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hiding the stand for the backlight?


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#1 David Calson

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 12:08 PM

How does one do that? I'm trying to do interview lighting but getting the lightstand for the backlight seems hard to get rid of and still have the light be effective and well placed. I mean I could put more to the side but then one of the shoulders isn't hit very well, is this okay?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 12:27 PM

How does one do that? I'm trying to do interview lighting but getting the lightstand for the backlight seems hard to get rid of and still have the light be effective and well placed. I mean I could put more to the side but then one of the shoulders isn't hit very well, is this okay?


You can either dress it out (hide it behind a tall plant, bookshelf, etc.)...

Or forget the stand and mount the light on something above frame like the ceiling, the top of a bookshelf, etc. Tiny lights might be able to hang off of scissor clamps on the metal frames of drop ceilings, for example. Heavier lights need something stronger to mount to, using Cardellini or Mayfer clamps, etc.

Or boom the light with a "menace arm" (need a beefier stand, a gobo head / clamp, extending pole or pipe, sandbags and counterbalance, etc.) Again, lighter, smaller lights are easier to boom -- if the light is light enough (like a Dedolight), you can use a double-arm on a c-stand, for example.

Or create a "goal post" rig -- two beefy stands off camera on opposite sides of the frame, with a horizontal pipe between them to hang the light off of.

Or bounce / reflect the light off of something hanging above the frame behind the subject, rather than hang the light itself. Source-4's work well for this trick since they can be cut sharply to match the area of the bounce card. Sometimes it's easier to clamp a white or silver card to the ceiling, hanging down, than a heavier light.

All of this means carrying a wide variety of clamps, gobo heads, c-stands, sandbags, etc. Not to mention safety chain or cord, etc.
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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 12:36 PM

It's common practice to use a c-stand instead of a light stand for this type of thing and arm the light out from the side. For heavier lights, try something like this: http://www.bhphotovi...i_Max_Boom.html.

BTW, check out the crazy boom rig the grips rigged up for the infamous Obama "fly swat" interview @ 0:50 -- http://www.youtube.c...feature=related.

Never seen someone do that with a c-stand, let alone with two of them. I guess the c-stand legs are acting as counterweight?
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#4 David Rakoczy

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 02:20 PM

That rig is pretty common.. if the legs can't be removed then they fly high with the rest of the stand... if you are using smaller lamps, using a Cstand to extend a lamp out works really well.
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#5 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 07:34 PM

For nearly all interview style shots, I use a C-stand with the stand outside the frame and the arm extended out so that it is behind the subject and out of the top of the frame.

What you should also have in this situation is either a lens shade at the camera OR an addition C-stand in front of the backlight with a small solid. This can provide a lenser AND it is also very useful when you have a bald person sitting there.... you can cut the light off the top of the head but still have it hitting the shoulders. This removes that annoying glaring spot that is so often seen when the backlight is not cut. This canNOT be achieved by barndoors alone.

If I need multiple backlights and the frame(s) allow for it, I'll use a backdrop stand and attach Mafer clamps along the way and position my backlights that way.

OR, if I can't get a C-stand in there for some reason (because I'm backed up against a wall), then I might use a scissor clamp that is designed to be used with the drop-ceiling frame. Then it's just a matter of using grip clips to keep the cable up out of the shot until it can reach power.
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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 02:47 AM

That rig is pretty common.. if the legs can't be removed then they fly high with the rest of the stand...

Good to know. What kind of stand and clamp do you use to hold the c-stand? Also, it looks like there are two c-stands flying in the Obama video - what's the purpose of the second stand? Is it holding up a second light or is it just for added support?

Thanks David!

*Just wanted to add - it's also a good idea to run power to the backlight back toward the camera and put it on a dimmer where you can reach it. Then you can make quick tweaks to the backlight's intensity without moving from behind the camera.
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#7 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 03:00 AM

What the Hell! Did those guys really rig up a c-stand as a menace arm? (in the obama video)

Did that not look dangerous to anyone else?

6 foot speed rail on a combo stand would do it. Use a menace arm kit (3-4 piece kit) for anything over a 650 and ratchet that puppy down.
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#8 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 09:25 AM

BTW, check out the crazy boom rig the grips rigged up for the infamous Obama "fly swat" interview @ 0:50 -- http://www.youtube.c...feature=related.

Never seen someone do that with a c-stand, let alone with two of them. I guess the c-stand legs are acting as counterweight?


But jimminy Christmas, if you can carry the amount of dirt that it takes to hold that down, why not carry a counter-weight pole instead?
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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 03:26 AM

Did that not look dangerous to anyone else?

See, that's what I was thinking! Having that thing collapse on the head of a superstar actor making $20 mil/film is one thing. But having it fall on the president's head? They might just reopen Guantanamo for you...
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#10 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 08:24 PM

See, that's what I was thinking! Having that thing collapse on the head of a superstar actor making $20 mil/film is one thing. But having it fall on the president's head? They might just reopen Guantanamo for you...


hahaha. Not to mention the legs sticking out. I was thinking more about that than the stand falling.
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#11 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 08:41 PM

It depends on what angle you want the rim light to fall onto your subject, you can sometimes hide it behind the journalist and lower than him if he isn't moving. Or you can use two lights outside of the frame instead of one to have the balance for both sides.
Another thing that you can do is leave the stand in the frame (if it's black and you are not exposing for it..)
If we re talking for a medium shot just ''boom'' a china ball...
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#12 Bob Hayes

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 12:43 AM

Has any one experimented with building a 12x12 frame indoors as a lighting grid. I have been thinking about it. I’d use a frame that breaks down into six foot sections and I’d use three high rollers with two on the sides of the frame and one on the middle on the side away from the on camera folks. The side stands would be placed so eight feet of the frame would extend toward the talent and four feet behind. I wonder if this would create a stable grid where you could hang six small lights and a couple of small nets and flags. You could avoid the multiple boom arms and instead of moving the arm to adjust you could move the light on the frame.

And yes the rig with Obama looked a little iffy. I would have expected a higher tech solution.
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#13 David Auner aac

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 02:04 AM

Has any one experimented with building a 12x12 frame indoors as a lighting grid. I have been thinking about it. I’d use a frame that breaks down into six foot sections and I’d use three high rollers with two on the sides of the frame and one on the middle on the side away from the on camera folks. The side stands would be placed so eight feet of the frame would extend toward the talent and four feet behind. I wonder if this would create a stable grid where you could hang six small lights and a couple of small nets and flags. You could avoid the multiple boom arms and instead of moving the arm to adjust you could move the light on the frame.


Sounds like a good idea. You'd just need to carry beefier stands to hold that up than you normally would. And I also assume that this would be harder to handle for two guys than a normal setup. What size of crew do you normally have for this kind of stuff?

Cheers, Dave
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#14 David Rakoczy

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 06:17 AM

And yes the rig with Obama looked a little iffy. I would have expected a higher tech solution.


I thought it resembled his healthcare plan :blink:
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