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Tips for First Time Interview Shoot Tomorrow...


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#1 Joe Prudente

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:38 PM

Hey all,

I am shooting an interview for the first time tomorrow, does anyone have any tips/suggestions for the lighting set up/camera operation? I have done some research and so far have come up with using basic 3 point lighting. I have also read that using a blue gel for the background light and an orange gel for I believe the key or fill light will produce a more interesting and lively effect. The equipment that I will be using is as follows: basic lighting kit, Canon XL2 with 14x manual lens, 20x stock canon lens, tripod, boom mic kit, and I plan on purchasing some diffusion and gels as well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Edited by Joe Prudente, 24 April 2009 - 06:40 PM.

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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:46 PM

Set it up and look at it. When you like it shoot it. Get someone to sit in.
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#3 Ryan Thomas

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 03:26 AM

Just don't go too crazy with those gels.
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#4 Serge Teulon

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 08:59 AM

Is it for tv? The majority of interviews on tv, that are shot in tungsten, are lit with a 1/2 ctb backlighting the subject.
Interviews (unless for something arty) are very formulaic.
Lighting - make sure you don't get double shadows on face, create a decent separation between background and foreground, make background interesting.
Camera - make sure you frame them in the opposite side to the direction they are talking to.

Now if you are going for something that is a bit more tasteful (in my opinion), then you can refer to the "man on the wire", also the dvd that the ACmag sells, the name escapes me right now, which is based on conversations with cinematographers.

Edited by Serge Teulon, 25 April 2009 - 09:00 AM.

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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 10:28 AM

If in doubt keep it simple. Check if there is an interview lighting style for the particular programme. Coloured gels are a matter of personal taste, so make sure their use fits in with the subject matter. Many interviews don't have blue backlights, there's no rule, but best not over do the backlight effect for most interviews

Regarding gels on the key, usually no more than a 1/4 CTO to warm up the flesh tones. It's common not to use any gels on the key. Diffusion to soften the key light is a matter taste, but it's quite commonly done.

For all this you may be shooting the interview in a room illuminated by daylight, so you need the CTBs in the kit to colour correct if required.
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#6 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 12:26 PM

Hey all,

I am shooting an interview for the first time tomorrow, does anyone have any tips/suggestions for the lighting set up/camera operation? I have done some research and so far have come up with using basic 3 point lighting. I have also read that using a blue gel for the background light and an orange gel for I believe the key or fill light will produce a more interesting and lively effect. The equipment that I will be using is as follows: basic lighting kit, Canon XL2 with 14x manual lens, 20x stock canon lens, tripod, boom mic kit, and I plan on purchasing some diffusion and gels as well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


A lot depends on what the interview is for as that will help determine the "style" of the shot. However, that said, there is a certain way to set this up that is fairly standard. Variations will come about based on the style and the location parameters themselves plus the equipment you have available.

Assuming you're shooting in a practical location (an office, living room, kitchen, etc), the first step is to determine which direction in the room you're going to point the camera. Avoid flat walls. Aim for a corner if you can, it's more interesting. Avoid windows if possible, especially if you don't have the tools to deal with controlling and matching the daylight from outside. To do that, you'd need some kind of ND gel to put on the glass or a net ... and a daylight balanced light with some power behind it, such as a 1200W HMI or a 1K tungsten.

That can take a little bit of work to get it right, so if this is your first interview, I'd suggest avoiding it if possible. Point toward a corner with no windows.

Now, put your camera as far back into the opposite corner as possible. This helps diminish the depth of field (makes your background softer/out of focus). The interviewee chair should be about 6 feet from the camera.

If you're shooting a male, place the key light to the right of the interviewer about 3 feet or so. Play with the positioning until you're happy with how the light is falling on the subject. Use a 650w or 1K with a diffuser, like a Chimera.

You need a backlight to separate the subject from the background. Place a smaller unit (150K or 300k with a dimmer) behind the subject (about 8 feet or so) on the opposite side of the camera than the key is placed. Use a C-stand to keep the stand out of the shot, but use the gobo arm to get the light behind the subject. With the dimmer, adjust the light as necessary until you're happy.

The background lighting will vary depending on what you have back there. Ideally, you want to NOT overlight anything or else the eye will be drawn to that instead of looking at the interviewee.

That's the rough setup. As you do this more, you'll learn what works and what doesn't and in time, you'll be setting this up in ten minutes or less. Have fun!
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Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

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Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Opal

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