Jump to content


Photo

2 shot interview. Suggestions?


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Phil Gerke

Phil Gerke
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 59 posts
  • Sound Department

Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:41 PM

I'll be shooting a mother and daughter interview this weekend and would love to hear any suggestions or hints on lighting for a two shot interview. It will be in their home, which I get to scout in the next couple days. I should have the flexibility to move stuff around in the house which will help for composition but I have never had to light a situation like this before. I'll have a smaller grip truck at my disposal as well as a fair amount lighting. Kino's, Joker 800, plenty of tungsten.

How do I avoid the Key leaving the other person too dark? Can a single beadboard fill both faces? Does it make sense for a rim or kicker to be stronger on one person than the other?

Any help would be great,

Thanks a lot!

Phil Gerke
  • 0

#2 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:58 PM

There's no reason why a key light shouldn't be able to cover two people, especially if they're seated next to each other. If you want to key from the side, just make sure the light is far enough forward that one person's head doesn't cast a shadow on the other person's face. Adjusting their seated positions a little forward or back can help fine-tune it a little.

If the people are seated right next to each other it will look most natural for their backlight to be the same level on both of them. But you may still want to adjust it a little for their hair color (dark hair can usually take a stronger backlight than blonde hair, for example).
  • 0

#3 Brian Dzyak

Brian Dzyak
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1517 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Encino, California USA

Posted 26 March 2007 - 11:33 PM

I typically light women with the key sitting as close to the lens as possible, usually just behind the interviewer. Depending upon the location, hopefully you'll be able to seat them about six feet from the lens, so something in a 650w or 1K fresnel with a medium Chimera would more than cover both of them. I like to keep the stop as open as possible so using the smaller units like that helps out. The trick though with that situation is controlling the key from spilling onto your background, especially if you're pressed for adequate space. To help that, I fly a 3x2 solid horizontally very close to the Chimera as a topper. The older the woman, the lower I set the light to help even out any wrinkles. Younger women can take a higher key. For an older mother and a younger daughter, I'd set the key for mom.

Ideally, you should hang two small units from a C-stand for individual backlights. Something like a 300w Arri or less. You'll need the "T" that slides onto a C-stand to do that, or two Mafers will do the trick. But have lots of sand on the stand. Individual dimmers on each will be helpful too.

A big mistake I see from "film" people is in trying to light an interview as if it were a narrative set. Ultimately, you do what you think is best, but trying to emulate "reality" as a film would do isn't the goal of an interview situation. I like to highlight the interviewees with really nice light and take the background down, both through slightly dimmer light and by throwing the background out of focus as much as possible.

The last thing you need for a two-person interview is a full grip truck. Don't overdo something that doesn't call for it unless you're trying to put on a show for the producers or something. The only reason to pull the Joker out is if you want to work a window into the shot, but that wouldn't be enough anyway. I've done that only when I've had a roll of ND gel to tape onto the outside and if the sun wasn't absolutely cooking something out there. Kinos are good for really long days when heating up the room is a problem. Otherwise, even though they do fall off quickly, they are harder to control (I think so anyway). Too much spill.

Every situation is different, but lighting the "talent" is almost always the simplest part of it, for me anyway. Getting the background just right is the challenge as you want it to be interesting, but at the same time, it can't be distracting at all. With those heads just sitting there for an hour or so, every little thing that seems wrong will seem worse by the end of it. The important thing I have to remember is that even though I'm staring at the same shot for what seems like eternity, when cut, the viewer will only see that shot for maybe 10 seconds at a time before the editor goes to something else.

Please let us know how it turns out! :)
  • 0

#4 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 27 March 2007 - 01:47 AM

A big mistake I see from "film" people is in trying to light an interview as if it were a narrative set. Ultimately, you do what you think is best, but trying to emulate "reality" as a film would do isn't the goal of an interview situation.


Hey, I resemble that remark! :P

Seriously, if you ask 10 different DP's how to light an interview you'll get 10 different responses -- and none of them wrong, necessarily.

Of course the lighting is guided by things like the overall style of the piece and the practical considerations of the shoot, let alone the taste and preference of the DP.

I often try to put interview subjects into their surroundings in a "natural looking," yet evocative way. Something that gives the viewer a sense of the person in context, not abstracted by artificial looking lighting. But that doesn't mean that an approach that isolates the subject is wrong, or is any less appropriate.

Besides, don't feature film closeups usually try to convey something particular through lighting and framing for that character, at that moment, with that background? It's not like a "film" approach is devoid of artistic design!
  • 0

#5 Phil Gerke

Phil Gerke
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 59 posts
  • Sound Department

Posted 27 March 2007 - 03:36 PM

Thanks for the advise guys, anytime somebody can give me something new to think about it helps me quite a bit. Yeah, the grip truck may be excessive, but I'll have it. Thanks for the tip on the Joker, I'll just leave it on the truck. If I want to work in a window I've got the CTO for it. Actually I have used straw in place of O for window treatments and sometimes I like it quite a bit. Tungsten balance on the camera. Anybody else do that?

Turns out I have worked with both the talent before. Its a faux-interview, the mother is an actor and the daughter is basically just portraying herself. Its for a nutritional program. I like the idea of a lower key for the mother, and i think it will be helpful in this case.

What are your opinions on gelling the hair/back light? I see a lot of straw and yellow being used, but I was thinking about going cooler rather than warmer. Any thoughts on this? I'll make the decision once I see the location but I'll have the oportunity to futz around on this shoot, so I'd like to experiment a little I think.

I'll definately share my experiance and do my best to get some still when its all said and done.

Thanks again.

Phil
  • 0

#6 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:28 PM

What are your opinions on gelling the hair/back light? I see a lot of straw and yellow being used, but I was thinking about going cooler rather than warmer. Any thoughts on this? I'll make the decision once I see the location but I'll have the oportunity to futz around on this shoot, so I'd like to experiment a little I think.


Just think about the message you're trying to convey, and craft a style around that. Let all your other choices follow in support of that design. Otherwise, you may end up with shots that look nice individually, but collectively don't add up to a coherent message.
  • 0

#7 Michael Collier

Michael Collier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1262 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:15 PM

If your looking to go slightly cool on the kicker, one thing I like to do occasionally is actualy warm up the face slightly and cool the kicker slightly, rather than pushing the kicker too cold. Try a 1/8 or 1/4 CTB on the kicker and a 1/2 or 1/4 CTO on the key. Then ballance preset tungsten. The kicker usually ends up looking white (though a cool white) and the image is a bit warmer. To me, that technique always looks like the key is actually white, but the kicker is somehow 'more white' rather than blue. Don't know if that makes sense, but it looks good. Similarly it works really well if they are keyed with a clean key, 1/2 CTO fill, 1/8 CTB kicker. there has to be some contrast between the key and fill for that to look right though, and 3/4th or side-keyed position.
  • 0

#8 Brian Dzyak

Brian Dzyak
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1517 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Encino, California USA

Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:29 PM

Ditto more or less what Michael said, only I don't use any fill as the Chimera wraps nicely when used full frontal as I described above. I often like to go preset at 3200K and add an 1/8 CTO to the key (close to the lamp inside the Chimera) then go full clean on the backlight. That warms up the talent a bit and lets the rest of the frame "appear" slightly cooler without actually doing anything special. Of course you can always add CTB if you want to swing it farther that direction. If I want to warm everything up, I'll white balance through a 1/4 or 1/8 CTB or use my Warmcards.

If I want to include a piece of a window with some daylight spilling in, I'll go preset at 5600K and maybe add an 1/8th CTB to the key to again, let the key go a little warmer.

But to agree with what was said, you have to let the people and the enviroment dictate what exactly is done. I have a "base" setup that I generally begin with and then adjust as necessary once everything falls into place.
  • 0

#9 Phil Gerke

Phil Gerke
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 59 posts
  • Sound Department

Posted 02 April 2007 - 04:24 PM

OK, here is how it played out.

First off, tight quarters. Had to get creative to get some room. Basically shooting diagonally in the living room. I set up the subjects to be looking screen left. I keyed just left of the interviewer with a 650 softbox at about medium/high height. For fill I leaned a 4x4 white foam core against the couch. Due to room I could only setup a single 150 for a rim, which only really did anything for the person on the left which actually worked out fine as she, the daughter had dark hair and the mother had short blond hair and the lack of a kicker/rim was not a problem. For the back ground I basicaly relied on spill from the key, but added a little something with a 350 fresnel with 1/2 CTB as a very subtle slash against the fireplace which also yielded a nice little "glare" which needed to be tamed just a bit, but looked nice.

As far as whit balance goes, I ended up doing a custom, which usually I am not a big fan of. Basically Tungsten was too cool for me and was not reproducing the colors in a way that I liked. Daylight preset was obviously too warm, but not too bad. What I settled on was a custom white balance on white card held in front of the talent, but I shot through 1/4 CTB, which worked perfectly. Still a littel confused why my tungsten preset was so cool. Probably just taste really. The camera was setup fine. I was going to go with some CTO on the key, but my tweaking time was dwindling so the CTB trick was how I proceeded.

Issues: Well space was tight, which is never awesome. I had to frame tighter on the subjects than I would like to have as the background quickly looked bad when I widened out. Also, related I think and the fact that there were two people, I was not quite happy with how the shot composed. With headroom that I liked I did not like how far down I was seeing, just seeing the top of the subjects laps and crossed legs bugged me, but if I tilted up the head room was no good. I was never really happy with the seperation from the background, not much I could do, but 5 more feet would have been great. Our talent were good, obviously not mother and daughter, but that is not on me. Also one was a sloucher, but the "brass" are not concerned.

I'll do my best to get a still pulled from the video. Might be a while as there is another project that gets editing priority. Thanks a lot for everyones feedback and comments, I'll never be done learning about this.

Phil Gerke
  • 0


Technodolly

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Abel Cine

Visual Products

Opal

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape