Any tips on the order you use to achieve the look you are after? Do you, for example, start with x number of lights and then play with or turn off one at a time, or do you add lights after setting up the key? I know there are no hard and fast rules but just trying to develop some basic practices. I often find less is more.
After finding the look you want are there any tricks to not having a boom pole kill your design? It’s not always easy to get the mike within 3 feet of the subject’s mouth and not have it throw an unwanted shadow, even with the talent as far as possible from the b.g. It’s sometimes easier to just go with a lav even if a hypercardoid has better sound. When you start adding flags do you find it changes your design dramatically or does hiding flaws get easier with experience?
When you are setting up, do you have more than one monitor in use so that the camera operator and crew member adjusting a light can see the results as they change its height, angle, distance?
Since all this takes time, do you find it easier to use stand-ins for your talent so they don’t get anxious? I think it would be better for the talent to come into a set that has been fixed and then only have to sit through slight adjustments and a mike check than all the experimenting it takes to get the lighting and camera angles correct. Also I don't always want the talent seeing themselves on the monitors and if the monitor is facing the lighting crew then talent can see them selves.