So I am shooting a live performance of a singer/guitarist in studio and I was wondering how you guys would light it. The music is acoustic, folk, rock and many of the songs are downbeat. I have several ideas that I think will create interesting effects.
My first way will be to give him a hot key light of maybe 600 watts, then give him a medium back light gelled orange at 400 watts, then give him a slight fill at maybe 100 watts. Then on the back I will have a black syc that is stretched tight with a light from a pidgin on a plate shooting up giving a stretch of light.
Then my second way is to top light him with a leko of 750 watts gelled orange then give his face a kick with a direct from light of 400 watts. Background would either be the same or a green screen background of a similar idea.
How would you like it to be creative and yet simple?
Your suggested methods will produce decent results. If this guy is really, really good, I would go another route. I'd forget the colored gels. If possible, I'd place him in a large empty space with, preferably, windows on only one side of the room. Even better if the windows face South and you have splashes of sunlight on the floor. I'd put him where he is in very soft light and turn him partly sideways to the key (windows.) Then I'd put the tiniest rim light on him to just separate him from the dark background. I'd pick camera angles so that parts of him and his guitar are in deep shadow, and there is a soft wrap from deep shadow to highlight. I'd shoot some very wide shots that show the whole room and him tiny in it. If possible, I'd dolly around from the total shadow side to 3/4 lit, from time to time, at different frame sizes. If possible, he would be "playing" to playback of his own recording, so that you have no continuity problems.
If you must record him in his own studio, you could adapt the above ideas.
You might also consider shooting each song in a different location. Available light, well chosen, does wonders. Less is more.
[Rick Wise]"he would be "playing" to playback of his own recording"
Yes, almost always the easier way to go.
The last time I shot a no-budget music video (yeeeears ago), even though it was shot in a real recording studio, the artist was lip synching to playback of the track she had just recorded standing in the exact same spot a hour earlier. It was 3am and we only had about 45 minutes for the shoot, so we rolled playback a half-dozen times and shot it different ways... MS, WS, CU, floating around on a jib, and continuously walking around her with Steadicam. Super fast down and dirty, but I must say it all cut together really well for a pretty nice zero budget video.
Not only is using pre-recorded playback easier for about a zillion technical reasons... but you are guaranteed a good vocal performance from the artist -- because that part is already in the can.
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