What is it
The eye direct is a unique system to get direct, down the barrel eye contact with your camera, its something I have attempted for years, with varying degrees of success. The eye direct is a somewhat complex contraption which on first glance appears to be more distracting than just asking your ‘talent’ to eye ball the lens, but in reality actually remove distraction for them, focuses them in on the interviewer and gives some truly striking results
Video review of the eye direct
Massive thanks to the champs over at Prospect Arts for putting this together, and for cutting out all my horrific takes...Il do better next time! Shot and edited by team prospect, and specifically Daniel Sherlock I believe! Check them out here www.prospectarts.com
1. Its another bit of kit for your bag, even with the smallest version its still like carrying around another laptop bag with you, which for some jobs, just isn't feasible, especially the one crew bands among us.
2. It gives the audience a uniquely engaging experience, not to sound like a sales pitch but it really is special, even as a director I find myself more drawn into the story through this device, generally speaking I'm very good at keeping myself emotionally distant from some of the tough subjects that I cover, but when they are looking straight at you, well its powerful.
3. Its a pig to set up for the first time, DO NOT go into a job having never set this thing up, its like an Ikea piece of furniture, in no time at all you will be smashing the shit out of it, and reaching for the whisky. Every time I've set it up I have drunk at least double the amount of single malt that evening, just to replenish the sweat.
4. It can sometimes limit your sense choices on interviews, often I love to shoot a super wide interview, but with this on the front I have to zoom in a little, especially considering that a lot of the locations I work in I don't have the option of just ‘shifting’ back a few feet, as a result I'm frequently sticking a glorious 50mm on the front to make it work.
Story time champs… About five years ago I was in Guatemala, we spent about four hours driving to a remote community during hurricane season, we arrived in a remote community, many people there had never seen a white person, let along a RED one (yes, I know, a RED one, practically prehistoric now), there was a raging river which had burst its banks and flooded much of the surrounding area, down the river homes would be washed, along with people and wildlife, it was carnage, and just besides the river on slightly higher ground was a family. This was the family we were there to interview, the creative director on this shoot was keen for our to get direct to camera contact, specifically with the 12 year old girl. She had lost her mother, her father was disabled and they were all living in abject poverty, now you take all of that, and then add in the rather distracting nature of a hurricane and not to understate the point, but it makes it rather tricky to get ‘eye contact’ with a giant RED one in the middle of the jungle with a bunch of blokes she has just met…
So we spent three days attempting this, we hid the translator under jackets, built screens, pointed furiously at the camera, and drank lots and lots of whisky. Then on the third day I grabbed the trusty gaffa, and I rolled it up and made what you see below, and finally, FINALLY, we got the eye contact we were after.
Three days it took us, if I had known about the eye direct it would have been minutes. And thats why its valuable, thats why I use it, and will continue to use it. Because despite its slightly awkward setup it is a masterstroke of a concept which delivers for me every single time. If you haven't used it, then do so, they aren't that expensive to hire so go ahead and check them out on the website below, and say that Ben sent you :-)