A lot of good stuff has already been mentioned, but I’d like to add my two cents on the first shot.
Things I like:
- The whole foundation of the shot. It’s very well balanced left-to-right, with each character pushed close to their respective frame edge.
This is a personal preference thing, but I would have tightened up the geometry. I can tell that we’re sort of looking down and to the right. I think it would have looked even nicer if the shot was 100% dead on, with the camera at ninety degrees from the subjects.
I definitely think the headroom is an issue, but keep in mind, heads don’t have to be in the upper third. You could push them to the lower third, or you could even leave them straight in the middle for a more unique and interesting shot. But no matter what, it needs to look intentional. As it is, it just looks like someone didn’t know what they were doing. (I’m sure that’s not true, just my gut reaction.)
I can’t believe no one’s said this yet, but I definitely think you should’ve drawn something on the white board. (That is a white board, right?) ANYTHING. Complex equations, dinosaur doodles, doesn’t matter. That would have made for a way more interesting background, and subsequently, shot.
I would have put more objects on the table in the background, and also centered them so the background was as nicely balanced as the foreground. It drives me crazy how the test tubes are halfway blocked by the subject’s face.
That said, this isn’t necessarily the found footage look. For found footage, I think you almost need to throw out all the rules of framing just to tell the viewer “This wasn’t made by filmmakers.”
So, if I was gonna do this scene found footage, I would have backed that thing way the heck up. Go for a really wide shot of the entire room, not just that one wall. I think that would have solved all your problems, or at the very least, made for a way more interesting and unique look.
I’d be really curious to see what the room you were shooting in looked like. If you did go wide, you might’ve been able to have fun with the blocking by keeping your subjects moving throughout the whole room, thus shifting the viewer’s focus across multiple points of the shot.