Oprah Winfrey has revealed the extraordinary green screen technology behind her latest interview with President Barack Obama that made it look as though the pair were enjoying an in-person fireside chat – when in reality they were thousands of miles away from one another.
The TV mogul, 66, spoke to Obama, 59, about his memoir A Promised Land for an Apple TV+ interview, which is now available to stream.
In the final film, it looks like the pair are sitting across from each other in a comfortable sitting room in Oprah’s mansion in Montecito, California.
But really, President Obama was some 2,000 miles away in Washington, D.C.
In the final film, it looks like the pair are sitting across from each other in a comfortable sitting room in Oprah’s mansion in Montecito, California. But in reality President Obama was sitting in front of a green screen some 2,000 miles away in Washington, D.C. (pictured)
The TV mogul, 66, spoke to President Obama, 59, about his memoir A Promised Land for an Apple TV+ interview, which is now available to stream. She revealed the truth behind their cosy set-up (pictured) in an Instagram video shared yesterday
Oprah shared a short clip revealing the clever green screen technology on Instagram on Wednesday, explaining that it had allowed them to conduct the interview safely, without traveling, and without masks.
The video shows how Obama was filmed in a studio sitting in front of a green screen in an armchair that matched the one in Oprah’s home.
An earpiece and hidden microphone picked up his side of the interview and allowed him to hear Oprah’s questions.
Meanwhile Oprah really was sitting by her fireplace, where she had access to a screen that allowed her to watch her guest’s movements and responses.
The two were put together seamlessly behind the scenes to create a single image.
At the start of the interview, Oprah expresses her gratitude about the ‘miracle of technology’, saying: ‘Through the miracle of technology, we get to be face-to-face in the same room, and we don’t have to wear a mask.’
She added to Oprah Magazine: ‘Nothing compares to being in person, but this was the next best thing.’
Oprah shared a short clip revealing the clever green screen technology on Instagram yesterday, explaining it had allowed them to conduct the interview safely, without traveling, and without masks. Pictured, President Obama partly in front of the green screen
The two filming set-ups were combined to create the illusion that the pair were together
President Obama and Oprah extended their feet to make it look like they were playing footsie
Fans were blown away by the technology and took to the Instagram comments to share their amazement.
One posted: ‘Technology is amazing! I was shocked and surprised when I realized. I didn’t think Obama would spend 14 days quarantined in your guest house. Very impressive.’
A second wrote: ‘Oprah this is incredible!!! Bravo to your team!!’
A third added: ‘Omg everybody involved needs a raise. I had no idea.’
The intimate setting – although faked – served as the perfect backdrop for the in-depth conversation between the two friends, during which Obama spoke to Oprah about the toll that his presidency took on his marriage – a subject that he also addresses in the book itself.
‘The fact is that I had to work a lot,’ he admits in a clip from the virtual sit-down. ‘We can’t do anything spontaneous. If I want to take Michelle out on a date, it involves potentially a week’s worth of planning.
‘She wasn’t the one who chose this life.’
Fans were blown away by the technology and took to the Instagram comments to share their amazement
He admitted that the couple, who married in 1992, went through ‘rough patches in the White House’, but noted that they were ‘good about… talking stuff through’.
‘[We were good about] never losing fundamental love and respect for each other, and prioritizing our kids,’ he said.
Former President Obama also recalled the ‘worst day’ during his time in the White House – the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting on December 14, 2012, during which 20 students and six teachers were killed.
He spoke of his anger towards Congress over the ‘inaction’ that he witnessed, admitting that he was ‘disgusted and appalled’ by how senators responded to grieving parents’ calls for stricter gun control laws.
‘Because you had parents who had just lost their children sitting in front of senators and asking them for very modest, reasonable approaches,’ Obama said.
‘This wasn’t some radical agenda. They were asking for more effective background checks and other provisions to keep firearms out of the hands of disturbed folks.
‘It was all viewed as politics instead of this human moment that we should’ve been able to respond to as a society.’