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Old August 7th, 2004, 11:04 PM   #1
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Variation of 3-light for interview

I've read much about the JTL everlight kit in the archives and am seriously thinking about buying one, but I have to wonder how often I'd need to conduct indoor interviews. I suppose they could be used for other projects but I'm still contemplating.

I went to Central Camera today with the intention of buying a Bogen 501 head and a Bogen 3021 headless tripod for about $300 or so. I ran across a pretty decent Phoenix tripod with head for only $80. Hey, I figure spend more on the Sennheiser. :]

I pulled out ordinary house lamps and shot the video beow with my DVX100A. There's a 3-light lamp with a 60w, 40w and 15w incandescent bulbs. There's a side lamp on the floor with a 60w bulb in it. In the far right corner, there's a 120w floor lamp not near the subject, though. I didn't have another gooseneck desk lamp to use as a backlight. The wall is green.

Do you think this is decent enough to use in a documentary? Maybe I could tweak it with brighter bulbs? Or am I kidding myself and should get the JTL kit?

I'm not looking for a tv news look, but would like some shadowing for the 'feel' of the project. Anyhoo, here's the clip:

http://host212.ipowerweb.com/~chicagoh/video/cgd4ldirection.mov
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Old August 8th, 2004, 01:50 PM   #2
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Re: Variation of 3-light for interview

Hmm. just had a long convo with a friend of mine who has the DVX100. Aftwards, I've just ordered the Tiffen Film Look and Video Essentials kits from B&H. Will try this again once I've received them.
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Old August 8th, 2004, 02:53 PM   #3
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Chris, your clip looks fine, but I don't see all the light sources you mention on screen. Basically, it looks like one key light from camera right, and maybe a second light on the background. But even the background looks like it could be a chroma key. If this is what you want all your documentary set-ups to look like, and you feel schleping around your homemade "light kit" will engender confidence in your subjects, then go for it. It's the results that count. However...

Chris, we carry light kits with us because we don't know what sort of situations we will be shooting in, and want to be prepared for various scenarios. There is always a reluctance to spend money on lighting, but eventually you will learn that the quality of your light is what makes your projects, well, shine. It is much harder to light with DIY gear than with pro equipment. And while I like the JTL Everlight Kit, it is not the whole deal. I also recommend you add at least a LTM Pepper 420 fresnel for variety. If you want to keep the kit tight, pull out one of the JTL lamps, and replace it with the Pepper. The Pepper will fit nicely in the compartment formerly occupied by the JTL light, and will use the JTL stand. Now you have a very versatile kit, that will serve you well in many, many situations. (Check out some of the work I did with this kit at
http://www.digitalprods.com/LSmontage This kit with the additional Pepper with barndoors will run about $800.00)

Eventually, you may want to add a Source 4 Jr for even more versatility.

Good luck

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old August 8th, 2004, 11:02 PM   #4
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Re: Re: Variation of 3-light for interview

<<<-- Originally posted by Chris L. Gray : Hmm. just had a long convo with a friend of mine who has the DVX100. Aftwards, I've just ordered the Tiffen Film Look and Video Essentials kits from B&H. Will try this again once I've received them. -->>>

Cancel the order and put the money towards a lighting kit and a few good books. Learn more about the craft before you start needlessly spending. It's best to fully understand the basics before relying on filtration. John Jackmans lighting book comes to mind.

Good lighting is paramount to good video.

They'll be lots more chances to spend money. As the president of Gear Sluts Anonymous I can attest to that.
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Old August 9th, 2004, 01:10 AM   #5
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Thanks Wayne and Bryan.

I should have shared early on that I plan to do a documentary that will primarly rely upon the indoor interviews that will look very similar to the clip posted... likely in front of that same wall.

There'll also be a few daytime outdoor shots used for b roll and as conceived, I don't see where we'll do any indoor shots that will require exceptional lighting. But I could easily be wrong.

I do realize that I will have to make a few more purchases down the road and was wondering what would be needed to complete this first project.

After reading your reply Wayne, I certainly understand the importance of having a good lighting kit. I just wonder if it's something that I need to do right now with this project or could it wait a bit longer after buying a mic or two.

It's very exciting, yet frustrating trying to figure out how to line up the proverbial ducks in a row.
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Old August 9th, 2004, 01:16 AM   #6
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Believe me, those film and video filter kit's wouldn't be used effectively. buy filters as you need them.
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Old August 9th, 2004, 03:09 PM   #7
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lighting examples

(Hopefully these small images will hold up as examples)

The following screen grabs are from a doc where two lights were used on the subject and one light was used on the background:

http://www.nolongerifilms.com/images/40dop/gg.jpg
http://www.nolongerifilms.com/images/40dop/sh.jpg
http://www.nolongerifilms.com/images/40dop/cf.jpg

I find it better to light and shoot as clean as I can and alter the look in post rather than shooting with filters. The exception to this rule is the ND filter which I almost always use in order to open the aperture as wide as possible allowing for a more shallow depth of field.

Dan
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Old August 9th, 2004, 03:18 PM   #8
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Dan,

In the cf.jpg shot, where were your two lights for the subject positioned? Looks like one was camera right a bit..the 2nd? Behind her head?

Also, there's just one other light in that shot.. on the pictures hanging in the background? No overhead lights on the chairs, etc?

Thanks.
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Old August 9th, 2004, 03:37 PM   #9
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Chris,

The key light was used CAMERA RIGHT (positioned more or less in a "Rembrandt" position--though it's hard to tell because the subject turned her head to her right)

The backlight is obvious.

The third light "rims" or "cuts" the chairs in the background.

The lights you see on the wall are from the overhead lights in the room, and obviously the big "light" in the sky coming through the window.

If you didn't understand what I meant by "Rembrandt" earlier, you should definitely check out the Rembrandt lighting technique. The following is not a plug for the movie necessarily (although I enjoyed it), but if you saw Spiderman 2 you saw Rembrandt lighting in action.

Another very important thing to remember is that some of your best "lights" aren't lights at all--they are surfaces such as bounce cards or reflectors that act as lights. If you want your subject to come alive, give them "eye lights." There are many ways to do this, but one way is to bounce light off a big white bounce card at the correct angle to where you actually see the white card in the color of their eyes from the camera's position.
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Old August 9th, 2004, 04:50 PM   #10
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Dan,

Just did some reading up on the Rembrandt lighting technique..interesting and more appealing for what I'd like to do. Thanks for the tips.

I did see Spiderman2, but unfortunately we made it to the theatre too late and had to sit in the seats in the very front. The theatre has stadium seating and it was bewildering to see that close and off to the left aisle.

So it may take seeing it again (at home) or checking out a trailer to see how it was used in the movie.

Take care.
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