I occasionally do video reporting for a local news blog, shooting events that occur around my town and neighborhood. A couple nights ago, I was walking around shooting video of holiday lights, when I stumbled across a massive display that one man had installed in his yard.
Proud of his display, he was willing to be interviewed on camera about it. My problem was that I had left my shotgun mic and camera lights at home, thinking I wouldn't need either. Fortunately, technique sprang to the rescue.
By holding the camera very close to him for the interview, I got clear audio using the camera's built-in mic. My wife had a little penlight LED flashlight, so she held that on his face for some light. The resulting interview footage, while not fantastic, is at least competent. You can hear him clearly and see his face, which is the minimum for respectable interview footage.
With brighter lights, I would have positioned him with his yard lights in the background, but I wanted the camera to see his face and not set its exposure based on the yard lights. The camera's mic did a fine job of picking up both my questions and his answers -- all I had to do was stand 16 inches away from him during the interview. Click here to take a look at the video (interview is about 1 minute in) and see for yourself.
So if you find yourself out in the field without a critical piece of gear, think about technique. How can you get the shot with what you have, and do it to the highest degree possible?