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Are there any shots in the office’s ‘traditional’ interviews i.e. when they are in the office space doing an interview, which demonstrates how close the camera is to the interviewee-?-

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In episode double date S6E9, at roughly 14:35 there cuts to an interview with Dwight.

It begins like an ordinary interview in the normal frame position. During the interview, Dwight dramatically leaps his hand to the floor to demonstrate the height of a newly grown mushroom. During this stunt, the camera zooms quite far out to reveal its actual location of the camera - way across the ‘room’.

While this is certainly not concrete proof of the camera location on a consistent basis — as the camera could have been pre-staged to enable the capture of this particular shot — it is does resemble the way all other interviews are presented on screen. And thus is something to go off of.

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  • Answer until proven guilty – Dr. Shmuel Nov 9 '18 at 0:59
  • Another good example is when someone leaves a "gift" in Michael's office. It looks like a regular talking head, until it zooms out to show the camera is actually outside the room (to avoid the smell). – JMac May 5 at 12:30
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In-universe: Most likely at least several feet, or the full width of the conference room

In addition to the answer above, we can see that the talking head set-up has space that allows at least one extra person between the subject and the camera:

Deangelo Vickers talking head

We can estimate that Deangelo (red circle) is sat opposite the camera (which is either shoulder-mounted or on a tripod)/camera operator (slightly larger blue circle) and/or interviewer (smaller blue circle). This leaves the green space free for Michael to sneak in.

Dunder Mifflin floorplan

As most of the talking heads are similar framing, it seems reasonable that once the documentary crew establish a position that works, they wouldn't change it.

Dunder Mifflin floorplan credit

Season 9, episode 1 offers another example of the proximity of camera and subject. As the camera zooms out from the two-shot, we can see plenty of space in front of Jim and Pam. It appears that they're mirroring the set up Deangelo used, shown above.

Jim and Pam talking head

Out of universe - Most likely the same, but with extra room when needed

We know that the set has fake walls which can be moved/removed in order to get a shot. We also know that, as described in the other answer, that the cameras had lenses which allowed for either close or wide shots.

But here are two images that (almost) show how close the camera is relative to the actor, and for what shot type:

Meredith talking head - Finale

Meredith talking head - Finale, final shot

We know the conference room where the talking heads are traditionally filmed is probably wide enough to allow a similar gap between actor and camera, but the wall could also be removed in any case.

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  • 2
    The question is about the in-universe documentary crew, not the out-of-universe filming (though they "share" the camera, in that sense). The documentary crew would not be taking out walls, and this is kept consistent in instances where the camera is closer than usual when a wall is in the way (often seen in the corner between reception and Michael's office, people who run outside sometimes have to dodge the camera crew (who did not anticipate this movement). – Flater Apr 25 at 1:20

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