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Old July 21st, 2008, 10:56 AM   #31
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Mike:

Compared to some of the stuff out there in the DV world, you're already a leg up on the competition.

Nino just gave you a great graphic example a 3-light set-up. I use that same 3-light method nearly all the time, unless there are a bunch of "product" highlights that need to be emphasized.

Re: parchment paper. Find one of the video gear houses or grip supply houses in your area, and buy some lighting diffusion--frost or pearl or whatever else they have--until you get your softboxes. With 650+ watt light heads, it's only a matter of time before you burn through a diffuser not made for lighting.

Nothing says "I'm a professional" like running around the set with a flaming light on a stand!
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 03:26 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nino Giannotti View Post
one small 250w Lowel Pro light mounted on a XXsmall soft box
Is this the Chimera XX-Small video soft box?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ro_Plus_1.html

What speed ring do you use for this?
Thank you!
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 09:06 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker View Post
Is this the Chimera XX-Small video soft box?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ro_Plus_1.html

What speed ring do you use for this?
Thank you!
That's the one. Lowel also make a speed ring that goes for about $40.
I use this light mostly in my travel kit so everything has to be lightweight. Instead of a boom or gobo arm I use a 1/2"x3' aluminum tubing available at any home improvement store and a standard grip head.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 09:45 PM   #34
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One more set up to critique...

I'm trying to tone the intensity of my backgrounds. I think I might have it this time. I really appreciate all of your time taken to give your suggestions.

I'm realizing how much more there is to what I'm watching on t.v.

Anyway, here is a different set up in my living room(same space as original posted pic), and I've once again tried to follow the given advice. I'm about 11' from subject with the camera, and about 10' between subject and background. all at 24p, 1/48, aperture wide open. Red gel thrown on backlight.

again, hit me with it...

Thanks,

Mike Watkins
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 11:31 PM   #35
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Vast improvement!!! Are you sure you're the same guy who posted the original shots:<)

Just for fun, you should stick the original side by side with the latest shots.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 12:01 AM   #36
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Wow, look at that...

Soft background, modeling on the face, kiss of hair light, good framing...

Yep... starting to come together!


More critique eh? Alright.

So now you've suppressed the background. I'm guessing you don't have a light meter. Spend some time looking at your favorite TV dramas or evening interview shows. Look at the light ratio between the background and the foreground. Generally, the foreground has prominence, and the background is just hinted at. It's like you can tell what's back there, it has shape and tonality, but it's not competing for interest with the foreground.

In terms of framing, one other thing that I learned in portraiture. Try to get the talent on an angle. In other words, don't frame them so that they are as wide as possible. It makes the shoulders and the person look disproportionately wide. Especially women.

There are some who believe that the lighting on women should be less modeled than wit ha man. I tend to agree. I prefer women softly lit. Not necessarily flat, but the ratio of key to fill is very close. But that is a matter of style and preference. If everyone I put in frame was under 25, and had a face like Jessica Alba, I might think differently. But when you shoot women "of a certain age", and who don't have professional hair and makeup people to tend to them before shooting, I try to help them as much as possible. A large softbox or a silk will do WONDERS for taking out wrinkles and lines. Give that a shot in your next setup.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 09:03 AM   #37
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Getting there.

I can still see the inside her nostrils, raise the camera more. Also raise your key, everything in the face is flat, shadows are just as important as the light; you need to see the separation between chin and neck. See the demo below and look at the shadow below the nose and below the chin. If you feel that the shadows are too prominent then use a small fill light.

If you are going to use front key instead of 45 then move it in front, the in-between little shadow on the side of the nose is not very flattering, also see the sample below. If you do this in most cases you will not need a fill, looks like you are using a side reflector, place the key properly and you will not need one.

Start using a back or hair light above the subject, this will give you separation without having to worry too much about the background light. Again see sample below.

The correct position for the backlight should be apx. 4' above and at a 45 degree angle behind, pointed toward the back of the head and placed directly in the back center opposite from the direction of where the subject is looking to.

Also rotate slightly the subject more toward the camera so she doesn't have to turn her head or turn her eyes. Looks like her eyes are constantly focused to the right (her left)
The added rotation will also make the face appear slimmer. The basic rule is that you shouldn't be able to see both ears.

Keep up the good work.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 10:48 AM   #38
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Mike:

Way to go! Much better...now, split the difference between the light intensity on the earlier efforts and this latest pic.

Nino:

Nice idea with the light weight aluminum tube. Think it'd support an ARRI 300 light?
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Old July 24th, 2008, 01:14 PM   #39
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A great wrinkle and eye-bag remover is a large white bounce card (foamcore, beadboard) in front of the subject, below the line of the lens. If you can work it close enough to the subject you won't need to add any light to it, it works as a passive fill and serves to smooth out the lines in the face. It will lift up the exposure under the chin, so if this is an area that one is trying to hide it will help to raise the key somewhat and possibly raise the camera as well. Start with it at around 45 degrees and rotate from there until it achieves maximum effect. The closer and/or bigger the card, the more effect it will have.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 05:38 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ward View Post
Nino:

Nice idea with the light weight aluminum tube. Think it'd support an ARRI 300 light?
Although I never put them on a scale the combined weight of the Lowel Pro Light with the speed ring and the Chimera box is probably the equivalent and an Arri 300 but to be on the safe side I would get an aluminum rod instead of a tube. I think it will depend more on the stand than on the boom. If the stand flexes too much because of the weight you might have some stability problems, sandbag the bottom well and you'll be OK.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 10:32 PM   #41
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more footage...

I feel like I'm getting closer on the interview set ups. I'd appreciate some feedback on the footage I'm linking to.

Thanks,

Mike Watkins

30 second teaser for dvinfo.net documentary contest
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Old October 21st, 2008, 10:50 PM   #42
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Very nice Mike! Looks like you've learned. Only two small criticisms is one of the interviewees is still a bit close to a wall with no breakup, and the last person seemed to have a bit of a hotspot on them.

But looks good!
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Old October 21st, 2008, 11:00 PM   #43
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Thanks Perrone.

I've been trying to put to practice all of the advice. Also I've been doing alot more shooting lately and I think this has been a big help, but not quite as much as the good advice given here on the forum.

I did notice the hotspot and closeness on the last interviewee, but it was in the edit bay when I really noticed It was a rushed set up for that interview.

Thanks for the comments.

Mike Watkins
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Old October 24th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #44
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Adjusting the hairlight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Re separation of subject and background, maybe focusing a bit in front of the subject so they're toward the back of the zone of sharp focus (hyperfocal distance) would help.
Jim makes a valuable point; it can make a significant difference.

I think the only thing I would add to what everyone else has contributed is:

1. Note the difference of the apparent brightness of the hairlight on the men and women: it appears inordinately bright and sparkly on the women's hair for the mood you're trying to create. On the men, the clothing mutes this. The cheapest and easiest solution is probably a dimmer, such as this nifty tool Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices. Note that the color temp of your lamp will warm as you dim it. If necessary, a gel will cool it down.

2. As one who many years ago had to ask for a $15 photo umbrella for Christmas for financial reasons, I join many here in empathy for your doing things on the cheap. You can clamp a $4 extendable curtain rod, the cheap white or brass kind that weigh almost nothing, to a stand and use wooden clothes pins or stronger spring clamps to hang white translucent fabric of your choice from the fabric store, and light through or bounce. If you can afford it, buy some ripstop nylon, aka sail cloth, grid cloth, etc. Check the remnants tables for extra bargains.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 12:17 PM   #45
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Again, watch your background, viewers will see bad composition before they see bad lighting. Your lighting is good, keep making small adjustments as you go along but look at those backgrounds.

The first shot of the boy, good lighting but there's something that looks like a cable TV box growing out of his face.

Second shot of the man in front a dark background, don't change a thing, that's the best of the bunch.

Third of the woman, I believe that's your wife? First avoid vertical lines splitting the image, there are two different pictures into one. Don't paste your subject against the background put as much distance as you can, unless for some reason the background is part of the story. Probably you are using a small 1/3 chip camera and with those you'll have difficulties reducing the depth of field in order to create good separation, use distance and darker background to give the illusion of depth.

Same for the last shot, too close to the background and same light value. Just like the shot above the background is competing with the subject. Also when you have something like a picture frame in the image make sure it's not crooked, in this case probably your camera wasn't leveled.

Your lighting is good, just fine tune it and don't go crazy yet it will get better with time and experience, work on the rest of the composition, that's more important.
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