Former President Obama sat down virtually with Oprah to discuss his new memoir ‘A Promised Land.’
Oprah Winfrey revealed her latest interview with former President Barack Obama was filmed remotely, despite the pair appearing to be in the same room.
In a behind-the-scenes post shared on Instagram, the media and entertainment mogul showed the intricate process used to create the façade. Featured on her AppleTV interview series, The Oprah Conversation, Oprah and Obama were on different sides of the country during their intimate conversation.
“He was in D.C., and I was in California, but thanks to the power of technology (and @drewbarrymore) now I may never leave my house,” she wrote on Instagram.
According to O Magazine, the green-screen technology used was inspired by Drew Barrymore‘s talk show which incorporated similar production during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Oprah told the self-named news outlet that she would have preferred to conduct an in-person interview.
“Nothing compares to being in person, but this was the next best thing,” Oprah said. “Certainly it’s far better being in person, but this was as close as you can get, because you are looking at the other person’s body language. Rather than looking directly into the lens, you’re looking at the person’s full-body, their facial expressions, their movements, everything.”
According to O Magazine, Obama was instructed to not wear green or white, shiny shoes, or drink water from a clear glass during the recording. The monitors used were carefully placed to create eye contact between the two.
“Once the furniture and President were in place, his image, the chair, side table, drinking glass, the floor and even shadows were delivered by fiber line in real time to California, and composited with Ms. Winfrey’s living room, putting them both virtually in the same place,” a representative from Harpo Productions said to the outlet.
During the interview, the two public figures discussed his presidency, their individual lives through quarantine, and his latest book A Promised Land. According to USA Today, he revealed he began to write the memoir only one month after leaving office.
“I just kept on grinding,” he said. “A. I’m not necessarily the fastest writer. B. In any writing process, you’re always constantly thinking, am I oversharing here? Am I putting in too much, too little? Are people really going to be interested in every aspect of this or that or the other?”
theGrio reported A Promised Land sold over 887,000 copies in 1 day which includes preorders, physical sales, and audiobooks. The memoir is projected to remain a top-seller throughout the holiday season.
“We are thrilled with the first day sales,” said David Drake, publisher of the Penguin Random House imprint Crown said. “They reflect the widespread excitement that readers have for President Obama’s highly anticipated and extraordinarily written book.”