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Photon Management
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Old July 29th, 2003, 03:16 PM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 327
emulating Apple Switch Ads for PSA

I've just volunteered my time to serve as a cameraman/DP for a public service spot. The look the director wants is testimonials similar to the Apple Switch campaign, except with several cut rapidly together. White background, Dektored (impovised panning & tilting) camera, shots ranging from XCU to full body WS.

Apple has taken down the links to the videos, but you can see some stills at: www.apple.com/switch

Assume that I'm going to have a choice of studios, with plenty of room and an infinity wall. I'll probably be able to get whatever grip/electric equipment I want, as there is a budget, but I expect most of the equipment to be donated, anyway. I'll have my pick of Kino-Flo's, Tungsten Fresnels and PARs, HMI Jokers, 6x6 silks, etc.

Here's the catch. I want to shoot with my VX-2000, and I want to get away with as little equipment as possible (less to carry, set up, keep track of, etc.). I want to make the non-professional talent as comfortable as possible (probably about 20 - assume all ages and races), but I still want the lighting to look great. I'd like to light once for the wide shot, then have to tweak as little as possible for the medium shots and between each talent.

How would you approach this scenario? What kinds of lighting would you use? Would you try to blow out the background to close to 100% white? What camera filtration might you try? All suggestions are welcome.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 08:02 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 1,333
I've done this and the results depend on how much lighting gear you can
pull in.

You'll want to _smoothly light_ and blow out the back ground.
The good news is the VX2K can do this with it's low light abilities.

Whatever way you want to accomplish that even background lighting. . .
which isn't all that easy unless you
have plenty of instruments and circuits. Softboxes, pancake lanterns, or
LOTs of Kino-flos. I did it with a bunch (12) of 2K fresnels with diffusion
in them, but a ton of soft lights would have been better.

Then, I'd use a lot of softboxes to evenly light the talent and avoid messy
shadows on your smooth background. With that many people,
it won't be easy to use extra/individual directional instruments like fresnels
on the talent without issues such as hot spots, extra/weird shadows, etc.
Jacques Mersereau
University of Michigan-Video Studio Manager
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Old July 31st, 2003, 04:22 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 2,054

There's a fine balance between getting the background close to what would be perceived as pure white, yet not allow the talent to get too dark.

Depending on the talent's skin tones, you will have to adjust the lighting of the talent and the background.

No filtration needed. Just get the lighting right for the talent first. Soft light. In-line with the camera, slightly above. Don't burn out the highlights. Keep the talent several feet away from the background so that they won't cast a shadow on your backdrop and so you can make lighting adjustments on the background independent of the talent.

After you get the talent lighted properly, adjust the background lighting to hit somewhere above 90 IRE (assuming you're using zebra stripes set at 90 or a waveform monitor). Once you set the lighting for a specific model, just shoot away. You will need to compensate for other models, depending on skin tone. But always light the models first, then bring up the background accordingly.

Good luck, and have fun!
Dean Sensui
Base Two Productions
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