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interview infront of a window

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jessica shaughnessy
interview infront of a window
on Jun 21, 2010 at 9:07:02 pm

Hi,

Apologies for this being a really basic question...

Somebody wants me to film an interview with them infront of a window, so you can see the view outside. I have a Canon XHA1s.

Any tips?


Many thanks
Jess


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Rick Wise
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 21, 2010 at 9:29:07 pm

This topic was covered in great detail recently. Try a search for: window. I think that will work.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
and part-time instructor lighting and camera
grad school, SF Academy of Art University/Film and Video
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 22, 2010 at 4:01:51 pm

HMI lights indoors (costly and hot) or
gel the window with Neutral Density daylight correcting gel film, or
scrim the window.


Or... shoot the window as a plate shot, properly exposed for outside view, then shoot the interview, properly exposed but with the window blown out, and composite the two in post. Absolute last-choice hail-Mary type thing to try. REquores locked-down shots and possibly rotoscoping. Not for beginners.


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Alan Lloyd
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 22, 2010 at 5:13:12 pm

I did exactly that for an recognition show intro by someone who could not attend.

It worked surprisingly well, and yes, locking down the camera is a must. It took several layers stacked carefully to pull a clean (luminance) key.

I was not in attendance at the show in question, though I heard the audience loved the piece.


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Todd Terry
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 22, 2010 at 5:35:42 pm

[Mark Suszko] "HMI lights indoors (costly and hot)"

Costly yes... but why do so many people think HMIs are hot?? I think that (coupled with the price, of course) scares off a lot of people from daylight lighting.

HMIs do NOT run hot. In fact, I'll take the heat from an HMI over an equivalent-wattage tungsten instrument any day of the week. Much cooler.

As for this setup... I personally would probably light with HMI as well as either gel or net the window behind. Have done that on a number of occasions and it looks good.

Shooting clean plates and doing background replacement as suggested could also work very well... but as stated only with a locked down camera. I generally keep my camera moving (including headshot interview-type setups, even if it's only a little float) so I usually don't think of those options, but it would indeed work.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Fernando Mol
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 25, 2010 at 12:12:20 am

Shooting the subject a little underexposed and letting the window blow could help to create a nice luma matte.

*Always share a link to your site and rate the posts. This is a free service for you and for us.


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Bill Davis
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 22, 2010 at 11:31:20 pm

The third alternative and the one I'd probably take is to shoot two videos of the room - locked down - one exposed for the window view - the second exposed for the room with the window blown out.

Composite both in post (a foolishly simple window shaped wipe will do) - then shoot the interviewee in the studio where you can control both the sound and light. And then composite the composite with the studio shot.

This thinking, of course, comes from someone who HAS a studio and has learned the hard way just how many day to day problems shooting in a soundproofed studio actually resolves!

YMMV.



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jessica shaughnessy
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 23, 2010 at 6:37:51 am

Thanks everyone for your input, that was all really useful advice.

One more thing....Covering the window will be fairly tricky you see as it goes from floor to ceiling, right the way across the wall and the people who own the building will not allow me to stick things on the windows.

I mentioned I use a Canon XHA1s which can take any lens filter with a thread size of 72mm. Would it have the same effect to put an ND attatchment on the camera rather than on the entire window? This is what a photographer suggested as that is what they would do, but I am guessing it is different for video for some reason?

Many thanks

Jess


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Bill Davis
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 23, 2010 at 7:07:32 am


Jessica,

The issue is that except for VERY powerful versions of HMI lights - there's nothing that can directly compete with the sun in terms of brightness.

So, no matter what camera you shoot, you're going to have a problem with the overexposed window.

The issue with using a partial filter on the camera lens is that it will darken EVERYTHING between the camera and the scene covered by the area of the filter. So your talent will darken as they move behind the lens filter. This is unacceptable.

So the challenge is to get something BEHIND the talent, yet in FRONT of or BEHIND the window such that it lowers the light of the window without affecting the light hitting the scene you wish to record.

Depending on the size of the window area - one typical solution is to build or create a larger than the window area FRAME that can be leaned or affixed to the exterior of the structure that will cover the entire window area with something that limits the light entering through that window.

Common home center black or green shade cloth can be very effective in this. The issue is building the proper frame from wood, or PVC pipe, or whatever else is available, affordable, and strong enough to hold the fabric over the entire window area.

Outside of a technique like this, you're going to be stuck with the restrictions you have.

Good luck.



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Alan Lloyd
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 23, 2010 at 1:04:38 pm

Floor-to-ceiling windows? How tight a shot are you looking for?

I see the potential for very distracting interior reflections from anything in the room being hit by daylight as an additional complication if you're at all wide.

And a potential solution:

Put your interview subject 6-8 feet from the window. Hire some grip equipment and put at least a 4x4' double net on a stand immediately in front of the window to knock down the intensity of the outside light. Position it so the edges are not visible, of course. If you need to be wider, an 8x8' frame with a double net will take care of it, though it will take time and care to build and set up properly. Wrinkles will be a problem.

Light your subject to the proper level, using whatever instruments you choose, making sure to avoid window reflections. "Wedge" them to daylight (presuming they're not HMI or Kinos) and set your camera's white settings appropriately.

Position yourself 6-8 feet back and push in to narrow your depth of field. You will probably want your iris to be as wide open as possible, engage your first internal ND if needed.

It's best to not be perfectly "square" to the window, to minimize reflection issues.

Look at your image on a good monitor. Check for color balance, exposure, and reflections.

If you run into reflections, there is a solution, though it's a bit of a PITA.

Setting large sections of black foamcore or pipe and drape in front of things that are reflecting will minimize them.


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Mark Suszko
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 23, 2010 at 4:55:28 pm

Casual viewers are very used to wide shots of offices with huge window views in the background, showing a detailed vista outside... and they don't consider what it really takes to pull that off. IF you can't gel or scrim the window from inside or out, then HMI's are the tool of choice.

Gel is easy to apply right to the glass using static cling or the suction of a slight water mist. You buy large wide rolls and trim it to fit into the mullions using razor blades. Or, you staple a frame together and hang that outside or inside.

You could always shoot a plate, then toss a green screen up behind the CEO guy and fix it in post. For more money.

Compositing in post can be done, but it is gambling to count on it as the primary technique, when you can just rent HMI's and do it live and be SURE you've got it.


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Todd Terry
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 23, 2010 at 5:04:38 pm

[Mark Suszko] "it is gambling to count on it as the primary technique, when you can just rent HMI's and do it live"

Yep, AND be able to truly monitor and know that what-you-see-is-what-you-get. AND be able to move the camera if needed or wanted... which for me is the deciding factor as to whether to do it practically or to composite it in post.

HMIs aren't scary, and not hard to use. They are actually my favorite lighting tool. I still remember when I moved from doing all-tungsten lighting to doing predominantly HMI daylight lighting. It was like a whole new visual world opened up for me, and so many previous restrictions were suddenly gone.

A setup like this could be done with as little as a single 1200w HMI and one 4x4 white bounce (if there is not a blazing-hot white sun-soaked building as the background view through the window). You might could even get away with just a 800w Joker-Bug... which is no bigger or heavier or more complicated than many tungsten instruments. I'd still net or gel the window though... even with something as simple and cheap as black screen-door hardware cloth (a 25' roll from the hardware store for less than 30 bucks).


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Morten Raarup
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 24, 2010 at 3:17:48 pm

I just did a shot like that whit a Dedolight 575 W HMI as keylight, a Kinoflo barfly 400 as fill and Barfly 200 as backlight. I was shooting whit a sonny see as background. The windows was a toned down a bit ( as many office buildings) and it balanced out just fine. Is was a very bright sonny day. But it is important to get the Kinoflos close to subject.

Morten Raarup
On Off Line
Copenhagen, Denmark

PDW-F800, AVID Symphony Nitris, FCP 7


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Craig Alan
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 27, 2010 at 7:25:11 pm

You might want to observe how much light is coming through the window at different times of the day and plan your shoot accordingly. Which direction is the window facing?

You might also show your client the difficulty of shooting into a light source. I’m sure the view they have in mind is the one they see, not the overexposed one that would result in proper exposure of your subject’s face.

Ask them if they are willing to spring for the rental of HMIs. Give them a real quote. You look professional and they understand what is involved in getting the look they want.

You might talk them into getting a shot(s) of the view, maybe even a P.O.V. shot(s) and then using the window light as a key or fill for much of the interview.

If the view is really so important to the message, then the audio of the interview might be used as a V.O. for parts of it. You could start the shot with the client silhouetted against a nicely exposed view out the window and then track the camera around to face the client so the window light acts as a fill or key.

I remember another thread here in which after posting jpegs of a room and windows, the pros here gave more specific advice.

My guess is the folks in charge of the building don’t want any damage to the wall or window. But gel won’t leave any. Particularly if you clean it up afterwards with some cleaner and a soft rag.


OSX 10.5.7; MAC Book PRO (EARLY 2008); Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30, Sony vx2000/PD170, Canon xl2; Pana, Sony, and Canon consumer cams; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Dennis Size
Re: interview infront of a window
on Jun 23, 2010 at 9:28:25 pm

What floor is your window on .... of how tall a building?




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