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A good soft light for close ups/interviews


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#1 Nadav Hekselman

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 06:23 AM

I was just wondering, what kind of soft light source would you use for close ups or interviews?

I usually use bounced light off a white card which has a nice soft result but its harder to control. My other alternative is to use a diffused fresnel just to get the light accurate on the face of the person without falling off around the set which increases the ambience and its also easy to cut.

The problem I have with fresnel is that i usualy find it too hard, compared to any bounced light, so I have to diffuse it alot and than i need a bigger light source which is harder to handle espcially when working in a very small production with a small crew (no lighting man). Even so, with the bigger source, heavily diffused, it cant realy match the quality of the bounced light.

Any ideas for a quick soft but accurate light sources? what are your thoughts about kinoflos or chimera lights (quartz through silk)?
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#2 Chris Cooke

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 02:19 PM

Well, the first suggestion that you'll get from most people on this site will probably be to use a kino such as a diva light or 4 bank and then diffuse it even more by attaching 250 or something of that nature to the barndoors. I like to put a 1k redhead, 2k fresnel or 1.2k hmi par behind a 4x4 frame of 250 or 216. Just make sure that you place your light far enough behind the frame in order to completely fill it. Also, put the frame no farther than 6 feet away from the talent on a closeup (if you want that soft effect). Placement if very important to achieve the proper mood. But that's up to your judgement.
The next thing to do is get a c-stand with a flag on it and put it as far away from the light as you can without entering the shot. This way, the light becomes very controlable.
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 02:30 PM

In most situations, I like to use a 650K Arri with a Small or Medium Chimera as the key. Then I'll use a C-Stand and 2x3 solid to take any spill off the background. With the subject roughly 6 feet from the lens, it provides enough light that I can set my stop between 2.8 and 4 to drop my depth of field.

Some people like to use Diva Kinos or other "large" soft sources or bounces, but I've found that most interview situations are done in small rooms, not large sound stages, so controlling the light becomes the number one priority. Kinos are indeed nice to use if you have a really long day in a small room because they don't produce that much residual heat (like a junket situation), but they really just throw a lot of light around the room unnecessarily. Same for large bounces or driving a large source through a large frame. It just becomes a lesson in flagging at that point that you usually don't have time, equipment, or manpower to deal with.

I've seen "big time" DPs TOTALLY overdo the simpliest head & shoulders interviews simply because A) they aren't used to working small and/or B ) they are putting on a dog & pony show for the clients. This isn't brain surgery and face it, the more crap you pull out of the cases is just more that you have to put away when what you really want to be doing is driving home to your wife and kids. Keep it simple, do the shot, and go home and have a life.

:)

Edited by Brian Dzyak, 18 January 2007 - 02:31 PM.

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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 02:45 PM

Softboxes are commonly used for interviews that you see on the News.

It's usually a really simple lighting setup. A 3/4 Key from a soft box, a hard kicker and something to show the background (usually a library of some sort, ha ha)
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#5 JD Hartman

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 04:42 PM

A 1k zip with an eggcrate like a Mole. Cut it down further with ND if needed. Maybe add an inkie as an eyelight or as a back or rimlight.
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#6 Nadav Hekselman

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 06:46 PM

Nice to know you guys rarly use kinos too..

I usually use a fresnel with diffusion or a redhead with chimera or so and almost never use kino . when I evantualy grab a kino from the EQ rental place it ends up staying in the van after I tried it and didnt like it.

Sometimes prodcuers/directors give me hardtime asking why didnt I bring one along. they think its super fast, super soft, super profesional light ,probably because it looks cool . it feels realy stupid explaing why I dont like using it, as if im this old-school cinematographer that dont use the new cool stuff as prinicipal. hehehe...

Geez...

Anyway... can anyone think of a specific situation in which a kino will be perfect for? and how do you get those producers of your back about the kinos? ( I usually find the cost reason most efficient).
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#7 Chris Cooke

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 06:57 PM

Here's an example that I shot of a red head through a 4x4 of 251 like I mentioned in my earlier post. This picture was shot before the backlight was in place.
Attached File  mm_angle50000.BMP   1MB   165 downloads
Like Brian D said, kinos are nice when shooting in a small room for a long time when heat becomes a factor. Also, they're handy when you need to hide a light in a tight space like behind a couch or on a ceiling.
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#8 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 08:22 PM

I'd like to know why everybody is down on kinos, besides the fact they spill a lot (like other big soft lights).

Mostly I use them for lighting greenscreens, but on occassion, i like to use them to mimic window light for interiors when you can't light outside the window. i like them as backlights too. granted, i prefer 1k/2k fresnels or open face through 216 for key, but i've certainly used kinos to do it with fair results.

I'm just curious.

abracou,
chad
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#9 Mitch Gross

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 05:35 AM

Lowel Rifa, usually a 500w for talking head interviews. Cheap, portable and beautifully soft. I always use an eggcrate to control spill.
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#10 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 06:46 AM

Usually a 650w with a chimera. Kinos are nice, but they're expensive to buy, and clients don't usually want to pay the rental on them.
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#11 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 12:40 PM

Could it possibly be because of the Kino's lack of transmission compared to most other types of lamps?

I really like to "get that light in there", so it's just a rarity to incorporate a Kinoflo. They do work great as a faux-window though and they're great for closeups as well.

I could never put them down, every light has it's purpose and proper usage.
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#12 Tim Tyler

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 01:30 PM

I like Kino's for interviews because they're fast to setup, they fall off quickly, they don't get hot, they're daylight balanced, they're light weight, and my clients are usually willing to pay a bit extra for them. The Diva's are also dimmable, self contained, and almost bright enough to fight the sun on a cloudy day.

In a studio or a large space, a big ol' Mole 4k softlight can look great. http://cgi.ebay.com/...em=180075910417

Chimera-style softboxes (with either a Tota or Joker) are very portable and are still probably the most common light used for 1 or 2 camera sit down TV interviews.
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