FORUMS: list search recent posts

Frontline interview lighting style

COW Forums : Lighting Design

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Bob Cole
Frontline interview lighting style
on Nov 6, 2008 at 7:39:50 pm

If you've seen PBS's Frontline, you've probably noticed their very simple but effective interview lighting style. It looks to me like one very large source, and very natural-looking lighting of the background that still gives separation without a backlight.

Do you know how it's done?

Bob C



Return to posts index

Joe DuPont
Re: Frontline interview lighting style
on Nov 13, 2008 at 9:49:55 pm

Hi Bob,

Great question, I am wondering the same. Particularly the show around election time.

I'm also curious regarding the filtering/netting for the interviews. It's strong but not over-the-top IMO.

Any insight out there?


-joe





Return to posts index

Bob Cole
Re: Frontline interview lighting style
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:37:27 pm

Netting, huh? Interesting.

If any of you are interested but didn't see the show, here is a link to one of the recent interviews:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/choice2008/interviews/axelrod.html



Return to posts index


john sharaf
Re: Frontline interview lighting style
on Nov 14, 2008 at 12:16:45 am

Bob,

Simple is the key; either a 2' or 4' Kino Flo or similarly sized Chimera as the key light. No backlight, to keep it looking less lit and ambiance on the back wall or another simple wash from the same direction as the key.

As far as filtering, it's hard to judge with a .jpg or even any reproduction on the internet. If shot HD, I suspect there is no filtering at all, just maybe nominal detail or slightly reduced. If SD then the most common diffussion is Schneider Classic Soft 1/2. Netting like Christian Dior or Fogal is reserved for aging Diva's like Barbara Walters, although, like I say, when we shoot her in High Def (with Varicams) we use no filfers at all.

JS



Return to posts index

Rick Wise
Re: Frontline interview lighting style
on Nov 14, 2008 at 1:03:09 am

The answer is always in the shadows. From the low-res JPG image, key appears to be the classic, soft "Rembrandt Patch" lighting though set at roughly eye-level to the interviewee rather than 45ยบ above, plus very light and soft fill-light. Background may well be ambient light. Whether or not there's any backlight is hard to tell, but if there is one, it's scrimmed way, way down so as to be invisible.

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


Return to posts index

Bob Cole
Re: Frontline interview lighting style
on Nov 19, 2008 at 1:07:13 am

The .jpg doesn't do the lighting justice. It just looks flat as a still. Somehow it's much different in broadcast.

If you guys get a chance to screen an actual Frontline video, I'd be very curious about your evaluation qualitatively of the interview lighting. They've managed to create a distinctive style. I'm starting to think it's not just the lighting, but the colorist as well. The beauty of this "look" is that it adds to the credibility of the whole show. It looks "unlit" = "truthful."

Thank you for the responses. I'm going to try to simulate the effect this week on the first day of shooting talking heads for a new documentary, this way:

Key with Kino Flo Diva at eye level (if eyeglasses are a problem, I'll move the key light to the side rather than up.) Fill with Chimera, on a dimmer.

I'm going to use some backlight even though it violates the "look," because I have to use a backdrop rather than an environmental setting, and I think the shot will need some separation.

I'm also going to shoot HD, just to give me a little more quality to work with in post-production, if I can figure out the formula there.

Again, thank for the responses, and please take a look at the next Frontline -- usually Tuesday, I think.

Bob C



Return to posts index


Dan Brockett
Re: Frontline interview lighting style
on Nov 19, 2008 at 10:08:49 pm

First interview clip is at 3:32 and then they follow...






Based upon what I see, the lighting described in the above post is accurate but "the look" is also heavily dependent on the colorist. A nice, but pretty stylized look that works well for the subject matter. The other thing needed to get this look is a broadcast 2/3" camera or a 1/3" camera with a 35mm adapter, the depth of field is very shallow.

Dan

Providing value added material to all of your favorite DVDs


Return to posts index

Jim Mulleder
Re: Frontline interview lighting style
on Nov 21, 2008 at 8:38:10 pm

Great discussion here gents.

Judging by some of the reflections in the glasses I think that maybe it could be from a powerful source with a large diffuser, like a 2x2 or 4x4 frame holding some white diffusion. Perhaps the BG could be receiving a bit of this light and is then softly lit per each situation.

I would love to hear your opinions,
Jim Mulleder

Jim Mulleder
Level Horizon Productions
778.888.4336


Return to posts index

Mark Frazier
Re: Frontline interview lighting style
on Dec 1, 2008 at 8:42:52 pm

I'm in agreement with the previous posts - a large, eye level, soft key offset about 60 degrees from camera line (always from the direction the subject is facing); some bounce to gently fill in the "outside" of the face; get the camera a good distance from the subject and zoom in to throw the background out of focus. The subject at about 7:10 is wearing glasses, and the reflection gives a hint at the size of the key for a brief moment. Unless the BG needs supplemental lighting, this can be done with only one fixture.

Good luck!

Mark



Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]