I won’ say that I particularly like to learn from my mistakes, but learn I do. Recently, on a two-camera shoot, I decided to have the host do her narration in a room with a nice background. I made sure to put her far enough away from the background to add depth and to blur the background as well. She was not using a teleprompter, so we decided to divide up her narration into segments. We had her well lit, sound was great (had her lav’d and a shotgun for backup). The two cameras were set up in good positions and all was right with the world. Only I made one big error.
When you are having someone narrate and you don’t have a teleprompter you have to have them sometimes do long tracks of narration. With two cameras available, you can often break up the narration to make it more interesting. It is important to remember that if you’re having someone do narration into two cameras, you need the subtle head turn from one camera to the other. I forgot to do this. I had her read one segment. We’d stop and then I’d have her read another segment into the other camera. My editor, God love him, is a genius when it comes to covering gaps in narration. You see, without the turn, the narrator’s transitions are like jump cuts. The narrator needs to look from camera to camera to give the narration a natural, conversational look.
Yes, sometimes you can fix it in post, but if you want to keep your editor happy and make your film’s narration look more natural, remember that how the narrator looks from one camera to another can save you lots of post production hassle
So remember, when you’re doing a two camera shoot of a narration, when the narrator changes to another paragraph, have them turn to look at the other camera. It’s the subtle head turn you need. They can do the beginning of a sentence looking at one camera, and do a subtle turn to end the phrase.