In January I have to shoot some footage at CES in Las Vegas. The footage will mainly consist of shots of stands but I also have to shoot some short interviews at the show that are testimonials for a website.
We wont have our own section to shoot this footage and its very much going to be shot on the go and whenever its possible to grab the people we need.
we will be shooting using a Canon XHA1s but we have never shot at a tradeshow before and im not sure what kind of light to expect.
I know these shows are generally lit fairly well due to the stands but I need to know if I should buy a light for the camera? pretty sure its the VL10Li II light that fits the camera.
I would like to get the nicest footage possible without an actual lighting rig but I dont really want to have that horrible spotlight look you get on someones face when you use one of these lights.
Have an assistant carry a softbox, china ball, or LED lightpanel, running on battery power, and they can take up position off your shoulder. I recommend using at least a monopod for the camera, which will let you work in the aisles without blocking them too badly.
No assistant? Then attach a long arm to the camera to offset the camera light by a foot or two. If you have enough diffusion on it, it will work fine.
You might also consider having your correspondent/producer hold a small battery powered light. Doing that insures the light is coming "from the right direction."
Trade shows ARE well illuminated -- the problem is the light is all coming from the top (ceiling). You are right in planning to augment what's there. That way, you'll illuminate your subject's eye sockets. As Mark suggests tho, you'll want a natural look, with your supplemental light basically matching the level off the ambient light.
One other thing you should look into is audio. Trade shows are notoriously loud; you may want to hire an audio tech for the day. If there's no budget for this, I'd consider using a stick mic very close to your subject's mouth.
Another thing that everyone is leaving out is PERMISSION to shoot there.
Trade shows are private enterprise endeavors. The show promoter has the right to allow - or disallow - anyone to shoot their event. It's typically not complicated to contact the press office and get permission to videotape on the show floor - and the credentials you'll secure will make it less likely that someone will challenge you when you're leaving with YOUR camera gear - and the security team suspects that you might have picked it up at a manufacturer's display!