The Covid pandemic has thrown up challenges to many different ways of life – even the classic sit-down TV interview. To get around the faff of it all, Oprah herself has turn to the oldest (and most memeable) trick in the book: green screen.
Billed as “two icons, one conversation”, the interview between Oprah and Obama was always bound to be a compelling affair. Hot on the heels of the publication of President Obama’s memoir “A Promised Land”, Oprah Winfrey will ask him searching questions about his time in office exclusively for Apple TV. But with social distancing and masks required – not to mention the fact that one is lives in Santa Barbara, California, while the other is in Washington, DC – how could the two come “face to face”, as it were?
Two icons, one conversation. @Oprah and President @BarackObama sit down to reflect on his time in the White House, and give viewers an exclusive preview of his new book, "A Promised Land."— Apple TV (@AppleTV) November 18, 2020
Don’t miss this special episode of #TheOprahConversation. https://t.co/9UtbCZfiaR pic.twitter.com/bdRZmjUc1m
The solution? An immaculately rendered, two-way synchronised green screen shoot. Thanks to the power of technology, it will appear that the two celebrities are having a cosy fireside chat – but in fact they will be communicating via video link to each other from separate studios, separated by hundreds of miles. The President’s verdict? “Pretty cool”.
It certainly beats the haphazard Zoom calls that most of us have had to suffer through during lockdowns but the obvious downside to arrangement is that both interviewer and interviewee and shown in full-body shots, thus being denied the lockdown luxury of wearing a suit on their top-half, paired with comfy tracksuit bottoms and furry slippers below the table.
Barack Obama’s memoir has reportedly sold 890,000 copies on the first day of its publication (November 17). It’s perhaps unsurprising to see such interest in the former President’s pronouncements after a period of remarkable political turmoil in the United States, from the norm-breaking Trump presidency to the Black Lives Matter protests this year, and in the wake of the recent election that saw Obama’s former deputy Joe Biden return to the White House as President.