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Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?

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Caroline Scott
Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?
on Sep 30, 2015 at 9:22:37 am

I have just bought a Panasonic GH4 DSLR and need a light for the top of it.

I film a lot of talking head interviews in situations where the lighting is bad, and need the light to mount on top of the camera.

Would be great to be able to have a dimming dial to adjust the brightness too. Any suggestions?

It is for work so I don't have a budget but would be good to have a few options to choose from

If you have used any lights that you think you could recommend please write below. Much appreciated.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?
on Sep 30, 2015 at 2:21:19 pm

It's not always the best practice to put the light right on the camera.
Often a soft box just off to the side works better: you will get a more flattering "wrap-around", fewer bad looking hot spots, more control. And they are not hard to transport, set up or take down/move. They *are* generally tethered to an AC cord, but something battery powered can be rigged.

That said, there are dimmable LED lights that will fit your cold or hot shoe on the DSLR. Bescor is one option, there are others.

Not to get preachy, but your statement that "it's for work, so you have no budget," connotes a very backwards idea about costs and investment. If this is for work, for a "business", the cost should not be your problem, but rather passed through to the client/users. You can't stay in business if you don't bill for your tools. /end preaching mode/


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Todd Terry
Re: Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?
on Sep 30, 2015 at 2:55:12 pm

[Mark Suszko] "It's not always the best practice to put the light right on the camera."

I'll say that even more aggressively than Mark.

""It's almost always the worst practice to put the light right on the camera."

Especially for talking heads.

Don't at all know your situation, what this work is, your budget, or anything like that, so can't really give any specific advice... but Mark's observations are good ones.

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?
on Sep 30, 2015 at 3:21:09 pm

Well, a little "Obie" light on the hot shoe, just to put a twinkle in the eyes, can't hurt. But if it *has* to stay mounted to the DSLR, perhaps for religious reasons, take a battery-powered spot like the Frezzi's we use, and point it into a small bounce card, held by a flexible metal stalk, all pinned into that cold shoe. Wear a battery belt for the Frezzi. or use a Bescor with it's own lithium pack, but settle for short run times.

And bill the office for it.

And nothing's been said of audio. It doesn't just appear by magic.


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Caroline Scott
Re: Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?
on Sep 30, 2015 at 3:24:42 pm

Thanks for all your input. I'm liking the look of this Manfrotto light http://www.manfrotto.co.uk/maxima-84led-panel

I don't need anything too fancy, but this seems to do the job. I understand that it would be better to use a free standing light but we will be working in all sort of situations outside/inside in all conditions etc so best to get something quick to run and gun I think!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?
on Sep 30, 2015 at 3:48:23 pm

That Manfrotto is daylight (outdoor) color temp only. You may want to consider indoor correction gels for it, or picking a unit that can also deliver indoor color temp as needed.

At least consider adding a diffuser and a short arm to offset it by a foot or two.


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Bob Cole
Re: Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?
on Oct 5, 2015 at 1:05:34 pm

[Mark Suszko] "At least consider adding a diffuser and a short arm to offset it by a foot or two."

Great idea. If you have to be mobile and keep the light on the camera, you may want to visit your local professional-photographer store, and try to rig your video camera like a wedding photographer rigs her flash -- off to one side and above the eyeline/lens. Use one of those offset brackets that attach either to the baseplate or the hot shoe. It might be a bit ungainly but your advisors here are right about the look being much better with a little bit of offset.

One caution, though. I haven't actually tried what I just suggested, and if you are shooting handheld in an active situation, it may be a bit weird to have the offset light. If you are just trying for "fill" light, an on-camera light might actually be subtler and better.

I've used a light mounted right on top of the camera plenty of times (including yesterday) and it can work as a subtle fill. Yesterday I had to deal with a very "toppy" convention hall, and a little bit of on-camera light helped take the curse off some very hot noses. It also allows you to make the foreground person pop out of her environment, by using a diffused and filtered-warm on-camera light, and balancing for the background.

Try the wedding-photographer bracket and that little light you found.

Bob C


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?
on Oct 5, 2015 at 1:37:10 pm

I shoot with a GH4, and for run 'n' gun shooting I use this light with this diffuser.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Rick Wise
Re: Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?
on Oct 5, 2015 at 5:23:10 pm

The link to your diffuser doesn't work.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Best DSLR light for talking head interviews?
on Oct 5, 2015 at 5:30:31 pm

[Rick Wise] "The link to your diffuser doesn't work."

Let me try it again: https://airboxlights.com/product/airbox-macro-velvet-softbox-only/

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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