How Long Does It Take to Set Up for Filming an Interview?

At Story Machine, we understand that setting up for filming an interview is a critical part of the production process. Adequate preparation time ensures everything runs smoothly and that we capture the highest quality footage possible. Whether we’re working in a familiar location or one we’ve previously scouted, proper setup is essential. Here’s what you need to know about how long it takes us to set up for filming an interview.

When filming in a new location for the first time, more time is needed to account for various unknown factors. We recommend allowing 2 hours for setup in a new location. This time frame ensures we can address any unexpected challenges and conduct a thorough, unhurried setup process. Here’s what this includes:

  • Scout the Area: Identify the best spot for the interview, considering factors such as background, lighting, and sound.
  • Unload Equipment: Transport and organise all necessary gear from our vehicle to the setup area.
  • Position Lighting: Adjust lights to ensure the subject is well-lit without harsh shadows or overexposure.
  • Set Up Cameras: Position and configure cameras, ensuring the framing and angles are perfect.
  • Test Audio: Set up microphones and test audio levels to avoid any sound issues during the interview.

For simpler shoots or when the location is relatively straightforward, setup can be completed in 1.5 hours. This is still sufficient to ensure a quality setup but allows less buffer time for unexpected issues.

When we have scouted the location in advance and know exactly where the interview will be filmed, the setup process can be more efficient. If we have confirmed where the interview will take place in advance, setup can take as little as 1 hour. This is feasible if:

  • Lighting Requirements Are Minimal: The natural lighting is sufficient, or the lighting setup is straightforward.
  • Gear is Pre-Unloaded: Equipment is already at the location, reducing transportation time.

Below is a summary of key factors that can influence the time required to set up for filming an interview:


  • Natural Light: Utilising natural light can reduce setup time, but it also requires flexibility as lighting conditions can change rapidly.
  • Artificial Light: Setting up studio lights takes additional time but provides more control over the lighting conditions.


  • Environmental Noise: In noisy environments, extra time may be needed to position microphones optimally and reduce background noise.
  • Mic Setup: Using multiple microphones or complex audio setups can increase the time required for audio testing.


  • Number of Cameras: Using multiple cameras for different angles requires additional time to position and configure each camera.
  • Stabilisation: Setting up tripods, gimbals, or other stabilisation equipment can also add to the setup time.

In summary, setting up for filming an interview requires careful planning and adequate time to ensure everything runs smoothly. For new locations, we recommend an ideal setup time of 2 hours, but it can be done in 1.5 hours for simpler shoots. In pre-scouted locations, setup can take as little as 1 hour, depending on lighting requirements and equipment readiness. By following these guidelines, we ensure a seamless and efficient setup process that leads to high-quality interview footage. Here’s an overview of our recommended approach: 

  • Pre-Scout the Location: Whenever possible, we visit the location beforehand to identify the best setup spots and note any potential challenges.
  • Organise Our Gear: We keep our equipment organised and easily accessible to minimise the time spent searching for items.
  • Prepare a Checklist: We use a setup checklist to ensure no steps are overlooked and to streamline the process.
  • Communicate with the Team: Clear communication ensures everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, avoiding confusion and delays.

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At Story Machine, we specialise in creating high-quality video content tailored to your needs. If you’re ready to start your next video project, contact us today!

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