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Advice for lighting interviews at a conference

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kat hayes
Advice for lighting interviews at a conference
on Jun 15, 2009 at 8:24:53 pm

I am planning to take a video camera, either a hand held AVCHD camera or a DVX-100 to a conference to conduct interviews that will later be placed on the web.

I will be doing all of this myself and will likely have to be mobile to be able to hunt down the people I want to interview.

1. Should I consider purchasing a camera mounted light for this? Something like the Lite-Panel?

2. Can anyone recommend any other accessories or techniques for shooting in this type of environment where the lighting will be unknown until I get there, and I will not be able to bring my own lighting kit?

Thanks for any advice!!!



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Mark Suszko
Re: Advice for lighting interviews at a conference
on Jun 15, 2009 at 8:43:42 pm

While a lightpanel on the camera can get the job done in bare-bones manner, IMO it will give a harsh "news-footage" look. If you're okay with that, fine. The next step up would be to put the light off to one side, and get it off the camera. Even a foot to one side is better, and some folks do that by mounting the light on an arm or gooseneck affair, others use an intern to hold the light.

At a conference like this, you could set up a Rifa light or Chimera softbank in one corner of the lobby, drag your interview subjects over, and have a better look than just plain camera light.

Other tricks to making the best of an on-camera light include adding a small softbox to it, or some other diffusion... or, if the ceiling is low and more or less white, bouncing the light off the ceiling or the intersection of ceiling and white wall, instead of directly onto the subject.


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kat hayes
Re: Advice for lighting interviews at a conference
on Jun 16, 2009 at 5:27:30 pm

Hi Mark,

How can you attach a light to one side around a foot from the camera? What type of device would you use? Do Lite Panels need diffusion? I was under the impression that they were already highly diffused.

Thanks!



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Alan Lloyd
Re: Advice for lighting interviews at a conference
on Jun 15, 2009 at 11:26:28 pm

What Mark said.

Even a single decent soft (read: flattering) source will help deal with the invariably top-down eye-socket-shadow generating light at a conference or trade show. Bring 'em over, light 'em up, and do it. And watch that background!

Oh yes, you're bringing a good lavalier or hand mic, right? People will forgive iffy lighting long before they forgive mediocre sound, and while a camera mic might seem like a good idea - hey, it's a "shotgun", right? - it will also pick up sound from behind your subject. A good dynamic hand mic held under your subject's chin will pull them out from the background sound very nicely. You can hold it yourself. Phrase it as "saving them from having to worry about it" - that way they can't drop it!

A lav is my second choice, they're usually too dry.



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kat hayes
Re: Advice for lighting interviews at a conference
on Jun 16, 2009 at 5:28:14 pm

Hi Alan,

Yes, I will be using a good hand mic. Thanks for your advice!!!



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Rich Newman
Re: Advice for lighting interviews at a conference
on Jun 17, 2009 at 1:48:44 pm

Something else you might consider if you are shooting indoors during the daytime, is to look around for locations that provide light coming from a large window. This can give you a nice, even main light source. Position the yourself close to the window with the window light coming from behind the camera. Place your subject at a slight angle in front of the camera. Do a white balance and you're good to go.


Rich Newman
Disney University Production Services
Training Media Producer/Videographer


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