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basic lighting for two and three-person interviews

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Ruby Gold
basic lighting for two and three-person interviews
on May 12, 2005 at 7:39:00 pm

I'm a newbie and most of my experience with lighting interviews has been for a one-person interview. I have a shoot coming up for a two-person and three person interview. These folks will be talking to one another and to the camera. At least two of the folks will probably be sitting next to each other. Does anyone have suggestions for how to set up the lighting (and them), so shadows aren't thrown onto one another, and the lighting is nice--simple, warm, casual?

I have a four light kit that includes an omni, tota, rifa and one other small light. Any help appreciated!

thanks-



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Leo Ticheli
Re: basic lighting for two and three-person interviews
on May 12, 2005 at 8:27:05 pm

Hi Ruby,
Most often the goal is to make the pictures beautiful or dramatic without looking "lit." This may well be the case with your assignment.

I would not choose the lighting kit you have, probably opting for quite large soft sources that have sufficient punch and coverage even when placed far enough away to avoid the frame. You could try bashing your hard lights through a very large sheet of diffusion material; even a bed sheet or neutral shower curtain will work, although I worry that you may not have enough punch. If there are windows revealing daylight outside, you have a double problem; color balance and level.

When faced with a situation that you just can't fully light because you don't have the time or equipment, you may choose to simply add some shape to the light to make the subjects more three-dimensional; use your lights from a three-quarters back position to add some kick and let the available light provide the key. Usually not the first choice, but sometimes it can look quite good, depending on the desired effect.

You didn't say how you plan to block the scene. Do you intend to place one subject opposite the other two, so that you are doing some over-the-shoulder shots? Are they all sitting around a table, at, say nine, twelve, and three oclock? You're blocking certainly affects the lighting design.

If you're moving the camera, you may well have to adjust the lighting for each camera angle, taking care that the lighting doesn't look changed from shot to shot in editing.

Hope it goes well! Invest in some Kino Flo's as soon as you can.

Good shooting!
Leo

Director/Cinematographer
Southeast USA


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Michael Munkittrick
Re: basic lighting for two and three-person interviews..........
on May 12, 2005 at 8:59:09 pm

EEEK!

Tough shoot with that kit. I'd suggest something a bit differently than Mr. Ticheli, but with the same logic. Without the set blocking, there's no way to give you specific placements, but assuming that it's a round-table type discussion, I'd look toward using your Omni in a lantern configuration on a boom or suspended in the center of the speakers and cross-fire your Tota at about 35-40 degrees on either the left or right side with a white bounce card just out of frame. Another diffusion material with some reflective qualities would work as well. With your remaining source, you might have to use it up and to the same side as your Tota with it functioning as a backlight, again just out of frame and with an opposing bounce card to capture any stray beams.

Ultimately, there


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Ruby Gold
Re: basic lighting for two and three-person interviews..........
on May 12, 2005 at 9:08:59 pm

Leo and Michael:
Thanks for your thoughtful (and thought provoking!) responses. I'm a bit out of my league here in that I'm not even familiar with Kino-Flo or Chimera lights, but clearly will need to educate myself. Thanks again-
Ruby


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Leo Ticheli
Re: basic lighting for two and three-person interviews..........
on May 12, 2005 at 9:14:51 pm

There is little doubt in my mind that Professor John Sharaf would recommend an HMI fixture in a large Chimera. This is the most expensive approach, but nothing beats a giant soft source for that certain look.

Good shooting!
Leo


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Leo Ticheli
Re: basic lighting for two and three-person interviews..........
on May 12, 2005 at 9:12:29 pm

If you asked a dozen of us to light such a scene, you would most likely find quite a bit of variation in approach and resultant look. Michael's suggestion is just as valid as anyone's, and the look is better or worse depending solely on your own vision of how you want it to look.

I've not seen Michael's new line of lighting fixtures; they may or may not suit your needs and lighting style. At the prices Michael has mentioned, you have little to risk in trying one.

The Kino Flo's are a sure bet; I don't know anyone who's tried them and not made them a permanent part of the way they light. I've also been very happy with my Mole Richardson Biax 8; it's punchy enough to work with daylight windows and still small enough to stuff into tight quarters.

Good shooting!

Leo
Director/Cinematographer
Southeast USA


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Bob Cole
Re: basic lighting for two and three-person interviews
on May 13, 2005 at 1:24:39 am

With that kit I'd hang a large shower curtain and blast all your lights through it. Put it far enough away that the light doesn't drastically fall off from the nearest to the farthest person.


-- BC




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Ralph Keyser
Re: basic lighting for two and three-person interviews
on May 25, 2005 at 6:33:20 pm

I'm always playing catch-up on message boards. How big is the Rifa light in your kit? My experience with the 1K Rifas has been pretty good. A medium sized soft source with a little more reach than a 1K instrument behind a Chimera. Once again, it depends on the blocking and setup.

While I'm about it, I'll throw in a plug for renting gear. Renting lights, especially tungsten instruments, is really pretty cheap, and most places will work with you even if you only need one or two for a shoot. A great way to have what you need for a shoot even if you don't own them.

Ralph Keyser
Albuquerque, NM


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