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On-stage interview: soft sources from afar?


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#1 Drew Lahat

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 10:43 PM

There's a plethora of resources on how to light interviews (and I've shot plenty of those), but I'm helping cover an event for a documentary, an on-stage male presenter interviewing a female guest talent.

 

The room itself is a pretty ugly white rectangle with overhead fluorescents, I hope to kill most of them or leave just enough for ambient light. This is a documentary and at the "two DSLRs and a few bucks for G&E" level, so I'm not trying to reinvent or design the space, just mostly interested in making the subjects appealing. I looked at some TED talks for visual reference.

There's no truss or budget for one. Ceiling is high and I expect to have to rely on stands. Hope I'll get 70-200mm zooms for the cameras.

 

Quick sketch with some options:

SUplot.png

 

 

1. When doing interviews, I'm used to rely on large (=soft) sources: bounce cards, softboxes etc., but unless you see otherwise, my keys/fills will have to be 20-25 feet away. What's the best approach in such a case?

 

 

2. My plan is very simple, (A+B) as either 36º Lekos or 1K fresnels, high enough to get out of the talent's eyeline and land the shadows on the smile line. They'd cross-key and also serve as an (intentionally) frontal fill. 

For backlight (D), I first thought about a 650 Tweenie, but is there a away to effectively backlight both talent with 1 point source? How about a 1x4ft (or 2x4ft) Kino?

 

[C] Was just an optional idea, if you see any merit to it. I mostly think it would just annoy the talent.

 

 

3. Diffusion: 215/250/half grid? Same on both sides, or different strengths for the female talent? Leko+Heavier diffusion, or 1K + lighter diff?

 

 

4. My hunch told me I'd need way more light than that, but I ran the Arri photometrics calculator and a single 1K fresnel at medium spot from 25ft away should cover 13ft at 55fc, enough for f5.6 at 800ISO. Does it sound right?

 

 

Your thoughts and opinions are appreciated. Thanks!


Edited by Drew Lahat, 12 March 2016 - 10:46 PM.

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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 11:43 PM

I think the Lekos on high stands are a good plan. I don't think you can backlights both subjects with one source, they're just too far apart. 2x 300w would probably do it. I'd go Lekos plus heavier diff, 251 sounds about right. Now hope that the talent don't decide to get up and start walking around! ;)
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#3 JD Hartman

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 07:44 AM

Source 4 leko with a 36 degree lens gives you a beam diameter of 15' at a distance of 25', 145fc.


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#4 Chad Griepentrog

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:34 AM

Although source 4's are my favorite light, I'd suggest back-crossing the subjects with fresnels. You could scissor clamp 2 650's or 1k fresnels if the ceiling has tiles (I'm assuming so since the room sounds boring and has fluorescent light). If placed correctly, each light will serve as the key for one subject and back light for the other. Half scrims help here. Having the keys on the other side of the subjects (opposite of where the lekos are placed in diagram) will help the image look less flat. If you wanted fill, you could bounce a couple other 1k's into the ceiling or just manipulate the overheads. As for diffusion, you could use 251 like above mentioned.
Will there be an audience?
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#5 Drew Lahat

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 11:27 PM

I was thinking about back-crossing... it will be a more interesting light and help with separation, but will it be unflattering to the 40yo female talent? I'm also in no position to use gel frames, only directly diff the lights.

 

I wish it was a typical room with drop ceiling... it's actually almost twice as tall, which in many cases would be a blessing, but no scissor clamps here and even using the ceiling for a bounce would be challenging. To back-cross I still think I can use stands or clamp it to a decorative backdrop they may have.

 

Yes there will be an audience but there's a specific production decision not to film them.


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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 11:34 PM

I think the danger with back-cross keys is that if the talent turn to address the audience or field Q&A afterward, you'll be screwed.
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