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Old December 9th, 2005, 09:36 AM   #1
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Lighting advice to record interview?

I'll be using Canon Optura XI to record some video of a sales presentation. It won't be a live event rather just working with the presenter in a room by himself. The goal is to get some "snippets" that could be used for various marketing & promotion purposes-- web and DVD.

My idea was to just set the camera up on tripod and record him speaking. Perhaps move to different angle from time to time-- different camera distances e.g. Hopefully from this raw footage we can put together some good cuts in Premiere.

I believe the setting will be a conference type room in a hotel. As I expect ambient lighting to insufficient, what kind of external light source (?) might work the best?

Given that I'm pretty new to this, any additional advice/suggestions as to overall strategies would be greatly appreciated.

Tim
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Old December 11th, 2005, 08:06 AM   #2
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If you are not locked to a location, the best and easiest thing would be to find a room that has good lighting, providing an even natural effect. Considering your camera choice I am assuming that budget is an issue, so you could likely get away with using worklights. However you will want to set them far back so as the spread out the light more and not get harsh shadows and you may want to remove the protective grills. If you use work lights, you will need to do a custom white balance, since they tend to have a yellowish cast. Play around with the angles and set up, but likely a 45 degree angle to the presenter and just above the head would work well. You should also considering using a mic to get good clean audio. Sony makes an inexpensive wireless lav (around $99) that has it's limitations, but in a controlled setting like this, should work alright. Since you are starting out, you may also want to invest in some good books on lighting, sound and shot composition, they'll be an investment and a tax write-off.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 04:01 PM   #3
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Just my opinion, but if you are going to use multiple "snippets" in one piece you may want to avoid mixing up the framing and the angles. I think it may be disorienting if every time you cut to your expert he is facing a different way or is closer or farther away from the camera.

If you want to experiment with angles, get your talent to go through the presentation 2 or 3 times, each with a different setup. Then you can decide what works best.

The lighting question is a big one. Florescent lights can be problematic and if you can bring other lights you will be better off. I'd also bring some white foam core boards or something cheap like that to bounce the light where you need it.

The forum is loaded with good advice on pretty much any related topic, so take your time and learn.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 01:20 AM   #4
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Ditto on the reflector. I would also want to have a diffuser on hand, you can buy one or build one. But shop lights are pretty harsh, and most any light benefits from having a diffuser in front of it. It can even be an old white sheet on some 1x2's or PVC pipe or hanging from a rope.

If you want to spend money, Rostronics makes a good and cheap interview kit.
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Old December 18th, 2005, 10:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy May
Considering your camera choice I am assuming that budget is an issue.
Thanks much for the input, Amy.

I've been involved in photography (film to digital) for many years but only dabbled in video from time to time. The Canon seemed like a good choice to get up to speed before making a most significant investment based. I've a growing line of relatives, lurking like vultures who are well aware of my history of "handing down" cameras when I finally do upgrade.

Quote:
...so you could likely get away with using worklights. However you will want to set them far back so as the spread out the light more and not get harsh shadows and you may want to remove the protective grills. If you use work lights, you will need to do a custom white balance, since they tend to have a yellowish cast. Play around with the angles and set up, but likely a 45 degree angle to the presenter and just above the head would work well. You should also considering using a mic to get good clean audio. Sony makes an inexpensive wireless lav (around $99) that has it's limitations, but in a controlled setting like this, should work alright. Since you are starting out, you may also want to invest in some good books on lighting, sound and shot composition, they'll be an investment and a tax write-off.
Good advice! Really not that much different than still shots I suppose-- except that it would be pretty hard to get my studio strobes to cycle quick enough for video. <g>

I will set up a test shoot here at home using some hot lights and do just as you suggest- set custom white balance, test different angles and so forth. Not sure about the "far back" for lights as increased distance typically causes harsher shadows, not softer. (?)

Can't seem to find info on the Sony mic you're referring to-- might you have a link or model #?

Thanks again for the comments!
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Old December 18th, 2005, 10:49 AM   #6
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Hi Robert,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Simon
Just my opinion, but if you are going to use multiple "snippets" in one piece you may want to avoid mixing up the framing and the angles. I think it may be disorienting if every time you cut to your expert he is facing a different way or is closer or farther away from the camera.
Good points. Fortunately I'm working with a group of folks I've been involved with for some time and they understand that this is something of a test run which will give them a better idea of how to incorporate video into their current material.

These folks do management training and are looking at ways to incorporate more multimedia into their presentations. To more or less simulate a multiple camera effect-- again only for this testing phase-- I envisioned recording the presenter twice from different angles, then putting together the final version where at some point the screen would cut to a screen where they might display charts or text, then come back to the presenter in cut 2 at a different angle.

But wait.. you may be right-- I'm getting dizzy just trying to describe it! <g>



Quote:
The lighting question is a big one. Florescent lights can be problematic and if you can bring other lights you will be better off. I'd also bring some white foam core boards or something cheap like that to bounce the light where you need it.

The forum is loaded with good advice on pretty much any related topic, so take your time and learn.
Ah-- good idea. I've got boxes of foam core-- I'll toss a few in.
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Old December 18th, 2005, 10:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Costa
Ditto on the reflector. I would also want to have a diffuser on hand, you can buy one or build one. But shop lights are pretty harsh, and most any light benefits from having a diffuser in front of it. It can even be an old white sheet on some 1x2's or PVC pipe or hanging from a rope.

If you want to spend money, Rostronics makes a good and cheap interview kit.
Thanks, Bob. I do have diffusion frame I built with tubing and rip-stop nylon which we use for outdoor daylight shots, but it hadn't occurred to me to use it in this case. Good idea.

I had not heard of the Rostronics units-- always looking to spend $$$ on new toys. Looks like an inexpensive and flexible option for location type work. Thanks!
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Old December 18th, 2005, 11:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Ribich
I had not heard of the Rostronics units-- always looking to spend $$$ on new toys. Looks like an inexpensive and flexible option for location type work. Thanks!
Here's a tip too. Their std kit comes with a 200w "3rd light". If you get the 250w instead, it uses same barn doors and softbox as the 300/600 and some others. Not important much of the time, but it sure makes life a bit easier when it comes up. Just ask about that issue when you order, they make up any kit combos you want.
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Old December 21st, 2005, 03:40 AM   #9
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Hi Tim, the entry level mic I was talking about is the Sony's WCS-999 Wireless Microphone System, just don't forget to monitor your sound. Bob & Robert have good lighting advice. What I meant to say was to diffuse the light because they are correct, the worklights are very harsh. I have found it useful to bounce them off a wall or ceiling. Good luck.
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Old December 24th, 2005, 02:21 PM   #10
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I mostly shoot outdoors, but have done some interviews indoors like you are doing.

One important factor is not to mix the source of lighting, natural light through the windows, floresenct, and and incandescent. The last time I did something like this was in a conference room with lots of windows and a white drop ceiling. I had all the curtains closed, shut off the floresenct lights, and only used the three point lighting system I brought in.
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