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Buying lights + diffuser/softbox for interviews?

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Nikolaj Mikkelsen
Buying lights + diffuser/softbox for interviews?
on Feb 19, 2015 at 1:11:20 pm

Hi there,

I have to do a lot of interviews at my job during the next months, and therefore need to buy some lights. I have to do both one and two person interviews, probably with white/grey backdrop. But my knowledge about is quite scanty. I guess I need lights for a three point setup, and maybe some light for the backdrop as well.

I already have two Lupoled 560 LED panel + some old spots. But that's all.

Can anyone reccomend what would be smart to buy? I'm think about:


- More LED Panels? (hair light + background light). Or should I be okay using my old spots (they seem very intensive compared to the LED panels


- Would it be smart to get some diffusers (link is external) or softboxes? I'm especially thinking about the LED's being reflected in the people's glasses

Thank you!
Nikolaj


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Kirk Darling
Re: Buying lights + diffuser/softbox for interviews?
on Feb 19, 2015 at 11:53:51 pm

Before buying any new lights for on the job (OJT) interviews, first consider using your two LED panels as supplemental lights. OTJ, you probably have a choice of using window light as a main or fill, roughly matching color temperature with the LED panels.

Mixing color balances between light sources is very nasty. Color of the lights is something you can determine fairly closely in tests with your camera. Do some testing to determine the difference from window light (which will be in the high end of the 5000K range) and your light panels. Also make note of any color casts they may need. Then go to B&H and purchase some gel sheets to match window light.

But if you set up to use a large window as a broad fill, one panel as a main light and the other panel as an accent light, you should be good to go. In an OJT situation, you'll want a certain lighting style consistency--you don't want to present an editor with huge differences.


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Dean Longfield
Re: Buying lights + diffuser/softbox for interviews?
on Feb 20, 2015 at 2:34:00 am

I like natural light from a window as well, BUT I usually don't use it for an interview if the interview is going to take a while. For one thing, the sun moves. Then sometimes the sun will peek in and out of clouds. So one doesn't have control over the natural lighting which is ever changing.

That said, I do use the window as a backlight if there is a nice city backdrop that will be in the back ground and it's not going to take forever to shoot and (preferably), it's cloudy all day.

Usually I play it safe and usually cover the window to block the outside light and use a softbox for my Key and can Fill with a bounce card or another softer light, depending on what you have in your tool box. I usually always use a hair light / Back Light as well.

My interview kit has 2 Lowel RIFA Lights, (softboxes) 2 Lowel Omnis and 2 Lowel Pro's. I carry two of each light for two person interviews, (Host and Interviewee). If just one person is on screen then I use one of each. Of course gells, diffusion material: frost & spun, bounce cards, expendables etc., are all in the kit.

Now it also depends on how much time you have to set up your interview.
3 hours or 3 minutes? If it's 3 minutes I set up the softbox near the camera and light the subject from a 20 - 30 degree angle and go with it. If it's 3 hours I have time to play and make it nice, (dramatic).
Also depends if you're in a 10 x 10 office or a 50 x 50' space...etc.

Lately, I've been building a more compact kit with battery operated,(AC/DC), LED Lights with varying color temp controls. Especially if it's a one person interview on location in a small office. This can work well for those one man band shoots in urban areas when you're traveling really light. IKAN and others make decent compact LED light kits.

If you have the room you may want to carry a slash light for accent lighting. You can get creative as to which light you choose for that purpose.

Of course all the above assume you are shooting interior locations for your interviews.


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Dean Longfield
Re: Buying lights + diffuser/softbox for interviews?
on Feb 20, 2015 at 2:51:41 am

Re: Lights reflecting in eyeglasses:
If you can't get the person to remove the glasses, then key further to the side until the reflection is out of the glasses. Now this will make the contrast ratio more dramatic so you'll have to fill the other side of the subjects face with more intense light than your usual fill.

You can also have the interviewer move a little more off camera so the interviewee's angle, (looking at the interviewer), is shifted such that he's not catching the light reflection in his glasses.

The other option is to light from above but that's a flatter look which you may not be looking for, (though a lot of corporate stuff use a flatter look).


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Nikolaj Mikkelsen
Re: Buying lights + diffuser/softbox for interviews?
on Feb 20, 2015 at 1:17:59 pm

Allright, thanks a lot. I will often be shooting without daylight, because I will shoot during the evening. So I need to do the lighting only with my LED panels. I will mostly shoot with a white vinyl backdrop. I will often have 30-60 minutes to set up.

So I guess it would be nice to buy two more LED panels, for hairlight for both people, if I do two person interviews. And then maybe later buy some more two light up the backdrop...

And wouldn't diffusers for the key and fill light be good, to spread the light a bit more?


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Dean Longfield
Re: Buying lights + diffuser/softbox for interviews?
on Feb 21, 2015 at 1:19:05 am

Yes, I would diffuse the light. I never use hard light on an interview.


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Nikolaj Mikkelsen
Re: Buying lights + diffuser/softbox for interviews?
on Feb 21, 2015 at 3:05:07 pm

Allright, then I'll go for two diffusers for my key and fill light, and two more LED panels for hair light. Should I be able to avoid nasty shadows with a white/grey backdrop, as long as I keep the talents far from the backdrop?

Best regards,
Nikolaj


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Dean Longfield
Re: Buying lights + diffuser/softbox for interviews?
on Feb 26, 2015 at 12:57:54 am

That should do it yea. best of luck.


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Kirk Darling
Re: Buying lights + diffuser/softbox for interviews?
on Mar 2, 2015 at 2:57:47 pm

Most people who must wear glasses will not want to remove them. Not only will they not look the same to others--because eyeglasses form a significant part of personal appearance and even psychology--but also because when their vision is handicapted, their facial expressions and sense of comfort will show it in the interview.

The answer to eyeglass reflection very often is "hard light" because it creates a much smaller and easier to control reflection. If you go back and look at the old school movies of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, nearly all the lighting was hard...but it was well filled.

That's the key, so to speak. A hard light well-filled to, say, a 1:2 ratio (take an incident light meter reading with a flat or recessed receptor pointing first at the main light, then at the fill light and see that there is no more than a stop of difference) will look just as pleasant as a soft light. But the smaller reflection will be much easier to control.


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