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Old June 28th, 2004, 01:37 PM   #1
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What programs feature the best interview lighting?

I'm a big fan of Front Line. I often have to tape it because I'm so focused on the look of the program, I find I'm not paying attention to what is being said.

Beautifully lit and composed interviews.

What other shows out there motivate you to produce better lighting?
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Old June 28th, 2004, 01:42 PM   #2
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My favorite is 60 Minutes. They have always done a black background...a lesson in "less is more". I believe they've had a top rated show for decades now.

The subject should be the focus. I've seen so many interviews where you can't even concentrate on what the person is saying because it's so busy. If you follow the basic 3 point lighting you can't go wrong...that's my advice!

Christopher C. Murphy
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Old July 1st, 2004, 03:37 AM   #3
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I'd agree with both of those above as my favorites, too!

I watched a BBC documentary, "A Brief History of Time" about Stephen Hawking, a while back where I enjoyed the production's lighting techniques and talent placement.

They seemed to use low-key 3-pt. lighting for the talent, with the key level with the talking head and fill at-level or below the talking head. Both the key and fill seemed wider than usual from the camera. The background light were often gelled and used to highlight narrow swaths behind the talent. They even lit adjacent rooms that show up in doorways in the background. It seemed, for their shots, they were able to position the talent far enough away from the background to attain a shallow depth of field, so the background. Even though the background was selectively lit, it wasn't distracting at all.

Another thing I noticed was that they positioned the talent's chair maybe 45 degrees or more (my guess) away from the camera, forcing the talent to turn to talk their head to the interviewer, who seemed to be positioned near the camera. Interesting, but I wondered if the talent's neck got sore from turning it over the length of the interview? :-)

I don't know if that was a particularly exceptional production, but it inspired me to play around with lighting and talent positioning a bit more.
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Old July 1st, 2004, 08:41 AM   #4
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A lot of good lighting is showing up on the "true crime" shows on cable, such as "New Detective," "Cold Case Files," etc. Saw one the other night where a young man told of his escape from a monster who broke both of his legs while holding the fourteen year-old captive. A chilling story that was more effective coming directly from the young man, than in the recreations. Lighting on the entire episode was excellent.

Softer backgrounds indicate full size, 2/3" cameras were used, such as Betacams.

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