I sometimes get asked to film two people on screen at once. Over the years this has come up and 9 times out of 10 it just doesn’t work. One person talks while the other sits or stands there like a deer in the headlights. The non speaker doesn’t know what to do and they look uncomfortable and pretty soon become a distraction for the viewer.
Recently I was asked by my friend Andrew Griffiths to film him and Nick Bowditch together for a short series of videos. The videos were about an upcoming series of workshops called The Art of Storytelling. Because I knew Andrew and knew he was an extremely competent presenter I figured we’d give it a go. If it wasn’t working then we’d revert to Plan A and film one person at a time.
It turns out this time was the one time out of ten when it did work. Andrew and Nick played off each like seasoned professionals. It was completely unscripted which in this case helped with the natural delivery between the two. They engaged with other, they listened while one spoke, they looked at the speaker and the camera (audience) when the other was speaking. It was like they were chatting to a friend right in front of them.
So the rule of thumb is only filmed one person at a time. So long as you know the rule and why, then you can break it to try for a better outcome. Such as this.
If you’re interested in attending one of the workshops check out http://www.artofstorytelling.com.au/