiums.

Number of Cameras:
For interview programmes such as Region Talk, a 3 camera setup is ideal. Camera one should be framed on the interview subject, the second on the host/interviewer and the third should be set at a wide angle to include both subject and host.

In the event of a 2 camera shoot, camera one should be framed on the interview subject while camera 2 should be set at a wide angle to include both subject and host. Once the interview is concluded, it is vital that you capture close up reaction shots of the interviewer. These include smiling. nodding and listening shots that the editor can insert later.

For event coverage, should try for 2 cameras one on audience and one on speaker. If they are showing a slide show ask for a copy after the event. Always carry a hard-drive and laptop on set. For transfer of footage.

For all multi-camera shoots, ensure that the cameras have the same: resolution, frame rate, shutter speed, white balance and ISO.

All UWI TV banners should be branded at each event across the region when filming symposiums events and book launches etc. Mics should also be branded.

Pick-up Shots:
It is often necessary to film pick up shots with the host after an interview has ended. These can include: transitions to and from breaks, introductions and conclusions, noddys (reaction shots), and re-phrased questions.
These should be done with an eye towards continuity. It is crucial to ensure than the host is focused and looking directly into the camera and maintains the same energy/tone-of-voice which they used during the interview.

For interviews, this is a matter of choice. It is always nice in interviews to have a little depth of field (blur) behind the subject so the focus is on the subject. Be careful when using bookcases as the audience may want to zoom in on the books. Be subtle with background but not too bland. As mentioned previously, subjects should not be right up agasint the background. Provide a minimum of 2-3 feet if possible.

For interviews, a lavalier mic pinned discreetly to the subject’s clothing is ideal. Alternatively, boom mics can be utilized. However it is key that each shot is monitored closely by the producer for instances where the boom dips into frame or a shadow is visible.
For larger events, audio from the primary mixing board should feed into the camera via a XLR cable where possible. Again if you are not familiar with the location and tech crew it is always advisable to see what equipment they have.

Quiet on Set:
Place signs in the area surrounding the shoot reminding persons in the vicinity that shooting is in progress.
Also remind crew members to remain quiet on set while recording. Audio should be carefully monitored for any background noise or other audio challenges.


moiré pattern

Remind subjects and hosts to avoid small, high-contrast patterns such as pinstripes on a shirt. THese will cause moiré patterns on screen which can be distracting to viewers. See example above.

Be sure to warn everyone in the room that taping is in progress, and identify places where they may sit if they do not wish to appear on screen. See privacy guidelines for more information.