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lighting someone who doesn't want to be seen

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Carla Cameron
lighting someone who doesn't want to be seen
on Jun 13, 2008 at 4:39:33 am

Hello,

I am doing an interview with a someone who doesn't want anyone to recognize her. I was thinking of using low light and filming her outline. Can someone tell me how to do this? I tried it by stopping down to F16, putting the ND filter on the camera to 1/8 and turning on the only light we had (Lowel Tota 750w- the omni 500w and 250 w are blown)and facing it towards the wall behind the test subject. But this looked awkward because you could see the light behind the test person.
What's the best way to hide someone's I.D. using lighting? should I use a lamp?

I should be getting the other bulbs for the other two lights soon.

Thank you ahead of time.

Carla


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Rick Wise
Re: lighting someone who doesn't want to be seen
on Jun 13, 2008 at 6:49:11 pm

There are a number of ways to hide identity: place the subject against a bright window, expose for the outdoors, leaving the person as a silhouette; place the actor against a hot wall or light, leaving his/her face dark/black; shoot from behind his/her head; show only the hands, or maybe just the chin.

None of these ways is particularly satisfying.

Note that if the person is well known, you will also need to distort the voice to avoid recognition.

If you are shooting video, you will be able to see in the viewfinder whether or not you can read facial features. Further, in post, the editor can crush the face even more.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Ben Avechuco
Re: lighting someone who doesn't want to be seen
on Jun 14, 2008 at 8:37:11 pm

It is a good idea to have the lit background a good distance from your subject to avoid light bouncing onto their face.
I've always tried to do it in low light, to make sure there is more contrast in the scene and to avoid opening up the iris to show details in the dark parts of the picture.



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Dennis Size
Re: lighting someone who doesn't want to be seen
on Jun 18, 2008 at 3:32:13 am

The background should be lit brightly with no light on the front of the person is the obvious technique. Why not make it interesting though. "Slash" the wall with light right behind the person's head -- perhaps in a color, perhaps with texture. Backlight the person's shoulders but not their head at all. It'll define their 3 dimensionality.
Put a black srim or nylon net between the person's face and the camera and splash some textural light on the front of the scrim, but from a low angle. The more light you have on the front of the scrim the less transparent it will be, eventually rendering the person behind it "invisible".

DS




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Carla Cameron
Re: lighting someone who doesn't want to be seen
on Jun 18, 2008 at 11:49:04 am

Thanks everyone for the advise.


Carla



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Tom Nelson
Re: lighting someone who doesn't want to be seen
on Jun 25, 2008 at 7:07:34 pm

Most lighting on these types of shots isn't done correctly. When I see these types of "anonymous" shots come up on my screen at home, I mess with the contrast and brightness on my TV to check to see if it was done correctly (yes, I'm a big dork). Often times, simply modifying the picture on your set reveals the person's face. The bottom line is that it's tough, nearly impossible, to do it in the field with just lighting. In post, you can tweak the contrast and black levels to be sure that the person's face is entirely in the dark.

Tom Nelson
Videographer/Editor
Essex Television Group


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Vince Becquiot
Re: lighting someone who doesn't want to be seen
on Jun 29, 2008 at 7:13:59 pm

I find that this is a lot easier to deal with in chroma key as you have total control over foreground and background.

Vince



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