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#1 Bo Mirosseni

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 01:21 AM

Hi all, this will probably be a no brainier for most of you. I need to shoot an interview. My package is a basic 3 light kit package with probably a chimera. Shooting on standard 3chip 24p. Should I just do a key, fill and back light? Or is there other ways I can light this with my the equipment I have?

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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 02:55 AM

Well with three lights there's only so much lighting you can do. Instead of using your three lights for key, back, and fill, you might use them for key, backlight, and background, and fill with a bouncecard or even ambient light.

I usually try to light interviews in practical settings with ambient light as much as possible, and then use supplemental soft lighting (chimera) for the key and a "kiss" of backlight or edgelight for dimension. If need be I'll throw something on the background at a raking angle to create a little contrast or to bring the level up.

There's really no right or wrong in interviews though. As long as your lighting is somewhat flattering on your subject and not distracting, you're fine. Anything else is a matter or taste and style.

Oh, some 1K hand squeezers (dimmers) are handy for dialing in the right light level between instruments, as long as you keep an eye out for the orange color shift if you dim too far. Most first timers add WAY too much backlight; just a little for dimension or separation does the trick.
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#3 Bo Mirosseni

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 03:03 AM

Thanks Michael, yeah I was planning on throwing up a key and bouncing the fill. Just keep it simple and balanced. I might use a backlight to give it some depth between the subject and back wall/backdrop.

Question: is Rim Light the same thing as backlight? And "edge light" what does that usually refer to?

Best!
Bo M

Well with three lights there's only so much lighting you can do. Instead of using your three lights for key, back, and fill, you might use them for key, backlight, and background, and fill with a bouncecard or even ambient light.



I usually try to light interviews in practical settings with ambient light as much as possible, and then use supplemental soft lighting (chimera) for the key and a "kiss" of backlight or edgelight for dimension. If need be I'll throw something on the background at a raking angle to create a little contrast or to bring the level up.

There's really no right or wrong in interviews though. As long as your lighting is somewhat flattering on your subject and not distracting, you're fine. Anything else is a matter or taste and style.

Oh, some 1K hand squeezers (dimmers) are handy for dialing in the right light level between instruments, as long as you keep an eye out for the orange color shift if you dim too far. Most first timers add WAY too much backlight; just a little for dimension or separation does the trick.


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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 03:43 AM

A backlight is basically any light that comes from behind the subject. A rim light is just a backlight that comes close to the axis of the lens so that it only shows up as a small line ("rim" or "liner"); an edge light is just a backlight that comes from a more side-angle instead of from above.

This is an example of edgelighting in a very low-key scene (on the right of Ray Liotta's head):

Posted Image

In a pinch I try to use key and backlight before I add fill, preferring to use the ambient fill level instead.

Edit: Photo from Slow Burn, photographed by Wally Pfister, ASC
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#5 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 08:55 AM

How you light the interview usually is guided by what the interview is for.

I almost always use a 650w key with Chimera and no fill light. The Chimera is more than enough to wrap around the talent's face.

For backlight (rim light), use a C-stand just outside the frame. Swing the gobo arm so that it is parallel with the floor with the pole end sticking out (the grip head should be on the "short side" with the rest of the C-stand). Put a small light (some guy's use 150w, I like to use a 300w) on the end of the pole and raise it to the appropriate height, usually about 8 feet off the floor. Use a dimmer or scrims to control the light. If you have a bald subject, an additional flag to cut the light off his head (but still hitting the shoulders) gets rid of that "glow point" that will sit on his head.

Again, depending upon all the circumstances, I usually have the subject about 6 to 8 feet from the lens with the Key sitting near the camera on the interviewer side. The backlight (rim light) goes on the opposite side (if you are at camera and the interviewer is sitting in front of you, the key is on your left and the backlight is on the right about 15 feet away).

As far as the background goes, that is wholly dependent upon a lot of things.... do you have a choice as to location? Are you expected to get in and get out as fast as possible? Will you scout the location beforehand or be expected to figure it out when you get there? Is is all inside? Exterior? Do you want to see a window in the shot or are you forced to use a window in the shot? Are you able to black out the daylight spill coming from windows or are you forced to deal with it?


There are so many factors that go into shooting a "simple" interview that it's difficult to say "do it this way." For those of us who do it all the time, we are typically expected to show up with hopefully all the correct equipment to shoot in a room we've never seen before and know within 30 seconds how to do it as the clients and subject stare at us waiting. If I don't have a lot of time and free reign (as in, the Producer just wants it to "look nice"), then I look to minimize my problems...by avoiding windows if possible and by avoiding having to "create" a complicated background that I have to "build" with stuff from the location (photos, pictures, statues, etc). I look to shoot from one corner of a room to the other to increase the depth I have to work with. I like to isolate my subject from the natural light as much as possible, so I kill the room lights and/or try to black out the daylight streaming in.

This isn't to say that you can't use the natural elements, but anything you aren't plugging in is something that you need more equipment to control, like extra C-stands, flags, duvateen, and the most important limited resource: TIME. Shooting interviews isn't like feature film work where there is seemingly unlimited time with three trucks full of camera gear and lots of bodies to help. I usually have 20 to 30 minutes to get the magliner in, figure it out, light it, and sit the person down without ever having seen the location before. It takes two lights for the subject and sometimes you can get away with one additional, but it's nice to have at least two extra lights for the background (again, depending upon what it should look like and what you have to work with).

Good luck!
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#6 Jason Reimer

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 09:15 PM

If you happen to be shooting somewhere with abundant natural light and you have some flexibility with where you setup your interviews, you don't even necessarily need a light package. These stills are from some interviews I shot at a ranch in Bend, Oregon, and I had no lights of my own to work with. I just took advantage of things like opening and closing the blinds on certain sides of the room, using some white plastic chairs outside the room for a little bounce, and that was about it.Image0.jpg
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#7 Jason Reimer

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 09:16 PM

Here's the other still:
Image1.jpg
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