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Old June 7th, 2008, 06:49 PM   #1
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Lighting for interviews

To start, let me once again proclaim my lowly amateur status. That means as I progress I have a LOT of learning to do.... sound, lighting, camerawork, etc...

Fortunately, this forum has a lot of experienced hands happy to share their knowledge... and in this new age of digital production and the internet, there exist a lot of places and ways to learn... IF you remain curious. I am constantly learning, and I enjoy that.

Now, to cut to the chase...I need to shoot a short piece to defend a fine (imposed on my client) before a regulatory body. This should be fun, because they put on really nice "state of the art" power point presentation and then the "fined accused" usually just stand before a microphone hang-dog and beg and try and explain what really happened. I plan to trump their presentation, and at the same time make an honest and compelling visual case for my clients position - which is truthfully the better position in this case - something that might be missed by a verbal presentation.

Anyway, to do this I knew I would have to mix stills with headshot interviews. I have some software capable of doing that easily, but... the headshot interviews were an unknown new territory for me. Sound? no problem... I am well along on that endeavor. (I will use a hyper on a static boom and a lav and mix and match as I deem appropriate.)

Lighting, is another matter. I searched and read and did everything I could to educate myself before I set off for a one time chance to shooting the interviews necessary to mix with the stills. Still I felt ill equipped other than using my wits and eyes to try and replicate what I have seen.

Enter a video.

I saw an online seller that has produced a "Lighting the Interview" type of video. It was $50 on DVD. If you value education, as i do, that was not a bad deal if it delivered what I needed. Well - It did... in spades.

I want to recommend to anyone thinking of documentary work or needing set-up and lighting education on headshot interviews (and you do, trust me) to look at the Vortex Media DVD on "How to Set-Up, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews". Maybe one of the best education investments I ever made (easy to say coming from a Dad with 2 kids in college maybe?)

Productiuon quality a+, informational quality A++.

I do not work for, or even know the producers, but I HIGHLY(!!) recommend this for those who might even think about doing headshot interviews. Mine will be MUCH better for the information presented!

www.vortexMedia.com

ps. These are the same folks who make WarmCards....which I also find valuable.
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Old June 7th, 2008, 09:58 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Chris Swanberg View Post
To start, let me once again proclaim my lowly amateur status. That means as I progress I have a LOT of learning to do.... sound, lighting, camerawork, etc...

Fortunately, this forum has a lot of experienced hands happy to share their knowledge... and in this new age of digital production and the internet, there exist a lot of places and ways to learn... IF you remain curious. I am constantly learning, and I enjoy that.

Now, to cut to the chase...I need to shoot a short piece to defend a fine (imposed on my client) before a regulatory body. This should be fun, because they put on really nice "state of the art" power point presentation and then the "fined accused" usually just stand before a microphone hang-dog and beg and try and explain what really happened. I plan to trump their presentation, and at the same time make an honest and compelling visual case for my clients position - which is truthfully the better position in this case - something that might be missed by a verbal presentation.

Anyway, to do this I knew I would have to mix stills with headshot interviews. I have some software capable of doing that easily, but... the headshot interviews were an unknown new territory for me. Sound? no problem... I am well along on that endeavor. (I will use a hyper on a static boom and a lav and mix and match as I deem appropriate.)

Lighting, is another matter. I searched and read and did everything I could to educate myself before I set off for a one time chance to shooting the interviews necessary to mix with the stills. Still I felt ill equipped other than using my wits and eyes to try and replicate what I have seen.

Enter a video.

I saw an online seller that has produced a "Lighting the Interview" type of video. It was $50 on DVD. If you value education, as i do, that was not a bad deal if it delivered what I needed. Well - It did... in spades.

I want to recommend to anyone thinking of documentary work or needing set-up and lighting education on headshot interviews (and you do, trust me) to look at the Vortex Media DVD on "How to Set-Up, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews". Maybe one of the best education investments I ever made (easy to say coming from a Dad with 2 kids in college maybe?)

Productiuon quality a+, informational quality A++.

I do not work for, or even know the producers, but I HIGHLY(!!) recommend this for those who might even think about doing headshot interviews. Mine will be MUCH better for the information presented!

www.vortexMedia.com

ps. These are the same folks who make WarmCards....which I also find valuable.
Hi Chris:

While I wasn't 100% in agreement with the way they assert everything (the $1,500.00 kit is going to cost more than $1,500.00, especially if you want a case to carry it in, extra grip is needed, etc.) but I digress. Overall, it is a pretty good guide for lighting interviews, especially if you are a newbie.

It receives my thumbs up, I have not seen anything instructional that was better. Money well spent.

Dan
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Old June 7th, 2008, 10:11 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Dan...

I think that in the couple years since the video was made things have changed somewhat. 5200K Flos for one thing. But overall... at least for a newbie like me, and one who reads, listens, absorbs and goes on with more of the same it nicely crystalized some lighting ideas... along the lines of your great microphone reviews. In sound, you and Ty have taught me a lot, and my audio knowedge has been filled in also by Steve House and Wayne Brissette and other on this board. (and Jay Rose's book.... which is awesome....)

A tip of the hat to you all.

I'm off to watch the DVD a 2nd time... I think without recreating their kit I have it all... for less I might add.... Now, about a sharp instrument to cut a cookie.... THAT puts me at substantial risk!

Be well my friend. I look forward to learning more from you in multiple areas, not just sound.

Running with scissors...

Chris

ps. If you ever need an assistant on a shoot, I'd work for free to get the knowledge and exposure ! (Might even PAY to work on a 24 shoot! <G>)
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Old June 8th, 2008, 02:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chris Swanberg View Post
Thanks for the reply Dan...

I think that in the couple years since the video was made things have changed somewhat. 5200K Flos for one thing. But overall... at least for a newbie like me, and one who reads, listens, absorbs and goes on with more of the same it nicely crystalized some lighting ideas... along the lines of your great microphone reviews. In sound, you and Ty have taught me a lot, and my audio knowedge has been filled in also by Steve House and Wayne Brissette and other on this board. (and Jay Rose's book.... which is awesome....)

A tip of the hat to you all.

I'm off to watch the DVD a 2nd time... I think without recreating their kit I have it all... for less I might add.... Now, about a sharp instrument to cut a cookie.... THAT puts me at substantial risk!

Be well my friend. I look forward to learning more from you in multiple areas, not just sound.

Running with scissors...

Chris

ps. If you ever need an assistant on a shoot, I'd work for free to get the knowledge and exposure ! (Might even PAY to work on a 24 shoot! <G>)
Hi Chris:

Be careful, I might just take you up on your offer. You are in Sac though, not LA, right?

Dan
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Old June 8th, 2008, 02:52 PM   #5
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Dan... yes Sacramento based, but a quick Southwest flight away. Keep me in mind!


Chris
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Old February 9th, 2009, 04:41 PM   #6
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I also have watched this DVD (once) and procured a lighting kit according, pretty exactly, to its recommendations (the boom stand asked for is discontinued -- I chose a Bogen 420N in lieu).

My question is: what sort of case(s) will work to transport this all?

I think I'd lean toward 2 soft cases to make the lifting easier. Air travel is not a need for me.

I think I might have to just start measuring things and buy cases until it all fits! It is not all that easy to see how stands fit into some of these cases unless the case is used exclusively for them (dividers removed).

I suppose I could get two cases like the Impact Light Kit Bag and work from there. Is that sane?

tone
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Old February 9th, 2009, 05:54 PM   #7
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FWIW we bought a big hardcase golfclub (air-shipping) bag for about 1/3 what hardcase lightstand and tripod cases cost...has wheels, takes a Cartoni tripod and Lowell DV55 lighting kit, extra cables, etc and, while I understand it's not a factor to you, it's air-shippable. Cost, IIRC, $150...../Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:54 AM   #8
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Battle, what an interesting angle. Can you share a brand or model name, and what you did to secure and pad the equipment within the bag?

Thanks!

tone
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Old February 10th, 2009, 01:37 PM   #9
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Just to balance out Battle's experience, I have purchased two, soft golf club bags for the same purpose. The first one went to Philadephia with me from LA, and when it arrived, one of the casters had been ripped off of the bag, leaving a big, gaping hole, that luckily nothing fell out of.

I bought a second one for a trip to NYC. Same issue, it showed up a JFK with both casters ripped off of the bag and some gear hanging out of the holes. Didn't lose anything again but I was very lucky.

Was back in Philly a couple of weeks ago with a client who shoots. He said that he bought a hard shell golf club case. When he arrived in Boston, the lid of the case had been ripped off of the hinge and was hanging off.

I have come to the conclusion that golf clubs must be lighter than a tripod, three light stands and a 20" C-stand arm and grip head, because every time I try using a golf club case, it gets destroyed in one trip.

My advice would be to proceed very cautiously. Thousands of people fly with their golf clubs for but for some reason, it seems that video gear and golf club cases are not always a good fit. Must be all of the extra weight (although I kept it at about 48lbs to avoid the weight charges) or the way it distributes because I am already in the hole for $250.00 worth of golf bags and I don't even golf.

Dan
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Old February 10th, 2009, 02:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
I don't even golf.
Take it up. It gives you a good reason to use profanity in public! <sly grin>

The KATA light kit bags are looking really interesting to me but I haven't had a chance to view them yet. My KATA camera bag seems well enough constructed.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 04:08 PM   #11
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Battle, what an interesting angle. Can you share a brand or model name, and what you did to secure and pad the equipment within the bag?

Thanks!

tone
It's an SKB "ATA deluxe golf travel case", a hard case, I forget where we got it (online somewhere) but I found it today at a place called Travel Bags Golf Travel Bags | Hard Golf Cases | Travel Golf Bags for $159.95.
(Know nothing about them at all, so this is a start, not a recommendation. )

The case is a trick I got from the gurus at Platypus...and these guys have traveled the world...the gear fits fairly snugly so is not necessary to tie down... a Sachtler or Cartoni tripod and a Lowell DV55 kit fit fine....the case is typical hardshell SKB gear (they make rack cases for music roadies, among other things) so it's pretty secure --not tearable or squashable and is lockable (using TSA compliant locks for air travel) and it's fairly light. There are other models, and probably other brands, but this one fit our sticks and light kits to a "T"....Battle Vaughan
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Old February 10th, 2009, 04:13 PM   #12
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My advice would be to proceed very cautiously. Thousands of people fly with their golf clubs for but for some reason, it seems that video gear and golf club cases are not always a good fit. Must be all of the extra weight (although I kept it at about 48lbs to avoid the weight charges) or the way it distributes because I am already in the hole for $250.00 worth of golf bags and I don't even golf.

Dan[/QUOTE]

Ouch! Thanks for the warning! We haven't put quite that much weight in ours, and maybe have just been lucky. Our instructors, as I think I mentioned in another note, at Platypus gave us this tip, and they travel the world. I hope this is not a bum idea, maybe there are different quality cases...or airlines....<BG> // Battle Vaughan
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Old February 10th, 2009, 04:19 PM   #13
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Not to flog this to death, but I just noticed that SKB offers an "Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee" as well as $1500 coverage 'In the unlikely event your golf clubs or other contents are damaged by airline handling while transported in an SKB case, SKB will repair or replace any damage done up to $1500." This was on the aforementioned web site...I like the "or other contents" part, I don't got no stinkin' golf clubs....//Battle Vaughan
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Old February 10th, 2009, 07:48 PM   #14
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Battle:

SKB makes pretty good stuff. I think my client and I got stung because we both bought our stuff at Sports Authority. It was just consumer golf stuff, not heavy duty. SKB makes a lot of ATA level rack mount gear so I would imagine their stuff is a few notches up the quality ladder from what we were using.

My client bought the plastic hardshell case, it sort of looks like fake carbon fiber and usually sells for $100.00. I would definitely not use that.

My other frustration is I have been using the nice, large sized duffle bags that Sport Authority sells. They are only $35.00 bucks and I wrap the Bogen and the light stands in my clothes for the trip, sometimes a few old towels. So far, five trips with no damaged gear but every time I get back, when I am unpacking, I hold the duffle bag up to the light and I see holes in the bottom of the bag. Tiny ones, but they could turn into big ones. I hate to keep buying a new duffle bag for every trip but at $35.00, its not that bad. The duffle bag holds the tripod, three Manfrotto Arri Kit stands, a 20" C-stand arm with a grip head and a small Chimera with a 40 degree egg crate. Lights ride on a Pelican 1610, the smaller one with the wheels and handle. Plop the duffle on top of the Pelican and I am good to go. Much simpler than lugging an Arri kit around NYC, in and out of taxis.

The airlines have ripped the hinges off of my Arri kit in the past, plus bent a hasp and have broken case hardened Master steel padlocks (back in the days before TSA locks were required). I don't know what the guys in the baggage terminal do, but it seems as if there is a way to destroy your case, they will discover it.

Dan
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