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Lighting a spoke person in a conf room

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xavier pilsudksi
Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 15, 2014 at 10:04:18 pm

The shoot will take place in a conference room 40x30.
10pple around a table BUT I will only have to shoot the speaker.
He will be mainly sitting (but he might get up who knows..)
The room has windows on one side. Good natural light.
Should I light the spoke person and if so what do you guys recommend?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 16, 2014 at 5:46:55 pm

I usually try to eliminate all daylight from the room, kill the (usually fluorescent) room lights, and light exclusively with my tungsten kit. You don't generally want to mix 2 or more color temps in the shots.

Another way to go is to match the daylight with an HMI light, but HMI's are expensive, hot, and pull a lot of power. Tungstens or LED's can be gelled to daylight color temp but this drastically reduces their overall range and effectiveness.


At the very least, shade the windows in the half of the room where the speaker will be. Then add fill lighting from the side opposite the windows. one trick you might ty is to shoot a strong light into the ceiling as a bounce which will raise the overall level without casting shadows.

Right about now, 600 dollars for an HMI or advanced light kit sounds pretty good, doesn't it.... :-)


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 17, 2014 at 2:38:29 pm

Thanks a lot!

Great info.
I need to read it a few times to digest it.
I might be able to get a pict of the room actually


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 19, 2014 at 4:15:37 pm

Hey Mark

I won't be able to kill all daylight coming into the room.
I think my best option is what you suggested: blocking the portion of the windows near the speaker.

I found a place to rent: what do you think of this and which one would you pick, considering that I worked on shoots but I never actually set up lights myself. (I won't have time to rehearse and I don't want to look as an amateur if the set up is to complicated or unsafe)

Thanks!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 19, 2014 at 6:32:22 pm

Um... pictures/


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 19, 2014 at 6:37:45 pm

not sure if it worked.....
And thanks for helping!


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 19, 2014 at 6:38:37 pm



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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 20, 2014 at 10:41:43 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on May 20, 2014 at 10:45:19 pm

Suggestions:

1. Have the meeting at night.

2. Pray for an overcast day.

That is a terrible room - are you sure there's no better alternative?

Hopefully, you're shooting from the spot where we see that tripod, so the TV is not behind the main speaker? What does the opposite, unseen side of the room look like?

What time is the meeting, and what will the sun position be at that time? If those windows are facing west, an early- morning meeting might not be that bad. Conversely, if they are East windows, have the meeting after 1 PM.

You will be fighting that sunlight quite a bit, and if the meeting is long, you're fighting the changing angle of the light as well. The sun, blasting in like that, is going to over-light the side of the speaker's face, and the camera will under-expose the opposite side to try to compensate.

If the budget is low, I would use a milky, translucent vinyl, like shower curtain material, or translucent paper, applied to the glass with clear tape near the ceiling, to diffuse the light. If you only did that one thing, the diffused light would light the entire room and bounce around enough that most shadows would be eliminated. Failing that, I might place a reflecting board on the side of the speaker opposite the window, to balance-out the daylight and add fill.

If you can't treat the windows at all, either by curtaining them off or diffusing them. then you need an instrument to fill in on the non-sunlit side, and it needs to match the color temperature of the daylight blasting in. A portable whiteboard or an easel with a white fox core board might help, in a pinch.


So, what gear is available to you from the rental shop?


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 20, 2014 at 11:30:37 pm

Hey Mark thanks a lot for taking the time to help. I can tell by your answers that you know what you are talking about.

"1. Have the meeting at night" I have no control over the schedule

That is a terrible room - are you sure there's no better alternative?Good idea. Exploring

Hopefully, you're shooting from the spot where we see that tripod, so the TV is not behind the main speaker? Actually I'll be shooting from where the picture was taken, so TV right behind the speaker.... What issue do you forsee?

What time is the meeting, and what will the sun position be at that time? If those windows are facing west, an early- morning meeting might not be that bad. facing west.... bad....

if the meeting is long, 1-5pm

The sun, blasting in like that, is going to over-light the side of the speaker's face, and the camera will under-expose the opposite side to try to compensate. yeah.... been thinking about this a lot....

If the budget is low, Right again!! :-)
I would use a milky, translucent vinyl, I actually had thought about using kitchen wax paper since I can't find diffuser sheets/rolls... I like the shower curtain idea but I'm afraid it'll look "cheap".

Failing that, I might place a reflecting board on the side of the speaker opposite the window, to balance-out the daylight and add fill. I was actually thinking of diffusing the light like mentioned above AND bounce what comes in from the other side... But now that you wrote this I understand there might not be much to bounce if I diffuse the natural light...
I was also thinking of adding a light: so the diffuse window light would serve as a fill and on the other side i'd have the key light....
What do you think?


If you can't treat the windows at all, either by curtaining them off or diffusing them. then you need an instrument to fill in on the non-sunlit side, and it needs to match the color temperature of the daylight blasting in. A portable whiteboard or an easel with a white fox core board might help, in a pinch.

I have a deflector that i'll try to use as well...

So based on what you said, my plan is to diffuse the light coming from the window and use a key light on the other side with either an artificial light or with a bouncer....

So, what gear is available to you from the rental shop? Rental shops overwhelm me becasue they pretty much have whatever i need... except that I don't know what to ask for other than.... "lights"....


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 21, 2014 at 12:11:50 am

The TV screen and table behind the speaker are distracting visual "junk". Moreover, the TV is a reflective surface that can add distracting glares or reflections. Again, what is the other end of the room like? Give me a picture or a sketch.

As to diffusion on the windows looking"cheap", well, it may, to people in the room. But if your camera shot is tight on just the speaker, without getting those windows in the shot, that shot is all that really "matters". Many times in my career, I have had clients come on the "set" looking very skeptical, especially when some of the grip gear looks thrown-together... until I show them what the camera actually "sees" thru a monitor. Then they all light up with recognition. Results matter.

So, ask yourself: who do I have to impress, here? the viewer and the boss. Whatever is framed-out, ceases to exist int he world inside the lens. Make the boss look good on camera, and everything else doesn't matter.


Be honest now and tell me what your available budget is for renting any extra gear. And, do you have a good lavaliere microphone to pin on the Big Guy, or were you going to put a "stick" mic or boundary mic on the table top in front of him? Because a shotgun mic on the camera is a non-starter for this. Tell me what you can afford, and I'll suggest whatI would rent.


The sunlight thru the window is you "key light": it's too strong to be anything else. So you're looking for a bounce or dedicated instrument to apply a "fill" light to the side of the face and body, opposite of the window side.


As to the diffusion material, check the vinyl section in any large cloth/sewing supplies store. If vinyl isn't there, look at the cost for some white organza, by the yard.


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 21, 2014 at 12:53:12 am

I got what you're saying about the "look" of some equipment...
As for the TV I've asked if it could be moved.
Regarding the budget, here's my "dilemma".
I am positive that they will hire me again for other jobs so renting "bothers" me for a few reasons:
1- I'd rather spend money to own the kit
2- I need to "rehearse": I don't want to show up on set having never used the lights.
3- I'd like to be able to practice in my home studio with lighting.
The question is: do you think $200 lighting kits I find on amazon do a decent job at lighting?
http://www.amazon.com/Fancierstudio-Digital-Continuous-Softbox-Lighting/dp/...
http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-Photography-Portrait-Continuous-Umbrella...

Or if you have any recommendations that'd be great.

As far as budget if it's too rent I have $150 or so for 2 days....
BUt that's eating away my profit since I've been investing a lot on this shoot.
Hence the reason why I'd like to own vs. renting.

I can't get a picture of the other side of the room since I won't be there until Friday for a location scout type of visit.
But I know they won't let me switch around since the TV is used to show PP presentations. (which I will get from the speaker to add in my edits).

Audio wise I hired a sound guy: lav. mic and boom. I didn't want to have to worry about this since audio is the Most important thing to me in this type of shoot or any with audio for that matter.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 21, 2014 at 1:03:37 am
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on May 21, 2014 at 1:14:32 am

The umbrella is too "fussy" for that tiny space, but I like the idea of using the other soft light as the "fill" in the room. If you can rent one of those, or buy one, with daylight-color-temp bulbs in it, it might be all you need. While it comes with a stand, in that tiny room, if the ceiling is a typical drop-ceiling with tiles suspended from a metal grid, you could buy or rent a "scissor clip" device to hang the softlight from overhead, and run the power cable across the ceiling and down the wall, enabling the floor around that table to be kept clear.

If the rental place has any Lowel lighting gear, you want to rent either a small Rifalight, or a single Lowel Omni-Light, with stand and a scissor clip, or a wall mount, with a folding gel frame and some diffusion (either some tough spun or opal tough frost), plus a square of daylight-correction gel.


Rental gear must NOT come out of your end: you pass it on to the client as part of the cost of business. This is fundamental. See; you're charging them for the light, whether you own it, or not. Same for the audio guy with boom. These are costs you pass on, and this is why pro video costs more than it does when some kid uses the camera he got for his bar mitzva present and edits in his mom's basement.


I'm confused by your statement about the TV. In the photo you show a flatscreen right behind the chair where the Big Guy is going to do his thing. So, is this going to be showing power points while he talks? If so, it's right behind his head: you'd have to move the TV over to one side, or move him, and re-frame the shot so they share co-equal space. Really, I would advise a beginner against trying to shoot the power points AND the speaker, with limited gear and experience. The thing to do in that case, is to isolate the speaker only, and add back the slides during post-production, when you can alternate between full-screen shots of the slides, or just the speaker, or a nice 2-box setup of speaker AND slides.

The optimal backdrop for your speaker is blankness. A bare wall, or a flat curtain. Even a roll of photographer's paper, suspended from a pipe on light stands, is better than having distracting junk behind his head and only a foot or two behind, where it will likely always be in focus.

As for practice, I recommend you go to this site and run thru all the relevant examples before shoot day.

http://lowel.com/edu/





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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 21, 2014 at 1:31:56 am

sorry I wasn't clear about the TV. I was trying to explain exactly what you just wrote. I guess I am starting to get it right :-)
as far as lighting, I'm not too clear on how you feel about my purchase/investment.
(I understood the rental advice. Makes sense)
Any of these low cost kits (except the umbrella one) would work to the shoot?
I called a few rental places and it'll cost me around $200 to rent....

And thanks for the awesome ling to Lowell.
I have my evening planned i guess :-)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 21, 2014 at 3:30:12 am

You can make the one with the umbrella work, too, and it actually is more flexible for more different uses in the hands of an expert, but it takes more skill than you have right now. The other one, the softbox, is pretty goof-proof, and fast to deploy. It will be useful for any future interview shoots you do, as well as for shooting small product shots. Those two were the only ons you showed me.

If your rental shop has a softbox like that, you could rent it one time. Or you could instead rent the Lowel Omni light with the other accessories... I would consider 50 bucks a fair rental for one day for that. For a 3- light Lowel kit complete with accessories, hundred seems a fair rental price to me. But you only need one light for this job, either the soft box, with a way to hang it from the ceiling, is possible, or the single Lowel with some diffusion and color gel on it.


For ether light, mount it on the non-window side and put it at a 45 degree angle above the subject and at 45 degrees to the left, opposite the window side, from a centerline down the table, as a starting point. Then adjust to taste. Proper distance to subject starts at about twice the diameter across the front of the soft box.

It doesn't strictly have to be "Lowel" brand, though I'm the COW's official number one fan club for Lowel products... Study well that site I showed you, it contains a brief synopsis of everything you need to start lighting right, plus, the sections on how to use the various Lowel accessories will inspire your creativity. I think of the Lowel suitcase as the James Bond Suitcase" of lighting. Full of clever tricks.


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 21, 2014 at 4:31:50 am

alright Mike
Based on our conversations I decided to purchase a kit for $170.
The best rental I found was $150, which let me no time to practice.
For an extra $20 I have something I use for the shoot and then play with to learn.
I'll also spend time reading the Lowel classes.
And you sold me on this brand for some reasons so as soon as I get more shoots booked, I'll hit you up for more advices.
Thanks again for the time you spent on this. You really took the time to be specific and to answer my questions based on my needs/budget and not only on what I "should" do for a perfect shoot. Too many people trying to help by contributing to threads often forget that we don't all have $5000 hanging around!

Thanks

Xavier (I'll send you a link once I'm done with the shoot and editing!)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 23, 2014 at 1:04:54 am

I don't know who "Mike" is but thanks, and I DO want a full report with still frame grabs of how you tackled this. That is a really hard choice of room to light well, any pro would have to work at getting it right. Take a still shot of the entire room with the lighting gear and camera all set up, so we can see how you did it.


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 23, 2014 at 1:38:22 am

are you sure you're not Mike Suzsko? :-) Sorry about that!

I actually have another alternative in this room. Instead of the speaker in front of the TV with the windows on her left, she could be sitting camera left (based on the original pict posted), facing the windows...

Do you feel like it would help?

And by the way I bought shower curtains as you recommended.
BUt in this new setting this means I'd have to control the light on pretty much all windows. Which could be ok as these curtains are cheap.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 23, 2014 at 5:15:55 am
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on May 23, 2014 at 5:59:27 am

That could work better, though you won't have much depth in the space, so your widest shot will not be very wide at all. But it does simplify the lighting a little bit, in that the key light from the windows is not behind the camera.

If you put a diffusion material, like white shower curtain material, on the windows, the softer, shadowless, flat light created will be flattering on the boss's face. Soft, flat lighting flatters everyone, as it hides wrinkles and evens-out skin tone a bit.

A down-side is that she may be squinting a bit as she tries to look into the camera with the light right behind it. And if she wears glasses, they may pick up some glare. So what I think I would do is pull the blackout curtain down directly behind the camera, and then the soft, diffused window light coming in from the areas to either side, should fill in pretty well. If this session goes many hours, you'll still need to add in the softlight you bought, to supplement things as the lighting moves around the room. And you'll want to manually control the iris, making gradual adjustments thru the day. If there's a TV in the shot and you light this way, you may need to tilt it downwards and/or angle it to one side a lot, to prevent reflections.

You might also play with blocking the side lights by varying amounts, in order to have a slight brightness difference from one side of her face to the other, simulating keylight and fill light - but really it's all from one big source, cleverly modulated.

Think about some kind of flat, non-reflective backdrop on the glass(?) wall on that side, if you choose to turn the whole room 90 degrees as you suggest. You will want something relatively featureless, and dark, but not black. Matte fat photography paper rolls come in many shades, but I find a dove gray to be very versatile, because it can appear to be anything from nearly black to nearly white, and any color, depending on how you light it. A 50-foot roll is around 60 or bucks in my neck of the woods. You could also go with simple cloth from a sewing store, hung from a 2x4 clamped to two light stands.

One thing our shop has had for a long time is a roll-up photo-realistic backdrop of a law office bookshelf. We got ours from Denney's online, comes in various widths. If you have a deep enough space to work in so that you can use depth of field to put that backdrop in soft focus, and you light your talent to match the same angles as the backdrop, the illusion becomes very convincing. In this way we have turned very ugly rooms and conference rooms into nice-looking "sets".

One other trick I've used on a budget is to buy a single panel of 4x8 wall paneling, which is quite affordable, if ungainly to transport. A single panel is good enough as a background for a single speaker. If you pick a suitable pattern, you can turn the panel on its side and now you have room for two people in tight shots side-by side, like news anchors, or a single person in a head and shoulders shot, plus a large graphics space off to one side, if you frame things tightly.

Spend another $20 on some single rolls of wallpaper, and you can turn that wallboard around and use the back side as two different wallpaper backdrops, top or bottom. I once did a training video with this trick and the wall panel was the "set" for three distinct locations: A brick wall exterior, a kitchen telephone nook, and (flipped over) an office receptionist location. These were all close-ups, so I didn't need a LOT of wall, just enough, framed properly, to suggest the location. A clock, some picture frames, and a thrift store wall sculpture, attached with screws or magnets, helped "sell" each location as real. Think creatively about what is INSIDE your frame, and never mind the rest because outside the frame exists nothing but what you've suggested to the audience they think should be there.



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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 24, 2014 at 4:23:46 pm

Hi Mark
I love your ideas about the backdrop!!
I just need to invest now in some c-stands or strong light stands.... BUt i want to explore this idea.

with the new set up, i have a new challenge: since the TV will now be 90 on the left of the speaker, I need to find a way to go from her to the tv when she shows slides... Originally i thought i'd just get the PP presentation (which I'll still do) and insert in post but realized that it would make myself crazy trying to time it right. I'd need a visual reference to know what slide she's showing as she speaks.
All this to say that I realize now that I'll need to go to the TV when she's show slides.... SO the camera will have to travel 90degres, which I don't like...

Great idea too as far as the rolling down the curtains right in front of the speaker


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 24, 2014 at 4:56:29 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on May 24, 2014 at 5:01:01 pm

This is how you frame your speaker in this case:



Do not try to capture the slides off the TV at all, insert them in that masked-off area in the editing phase.

As to getting the timing of the slides, several observations:

You can figure out 95 percent of the slides by just listening to the track and following along in a script. It really isn't that hard. You're going to alternate between a centered-up shot of just the speaker, a 2-shot of speaker and slide, and a full-screen shot of just the slide. A big mistake, in terms of effective communication, is to have the slide and speaker in that 2-shot the entire time. If anything, What you want is just the speaker's face and body most of the time, and the slides come in only to underline a point or introduce the new point. If they are both up the whole time, it robs audience attention from the speaker and what they are saying, and it bores the viewer unless the text is always changing.

What I would be doing in this job if it were me, is smoothly panning back and forth from a centered single shot to a shot where the presenter is offset and there is room to add an on-screen graphics slide box. When I do these jobs, I shoot with two locked-down cameras side by side, one for a centered closeup, and one for a wider shot that allows for graphics. If I shoot against a very plain backdrop or green screen, I can turn a single-camera medium shot original footage into my choice of centered, side, and closeup, in post.

As far as tricks to getting a synched copy of the slides to go with your capture of the presenter. #1 is, any dirt-cheap home movie camera is going to be good enough to give you a "Scratch track" of the slides with the audio. Pawn shop used units or "flip cams" from a drugstore will be good enough for this, and in the realm of fifty dollars or so.

#2 is, if you really can't beg, borrow, or steal even a home movie camcorder, if you start the slide show in "rehearse timing" or "record slideshow"mode, and do the presentation, you then have a perfectly timed version of these slides you can save and play back or export as a movie file. You then export the recording as a self-contained quicktime MOV, drop this into your editing software, and either use it as-is or as a scratch track for exact placement of the slides, in time with the original presentation. A variation of # 2 is to use two laptops running the same slides, and you put YOURS in "rehearse timings" mode, then tap the space bar to advance as the speaker advances their slides, generating your own "scratch track" in real time.


Trick #3 would be to put a small mirror in the bottom of your frame, angled so that it will see the TV screen 90 degrees off. You shoot so that you can crop that out in post, but it puts a tiny reference image of the slides in the same shot as the camera.

(ADDED)

Where the presenter looks is very important. You want them looking into the camera as much as possible, or at least, close to the lens. If the laptop in front of them is on the table, their eyes will spend too much time looking down. Placing their laptop screen near and just below your lens will help. Putting up the slides using a real teleprompter screen is even better, but not in your current budget. That TV on the wall uses a VESA mount, so it *could* be taken down and moved to be on stand of some kind, next to the speaker, or next to your lens, for a better eye line for the talent to use. Extra VESA mounts are cheap from outfits like Monoprice.com


Capturing off the TV screen directly isn't just gauche from a broadcast professional point of view; it's the wrong priority when capturing a presenter, because you can always get a better copy of the slides later. BUT. You can't get the presenter to come back and do everything they did, exactly the same way, ever. Focus the recording on that person as the priority, with perfect audio, and worry about fixing the slides later.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 24, 2014 at 5:13:14 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on May 24, 2014 at 5:21:57 pm

Another way to show the 2-shot is a diptych arrangement:


That's a crude sketch of one, you can get it really fancy with shadows or reflection treatments and a better backdrop, but the point of this one is, it takes a single-camera shot of the speaker and puts it into a composition with the slides that fits the slides in at a readable scale. I just call these a "2-box", but they come in great numbers of variations.

If you're not handy creating this effect in the NLE, you can find free templates for making these online using MOTION or AfterEffects or whatever. if you spend an hour perfecting the setup, you can save and re-apply it over and over in seconds for all future such work. It doesn't require time-consuming or finicky chromakeying, either.


Something helpful in post I forgot to mention is, shoot a "plate" shot of the empty set without the talent in it, either just before or immediately after they finish, and don't change the camera until you have several seconds of that empty shot. Then shoot another couple of seconds of the shot, super-wide. These shots can be brought into photoshop and turned into static backdrops to help you re-position the speaker and slides in an emergency. Be sure to record audio "room tone" during this scene as well, which can help you fix audio problems later.


I just used this myself on a job like yours, last week. The shot included a large fixed desk, like your room does, and it had a lot of distracting junk on it, from the image projector handling the slides, with many ugly cables, to random items like plates and boxes of donuts in the frame. After the shoot, before I tore anything down, I shot more and wider shots of that desk in the room from the identical angle, though this time with the junk cleared off. Five minutes of photoshop and a distort tool in my timeline later, the entire video features a clean and clutter-free foreground. :-)


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 25, 2014 at 4:18:57 pm

I like everything you say! So helpful.
With all this info I am really starting to see what I am going to do. It gives me options and it makes me think about things I wouldn't have until I would have been faced with them.
I actually do have a flip camera that i never used and been trying to sell! I knew I was meant to keep it ... and use it.
I need to see if it goes to a sleep mode or if i can just press record since it won't be on the whole time (4 hrs is too long).
I also thought of keeping a log on a pad to write the time when the speaker goes to the slides but also to mark pauses, and things like this so I can find them easily in post. I'll have at least 8 hours of video and I don't want to have to go through the whole footage to find these moments I'd have to get rid of.

As far as framing I think I'll stick with the Medium shot because even though I love the idea of creating space on the right, I won't know when to widen the shot. I'd rather keep things simple/clean/under control for now.

Good point regarding the eye line and the laptop... I need to talk about this with the client.

Creatively: Even though the client "bought" a one-camera shoot, I was thinking I should bring my DSLR as second camera so I could enhance the presentation with B roll shots in post and give my client "more" than he purchased to kindda do a great job since it's my 1st one...
I don't want to do a whole A-cam B-cam. The DSLR limitations in recording time would make it a nightmare in post. And also the footage looks deifferent between my DSLR and the A cam - HMC40.
But how do you think I could use the b-cam?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 25, 2014 at 5:29:48 pm

Sounds like you're more confident now; that's good. You know, there's nothing stopping you from setting up a mock version of this in your living room or kitchen, and having some no-stakes practice to get a feel for how it will go.

You mentioned logging the timing of the slides as another simple option, and that should work fine.

A common trick we use for note taking when shooting news events is to set the time code on the camera to 'time of day", and "free-run". This means that whether you run or stop the camera, the time code generator stays running, keeping synchronized time with your wristwatch. How we use that in news is when the reporter is at a distance from his or her shooter, and they hear a good sound bite they know they will use later, they can glance at their own wristwatch and jot down that time and just the firstt hree words and last three words of the sound bite, and it will closely match the time code of the shot. "Say, Bob, I need the quite the Senator makes that begins at about two-forty-seven and a half, he starts by saying After re-evaluation of the issue". That frees the reporter up to wander independently of his shooter and still be able to log things on the fly.

So, you can use that same system when logging the slide changes on a note pad, even when you're not handling the camera because it's locked-down.

4 hours of just a medium shot could be pretty boring to shoot, but even more boring to force someone to WATCH. Hopefully, the actual program material is quite a bit less than that.

Meanwhile, it's easy to quickly, manually re-frame a tighter or looser shot in the several seconds a person takes to catch their breath or pause for emphasis. You can practice doing this very easily by recording a friend or relative as they tell an involved anecdote. You listen for the pauses, then make the framing change with a snap-zoom. People speak in paragraphs when telling a story, teach yourself to listen for the "summing-up" tone of voice change, that's your cue to zoom in or out during their taking a breath. Then you go back into the tape and cut the 5-10 bad frames out, and see how much better the thing flows. it looks a hundred times better than slow zooming in and out all the time, an effect derisively referred to as "tromboning", like a slide- trombone player.


Slow pans at a fixed distance are really much easier than zooming in and out, and you can always cover the move by cutting away to a full-screen of the slide until the new framing is established. Then you can pop to the 2-shot or diptych. You go back to the full-screen graphic to cover re-establishing the centered medium shot, but every once in a while, try a slow online pan instead; you'll get the hang of it. Particularly if you practice it at home.

I described this technique briefly before, but will expand on it, since you're reticent about pointing the camera manually and panning back and forth, if you keep it slightly wider than you need, you can go back in post and scale the shot up about 25 percent without getting too soft, to create occasional close-ups that will always have perfect timing, without needing a second dedicated camera. That scale-up also lets you pan the shot over to create graphics space on the side. This works better when the original footage is of much greater resolution than the master. For example, shooting HD enables you to do this trick in a Standard-def master and get away with it pretty well. Shooting 2K or 4k and posting to an HD timeline also lets you fool folks into thinking you have multiple cameras, if you shoot much wider than needed and then re-frame in post. if you plan on trying this, be sure to shoot a wide safety "plate" shot of the location without the speaker in the shot, so you can create simple, invisible extensions of the background as needed.


Since you're nervous, probably commit to creating the "2-box" or "diptych" effect with your medium shot in one box and the slides in the other, as part of the variety of shots you present. Not hard to create at all. The background of such a 2-box is a good place to emboss a subtle graphic of the show title or company name, that kind of thing. It becomes a kind of "wallpaper" behind the 2-box, conveying things like general chapter information, or just the logo/corporate identity.




Your DSLR won't be able to record 4 hours non-stop, unless it's pretty advanced or connected to a laptop running Adobe's capture program... Probably use it to shoot major intro and ending segments as the "b" camera, on a wide shot. With a short 1/4 inch threaded metal bolt in the main camera's cold shoe, you can attach the DSLR to the main camera so both lenses are always aligned and nearly co-axial. This trick works great with a Go-Pro, or the cheaper imitation go-pros, BTW, and the wide view of the go-pro is suited to being re-framed and positioned in post, plus, they can run a long time with the right battery and cards.


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 28, 2014 at 7:02:55 am

Just read again all the wonderful stuff you took the time to write.
Thanks again and wish me good luck: shoot this wednesday and thursday!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 28, 2014 at 12:16:01 pm



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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 28, 2014 at 2:20:58 pm

LOL!! Thx!!!


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 29, 2014 at 3:24:55 am



Day1 over.
Screenshot, no color correction.
The room was in full sun. BG was originally white but I improvised what I consider a decent backdrop.
It was so hot that the speaker was sweating.... shining.
No make up artist..... 4 hour meeting so no way to stop.

what do you think Doctor?
:-)
Day 2 tomorrow... I could use any tip!!!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 29, 2014 at 4:42:40 am

I've seen worse, especially first attempts. What does the client think so far?

A pan powder stick can reduce shine. Or keep a box of sturdy tissues nearby to blot or reduce shine.


I hope the eye line isn't on her screen the whole time... did you try moving it nearer to your lens? It would be best to keep the laptop out of shot.

So, how much of this is the sunlight alone, and how much is from your lights or reflector?


Take a wide shot with a still or phone cam tomorrow, so we can see the entire setup.


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 29, 2014 at 4:50:31 am

You've seen worse?... :-) well... I was expecting better.... I thought it looked nice!!! :-)
What would improve the shot do you think?
I can not control the laptop.
I worked on the bottle of water all day so it's not on the shots.. but it is very often.

I pulled down the black curtains to control the sunlight as much as possible.
No room for hairlight.
The key and fill light are against the wall.

The client is happy because it's only for internal use and they were going to do it themselves with a regular camera and no audio recording device.
BUt keep being hard on me!!! The day I'll read "great" I'll know it IS great :-)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 29, 2014 at 5:07:39 am
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on May 29, 2014 at 5:11:00 am

"It's only for internal use" is always a lie. They just believe it at the time they say it. Purposely or not, everything gets out eventually.

Find a box or something that's lower than the table, then put the water bottle on that, below the table level.

I know your setup doesn't allow more distance between her and the background, but that would help. Still, the background looks good, best of all it isn't distracting. Certainly better that what you started with in the bare room. When you make the 2-box effect, you can color-sample the scene to drive your colors for the backdrop and box frames, making everything look unified.

You might back the lights off her a just a *little* bit, a foot or so, and/or add a wee bit more diffusion, to help with those hot spots. Clothes dryer sheets can be used to blot oily skin to reduce shine. Keep looking at the Lowel tutorials to help guide your sense of placement for the lights.

You should be sure to take a short still shot of her in the frame, without the lighting turned on. Later, when they ask about why it matters to do all this extra effort, you can point to before/after pics to make your point. One version looks amateur. The other, fully-lit version projects professionalism.


I think it already looks much more professional than what they probably expected.

How is the audio: clear, I hope? I don't see a lav mic, so what kind of mic did you use and where did you place it? Tell me you're not depending on the camera-mounted shotgun as main audio. I will be sad if you did that. You are allowed to make poor pictures as long as the sound is rock-solid and clear. If the sound is poor, nothing else can save you.


Good luck, post more wide shots of the room!


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 29, 2014 at 2:54:20 pm

I understand what you're saying as far as "it's only for internal use".... I'll keep that in mind.

Good idea for the bottle of water and I"ll see what I can do for the sweaty fronthead.
I also love the idea of the "here it is w/lights and sound".... and here it is after you paid me". Great great idea!!

I hired a pro for the sound. unfortunately we had to have a fan on since the AC wasn't working and the room was exposed west....
I know too well the importance of sound vs. visual (I'm a an editor in a network so if I never shot before at least I've dealing with footage, great footage.... and bad audio = bad cut)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 29, 2014 at 3:20:00 pm

Then be sure to get enough good "room tone" recorded, and you'll be able to dial out most of it in post with a noise reduction plug-in or a narrow EQ notch filter.


Very interested in seeing the stills behind the scenes of the final setup.


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 30, 2014 at 3:16:21 am
Last Edited By Olivier Prudhomme on May 30, 2014 at 3:46:17 am






today...

so? Doc? ;-)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 30, 2014 at 3:55:47 am

http://www.reactionface.info/face/orson-welles-clapping


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 30, 2014 at 4:21:52 am
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on May 30, 2014 at 4:24:17 am

Next step is to try and simplify the setup. "First, make it work. THEN, make it pretty."

Looks like you're well on your way. Congratulations!

The biggest thing that still bugs me is her hiding behind the laptop. I have a desk I made a long time ago for training shoots, the desk top is a damaged hollow-core door that was scratched on one side, so I got it from Menard's for about $15-$20. I used a router bit to cut thru the door skin, creating a "well" the size of the laptop's footprint. All the cables for the laptop were routed thru the in-between spaces inside the door, so the final presentation on-camera was of just the laptop screen poking up out of the table, the rest of the laptop sunken into the surface. Very classy, I will say. And cheap.


The other thing you could do, is build a simple box teleprompter, using the large TV or another flatscreen TV, and a pane of glass, set inside a simple black box sitting on the long conference table. Shoot thru it, and the speaker can make perfect lens-eye contact while looking THRU her slides or other screen data.

I drew up the design for a giant prompter we call The Big Kahuna, and had it fabricated for me. It uses a 41-inch flat screen as the source, bouncing off of window glass with a mylar coating added. We can fit 2 full-size broadcast cameras side-by-side behind this bad boy, and prompt someone with text or their ppt slides from many feet away, so we have perfect eye contact while live-switching between the two cameras. But yours need not be that elaborate. Just mounting a flatscreen tv under the lens will greatly improve your shot.


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 30, 2014 at 4:30:11 am

Loved Orson!!!!
Thanks for liking what I did... I had to say you came to my mind several times as I was setting up... "what would Mike say/do?.... What did he tell me to do"... I even remembered to shoot the talent w/o set up as I thought it was an awesome idea!!
I'll look into the prompter TV idea... The laptop bugged me too...
Today at least I won the water bottle battle, thx to you again since you suggested to add a little table on the side... which I did!
It's funny how simple solutions don't always occur on set since we have so much to think about.

Last question.
My client would like to have an empty office turned into a permanent "studio" with backdrop and lighting.
They do mainly standing "interviews" in front of a backdrop.
What Lowel kit would you suggest so it is versatile?

In the meantime.... merci milles fois as they say back home.
Do you have an email address you could share by private message so I can thank you more materialistically :-)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on May 30, 2014 at 5:07:32 am
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on May 30, 2014 at 5:09:52 am

"non, non, j'ai eu l'honneur d'aider".

Don't spoil this with talk of remuneration. That's not why we are all here.
Just pay it forward by helping someone else when you can.


As to the permanent set room, a 3- light kit plus something to splash the wall with colors or patterns is the basic setup. Your 2 Softlights for key and fill are a good start, add a back/hair light, which could be a little LTM "Pepper", or LED-based device, or a Lowel VIP light, or just a ten-dollar PAR scoop, what I call the "Chicken egg warmer", you know, those spun-aluminum parabolic reflector lights, with the spring attachment to clamp them to ladders and such.

If you want to get adventurous, tube tape.com or the store at digital juice offer green screen backdrops for full-body shots, with a little extra piece that runs along the floor. What I would do for my own limbo backdrop would be either a roll of gray or white photographer's paper, hung from ceiling brackets, or... a roll of cheap vinyl kitchen/bath flooring, reversed, so the back side, the "felt" side, faces the camera. This surface takes paint well. Prime it with KILZ brand latex-based white primer, then white or gray paint, and you will have en excellent and very sturdy limbo cove, great for close-up or full- body stand-up shots.

To get light stands out of the way and make the lights ready to use at a moment's notice, I would employ a manfrotto auto-pole between the walls and hang my lights from that, running the cables along the pole, to the side wall. If the budget is low, you can make a faux auto-pole setup using electrical conduit, supported by wooden braces attached to the walls. Fill the conduit with wood lath or double-up the conduit to increase load-bearing strength and reduce the chance of bending. Do NOT use PVC pipe.


A permanent set should have a stand-up area with some kind of lectern/small product presentation table at elbow height, as well as a sit-down space with either informal couch lounging space, or room for a "news desk" like the one I mentioned, made from a hollow-core interior door.


What I started out with in our studio with a long time ago - and it still serves us well every week - is a collapsible, portable trade show booth wall from Nomadic Designs. It is a geodesic space frame that covers about 15 feet horizontally, by ten vertically, but the frame collapses into the volume of a golf bag for travel or storage. Magnetic-mounted roll-up "walls" of carpet-like cloth hang on the space frame and allow mounting items with velcro or magnets. These can also be custom-printed with logos and art. The travel case transforms into a matching desk/podium for sales literature or small product displays. Anyway, the trade show wall has served in the studio and on location for many years of faithful service, and maybe you can time-share the use of it with the company's marketing staff as they go to actual trade shows with it. Nomadic Designs is just one maker of these - there are literally dozens of makers, they even have one that makes disposable versions out of high quality pressed paper board that are re-useable but also cheap enough to abandon after a trade show to save return shipping costs.


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Tom Sefton
Re: Lighting a spoke person in a conf room
on Jun 4, 2014 at 8:29:31 am

I've just had a read through this thread and what a wonderful example of cow-ism it is. Brilliant work Mark! Some excellent tips in there that I don't mind saying, I'll be using in the future too. Splendid.


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