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Filming Interviews Over Several Days (and sub Q on Kino Flo lights)

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Mark Davies
Filming Interviews Over Several Days (and sub Q on Kino Flo lights)
on Jul 11, 2010 at 9:01:28 am

Hi all,

I was hoping that I would be able to draw upon your advice please:

I am going to be filming people in their homes with some very in-depth interviews that will be conducted over 2 or 3 days - probably broken down into 2 or 3 sessions per day.

Unfortunately I will not be able to leave my gear set up due to the locations being residential and in use.

I'm left with the problem of continuity between shots - and as I see it I have 2 core choices.

1: I structure the interviews quite heavily in such a way that I don't need to cut from (for example) day 1 to day 3 and be faced with glaring shifts in camera position and lighting etc.

2: For each new day's work, I set up in a completely different location (which could be limited given the size of people's homes.

I'm guessing that given option number 1 - it is really a case of my skill as an interviewer and/or bringing in photographs or other footage with the source audio to hide shifts

Ideally, what I would like to do is to be able to have EXACTLY the same set up each time to enable greater scope for editing etc. I'm just not sure how realistic this is? I am aware of issues such as people wearing the same clothes etc - even down to the small aspects of earrings etc.

My set up will be a tripod mount, 1 x Kinoflo diva 400, a reflector, and possibly (hopefully!) a back light.

Actually, I'm aware that it's a bit off topic, but whilst I'm on the subject of lighting, would a Diva 400 be too much for interviews in people's homes? I did wonder about getting a couple of Barfly instead, and using one of those as a backlight? I'm kind of new to lighting so any advice would be great on this too

If anyone has any advice on how to approach these problem, I'd be very grateful indeed!

Many thanks,

Mark




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Hunter Mossman
Re: Filming Interviews Over Several Days (and sub Q on Kino Flo lights)
on Jul 11, 2010 at 8:53:51 pm

First I'd say if you want to match interviews closely over multiple days there's a couple things you can do.

-Once you've dialed the lighting in to where you like it spike the stands of all your lights as well as the camera and chairs position. Take out a notebook and right down all your camera settings including F-stop White balance, focal length etc.As well as all your lighting info. Spot/flood, dimmer levels, gels/diffusion used etc. Get everything as close to the same each day.

-Obviously have the people where the same clothes and hair style etc, take a couple stills of them to help match each day.

-Finally I would very the shots a little to change the framing each day multiple times. Get some answers in a Medium some in a loose Close up etc. making it harder to decipher between which day was which.

-In the end I wouldn't worry too much about it. If your getting good content and telling a good story no one should notice a thing.

Finally the diva is dim-able and can be diffused and cut down in many ways. It's in no way "too much" in my opinion.

Hunter Mossman
Director of Photography
http://www.huntermossman.com


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Mark Davies
Re: Filming Interviews Over Several Days (and sub Q on Kino Flo lights)
on Jul 11, 2010 at 9:34:26 pm

Thanks for taking the time for the advice there Hunter - most appreciated!

Being rigorous with the details I write down at the end of the day is a very useful point to me. I'd planned on doing some notes but not as extensive as you'd mentioned - so I'll certainly do all you've advised.

Also, your point on changing the framing is something I'd not thought about - but can totally see what you mean now. I know some might roll their eyes at me, but I'm filming solo on a Panny GH1 and they are hard to zoom during filming because the action is kind of tight - but I think changing it in between questions would be a really good idea.

I'm a bit neurotic about production values and the slightest error always sticks out like a sore thumb to me - sometimes to the point where I'd rather not use the footage! I guess I need to get over it a bit lol!

Anyway, your advice is a big help in me getting it right - so thanks again :0)


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Hunter Mossman
Re: Filming Interviews Over Several Days (and sub Q on Kino Flo lights)
on Jul 12, 2010 at 6:29:29 am

Happy to be of some help! Good luck to you!

Hunter Mossman
Director of Photography
http://www.huntermossman.com


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Filming Interviews Over Several Days (and sub Q on Kino Flo lights)
on Jul 12, 2010 at 1:27:29 pm

My biggest concern would be ambient lighting. Over the course of the day, let alone several days, the lighting in the rooms will change drastically by the sun's movement. Can you shoot in rooms without windows or at least rooms without windows in the shot? Any natural light coming in can be blocked with Duvetyne or even black landscape plastic or trash bags. Another option would be to shoot at night. You can easily create the illusion of a window with a grid casting a shadow. Hunter is right on about taking lots of notes and still photos for reference too. And the story is what it's all about as he mentioned - engaging content is king. If you notice on any show like 48hours, 20/20, etc, you see changed outfits all the time because follow-up interviews may be weeks or months later as new questions and insights are developed. It's not about the clothes, but the content.

Steve






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Mark Davies
Re: Filming Interviews Over Several Days (and sub Q on Kino Flo lights)
on Jul 13, 2010 at 7:24:29 pm

Thanks for the advice there Steve. The ambient light change is something I've witnessed myself on a trial run I did the other day - I did quick pass through on my footage using the scrubber bar in FCP and couldn't believe the changes that were going on with the lighting - even with the (admittedly very thin) curtains shut. Lighting is a whole new world to me, so I'm learning the ropes via John Jackman's helpful book.

I'd never thought of completely blocking the light out because I'd naively presumed that the shop-bought chinese lanterns would have compensated. A full black out does seem like the best option though - especially as I won't be able to film at night.

One of the saving graces of the project though, is that I am using a lot of stills to illustrate the narratives from participants - and these are great for hiding cuts, and and reducing the sudden impact of light changes.

Thanks again for the advice!

Mark


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Filming Interviews Over Several Days (and sub Q on Kino Flo lights)
on Jul 13, 2010 at 8:04:50 pm

Not that you want to add a ton of time to post, but what about getting really great still images of the rooms and shooting green screen? Then you could shoot in a controlled space, leave your setup and not worry about the lighting at all? (so to speak)

Shoot the still crisp and clear and then in Pshop add varying amounts of blur to create depth of field. Zoom in on them as necessary to match your focal length. Don't blur in your timeline that'll take forever to render.



Steve






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