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Lighting/Working with Infants


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#1 Benji Bakshi

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 12:48 AM

I'm shooting a series of spots for a classical music school. 35mm.

In the first spot, we're shooting 1 or more infants.
Probably simple push-ins or lateral moves of infants sleeping, or looking "curious" towards camera.
Not sure about framing yet. Could be anything from full to CU.
Strong possibility of shooting infants of different ehnicities: caucasian, asian, african american.

Lighting is intended to be soft, natural contour with falloff. Maybe side-lit from soft source.


My question is, in dealing with infants, and their unpreditability, small size, and super-soft skin,
are there any warnings or advice?


Thanks in advance.
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#2 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 03:04 PM

Allow plenty of time to get your shots. It is also not a bad idea to get them in early, so they can get used to the lights & noises on set.

Be patient. :)
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#3 Frank Barrera

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 04:11 PM

well, I have never shot babies on a job BUT I have two little kids of my own and have attempted to shoot stills and video of them. not an easy thing. the average kid doesn't like to sit still for more than 30 seconds at a time. they also like to attack any camera you point at them.

i will say this: make certain that you, the AD and the director are well aware of the kids' nap schedules. and try to shoot them when they just wake up. that is if you want them awake and alert and not crying. they will be at their most calm when they have just woken up or after eating. have a detailed conversation with the parents about what you need and what they need.

also it's impossible to know when they might give you the "performance" that you're looking for. they might be looking down in their belly for two minutes and then look up right in the camera like an angel for twenty seconds and then down in the belly again. Your shooting ratio should be very high.

and if you have more than two subjects you will raise your chances of success.

other than that, you really can't go wrong with the way they look. so damn cute.
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#4 Nico Hardy

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 12:20 AM

I've done a lot of shooting with kids/babies and the one thing that's paramount is to have a baby wrangler that understands your needs, so having a chat with then prior to shooting is essential.
Also camera sound can be a problem due to distraction, so if possible, go with a sync sound camera.
1000ft mags make it easier only because you distract them a bit less often.
A zoom is big help, since they NEVER stay put long enough. Same goes for lighting, having a large enough area ready to shoot will get you a much higher chance to get good stuff
The least amount of people/crew around the kid, the better. Also no shouting or loud noises, a peaceful set is a big plus.
A walkie talkie with a voice activated headset makes it easy to communicate with the director and to your dolly grip while keeping a quiet set.
If the child is supposed to interact with the camera, taping little toys to the matte box helps.

And most of all, patience, lots of it.

Cheers,
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:25 AM

There's an active thread on CML-Pro titled "super low dollies" covering the subject of following babies around on the floor. Have a look there for some hints.
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#6 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:52 AM

Having the child's mother nearby seems to make them feel more comfortable-understandably.
Slates can startle them sometimes as well.
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