I've noticed that Frontline's interviews have a consistent "look." The light is well off-axis but extremely soft, indicating a very broad softlight. Despite the big source, they don't seem to have problems with reflections on eyeglasses. The backgrounds are moderately defocused with no tricky business like patterns on them. The key light is very nice, and I'm curious as to whether anybody here knows how they do it.
It reminds me of the lighting in The West Wing, which I've also been curious about. Anybody have some knowledge about these lighting plans?
I have a friend who shoots for Frontline. I've asked him to respond. Basically, his approach is to use a Lowell Light through a Chimera and then a layer of (I think) 1/2 Grid Cloth hanging from a stand a little in front of that. Super soft and it wraps nicely around the face. Put the camera back as far as you can the to throw the background out of focus and shoot wide open. There are little highlights place in the background based on composition. Hopefully my friend can shed a little more light.
very interesting. I wondered whether Frontline had a basic formula, because their look seems quite consistent.
What I like so much about it is that it reinforces the show's credibility. It's sort of "unlighting." It doesn't draw attention to itself, doesn't look "lit," and seems very straightforward. Of course it is anything BUT "unlit."
A Chimera plus a 1/2 grid! That would be super-soft.