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Capturing Natural Interviews

Posted on Jul 8, 2024 by Pro Moviemaker

The Magic Video Box is the device that lets you shoot straight-down-the-lens conversations 

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The style of interviews where the subject talks right down the lens may put a spell on your audience with its direct approach, but it can be tough to record. Even experienced presenters can struggle when faced with a camera rather than an interviewer to talk to.

Enter the Magic Video Box, a hardware solution to shooting this with any size of camera. The kit is easy to set up, comes in a flight case and can be purchased or rented from the British company which produces it – and also offers training and online videos.

The device is mounted on a tripod using a plate under the camera to accept included 15mm rods, which a locator tray baseplate fastens to. The box unit then sits on top. 

A black cloth forms a light seal between the camera lens and the box, inside which is a beam-splitter mirror glass at 45° that lets you shoot through it. Place the box with the mirror set vertically, then the interviewer sits at 90° to the camera. The talking head then looks directly into the lens, but sees the reflection of the interviewer. So it’s far easier to get a better rapport, and has been used in TV shows like I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Beckham.

The team is currently designing a new model that enables dual filming, with one camera pointing at the talent and another pointing at the interviewer.

Magic Video Box inventor Flexible Films  uses the product in community, education, health and social care films as subjects say it makes them feel more confident. For that, they were named community filmmakers of the year (UK) by AI Global Media, and the Magic Video Box won video supplier of the year 2024 in the London & South East Prestige Awards.

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This feature was first published in the July/August 2024 issue of Pro Moviemaker.

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