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Cody Walters
Lighting for talent looking into camera
on Aug 11, 2014 at 5:55:14 pm

I have a shoot coming up that calls for the talent to look into the camera. The video is a promo. I was curious if there is a general rule of thumb when it comes to which side to place the key when the talent is center framed looking into the camera. In this shoot, the talent is a female with shoulder-length hair. Would you place the key on a certain side relative to the parting of the hair, or does it not matter?

Cody Walters
Houston Video Production
Houston Wedding Videographer

Adobe Creative Cloud
Canon C100, 6D, 60D



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Rick Wise
Re: Lighting for talent looking into camera
on Aug 11, 2014 at 6:10:02 pm

Most faces are not fully symmetrical. In traditional Hollywood filmmaking, actors, especially female actors, always had or believed they had a "better side." In your situation, there are no formulas -- there never are. You will want to look at the face and decide which side you want to key from, as well as the look. Hard light or soft? How much fill? How much back light? How bright the background as well as its colors and what objects/walls/lamps appear back there, etc. The fun part is, figuring all this out (often in a very short period of time) is a constant challenge and learning experience.

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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john sharaf
Re: Lighting for talent looking into camera
on Aug 11, 2014 at 6:28:49 pm

HI Cody,

Looking into the camera - I often use a ring light to create a glamor look; either by itself with a strong centered backlight or as a fill to another key light high and to one side or the other to create modeling.

The thing that makes these shots work is one catch light in the eye; that's why I use a key raised high, so that it's not actually in the eye, only the ringlight (or fill light) is.

JS



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Todd Terry
Re: Lighting for talent looking into camera
on Aug 11, 2014 at 6:50:31 pm

Yeah ringlights are cool....

UNLESS unless your talent happens to be wearing glasses. We were hired to shoot a bunch of talent for news opens once where I intended to use it... and turned out almost every one of them wore glasses... which makes for weird zombie-like eye reflections.

As to the side you put your key... listen to John and Rick. Also, while you said your talent was looking dead into camera, you didn't mention the framing. Are they still framed dead center? If not, you would typically want to put your key on the side opposite their screen position. I.e., if your talent is on screen right, put your key to the left (on the talent's right).

T2

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



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Cody Walters
Re: Lighting for talent looking into camera
on Aug 11, 2014 at 8:25:15 pm

Thanks John, Rick and Todd for you insight. The ring light sounds great. I won't have one in time for the shoot, however I have a small LED that I may try as the eye light.

Todd, the talent will be centered in the frame. I'm thinking of shooting a medium shot shot in 1080. In the edit, I will cut in a 720 timeline to allow for a punch in when needed.

The tone of the video is somber, similar to a United Way promotional video. I was thinking of shooting on a white background and let the talent tell their story without the distraction of a background. I may play with the background lighting and try a circular gradient effect.

Cody Walters
Houston Video Production
Houston Wedding Videographer

Adobe Creative Cloud
Canon C100, 6D, 60D



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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting for talent looking into camera
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:00:04 pm

I hate when ring lights make people look like they have goat's eyes.


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