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How to light an interview outside..


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#1 Jeremy Drake

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 07:10 PM

I'm shooting an interview this weekend with a two camera setup
(with a third camera going handheld)
outside in what might be the bright sun.

I don't have access to a butterfly/overhead.

I have some foam core and a reflector and was wondering if
there was any advice I could get on how to make this look as good
as possible.
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 07:55 PM

If you can't find a shady spot for your subject, try to position them so that they're backlit by the sun without any hard sunlight sending ugly shadows across their face. Stage them against a mid-to-dark background to help balance out your exposure. Remember that the sun will move during the interview, so scope out the surrounding trees, buildings, and utility lines to see how the sun and shade will change.

Use foamcore or a soft silver reflector to bounce a soft keylight into their face, making sure to get a nice little sparkle in their eyes. Treat this as key light, not a fill light, including a mild contrast ratio against the ambient fill light.
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#3 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 07:25 PM

One of the key things to remember about using available light outdoors is this, Daylight is blue. Sunlight is orange. When you bounce sunlight on a clear day, you're not bouncing blue daylight. You're bouncing orange light into your subject and if you don't correct it, it won't really look right. You can find silks that are blue but if your'e in a pinch you can always clip blue gells to a silk and that will help also. Another useful tip is to keep the bounce at a high angle rather than low and try and use a booklight technique where you bounce the light and send it through a 4x of diffusion before it hits the subject. That also tends to look better. Good luck
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 09:51 PM

One of the key things to remember about using available light outdoors is this, Daylight is blue. Sunlight is orange. When you bounce sunlight on a clear day, you're not bouncing blue daylight.


That's really not much of problem most of time. SKYlight may be blue (coming straight down), but ambient light is a mix of all the colors of everything light is bouncing off of (plants, building, cars, pavement, etc.). The overall effect isn't nearly as blue as pure skylight. Direct sunlight only becomes noticeably warmer than the ambient light when the sun is low. The only time I've ever run into a color problem with bounced sunlight is very late in the day...
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#5 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 11:37 PM

If youre bouncing sunlight on a clear day the bounced key will often be noticeably warmer than the fill or ambient light. This is obviously more noticeable during dawn or dusk but I have definitely noticed it during midday shooting. It's especially a problem if you're using the shiny side of the board which you sometimes need for punch depending on how far away you might be grabbing the sunray. In any case if you find that the light is too warm, you may wish to correct this with some CTB. You may not. It's up to you. Trust your eye when shooting film, grab a good monitor when you shoot video.
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 11:47 PM

If youre bouncing sunlight on a clear day the bounced key will often be noticeably warmer than the fill or ambient light. This is obviously more noticeable during dawn or dusk but I have definitely noticed it during midday shooting. It's especially a problem if you're using the shiny side of the board which you sometimes need for punch depending on how far away you might be grabbing the sunray. In any case if you find that the light is too warm, you may wish to correct this with some CTB. You may not. It's up to you. Trust your eye when shooting film, grab a good monitor when you shoot video.


Your theory is right, I'm just saying it's not that big a problem. At least it hasn't been for me in almost 20 years' worth of outdoor shots. Like you say, trust your eye and/or monitor.
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