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Old January 9th, 2005, 01:09 PM   #1
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Lighting an Interview

I'm going to shoot some interviews on an XL2 and many of them are going to be in a typical office setting in which there are the overhead flourescent lights. Same goes for a doctor's office.

That said, some locations will require lighting to make the scene look similar to that of the aforementioned office/doctor locations. If you had to buy three lights, what would they be in this situation?

Also, it would be interesting to know what some of you would choose if you were to purhase three lights. I'm essentially looking for lighting that will brightly light the room. Thanks!
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Old January 12th, 2005, 03:04 PM   #2
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If you can, I would turn off the flourescents completely to have total control of the lighting.

An excellent 3 light kit to start with would be the Lowel DVcreator Kit 1.

It has a Tota, Omni and Pro light along with stands, gel frames, barn doors, umbrella, and gels included along with either a hard or soft case.

You can use the Lowel Tota light mounted up high on the stand and pointed upwards to bounce light off the ceiling. That should be plenty enough wattage to light up a small office. You can globe it with a 1000watt light if you need more power.

Use the Pro light for a backlight/ hair light

Use the Omni to splash some color around with Gels or as a kicker light.

Also take a look at some of the stills and videos on the DV Enlightenment DVD web page to get an idea of how lighting works and how you can improve your footage. The videos are on the right side of the page under "video excerpts." They're pretty awesome (shot with an XL1S too).

Chris should be releasing a review shortly on the DVD itself, so you know it's good stuff :)
Guy Cochran
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Old January 14th, 2005, 10:29 PM   #3
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That looks like a decent kit. You may want to get a Rifa Light, or some softbox and speed ring. Any of the lights in the kit work in a Chimera or Photoflex. Usually it's nice to have a soft main light on your talking head and then some fill and a hair light. Maybe something in the background. A folding relector and a means to hold it are also good esp. as a fill light, near a light source, or outdoors. This frees up a light to do something else. Some sandbags to prevent the light stands from being knocked over and a cart to carry everything. I prefer heavier stands, than what Lowel offers. I have been finding many a lighting and grip bargain on eBay. I loves me some ebay!

I agree, if you can scout the locatons before hand and find a place where you can set up your lights and camera, that would be best. You can control the look and maybe make the place look nice. Some gels, and interesting shadows to help break up the background can be good, but less is more. Don't over do it.

It also helps if you have a crew who is familiar with the gear and can help you set it up and adjust as the shoot progresses. Also, depending on what you are doing and how often, you can also rent gear.
Mark Sasahara
Director of Photography
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Old January 15th, 2005, 02:02 AM   #4
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For most interviews, don't you want to use a softbox? Seems like that is a key item missing from the Lowel DVCreator Kit 1. Also, having lights with a dimmer switch seems very useful. But then I'm just learning ...
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Old January 15th, 2005, 11:42 AM   #5
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I like to initially suggest the Lowel DV Creator Kit 1 which includes the tota light with umbrella for a soft key. You can always look at the Lowel DV Creator Kit 44 which includes the 250W Rifa soft box for a bit more of an investment.
I've lit many of interviews with the Tota/Umbrella as I'm sure others here are the board have it too and can attest that it works great - almost an industry standard. The nice thing about the softbox, and why you'll likely step up to one, is that you'll have softer, more pleasing light and more control of it, especially if you add the egg crate. You can direct the light exactly where you want it - without spilling onto the background or onto other objects where you do not want it. The DV Creator Kit 1 does include flags for blocking, they're thin metal sheets with adjustable arms. The softboxes, especially the larger models do have a beautiful "wrap" quality to them. Although even this photo of me was taken with a single Rifa 44, you can see the light subtley wrapping around my face.
I just updated our lighting page to include the Rifa 44 and 55 as separate items so you can always step up from the first kit.
The thing that is truly amazing about the Kit 1 and 44 is how small the carrying case is:

The GO-85 case is 23.75 x 13.5 x 7"

Think about that.

Four lights and four stands plus accesorries in the DV Creator Kit 44. Perfect for the shooter on the run. I know, I spec'd the kit for Lowel and have taken the kit to every major city in the US... twice!

As to a dimmer, I usually avoid them as they change the color temperature of the lights and can cause buzz in your audio.
Globe the lights with lower wattage bulbs, use the barn doors if available, ND gels (included in kit), or simply move the light further away from the subject.
Guy Cochran
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 10:00 PM   #6
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FYI: We bought the DV Enlightenment DVD from here and it was very educational. We wish it had been a bit more in depth as it was far shorter than we expected, but the info that was there was very helpful and it was done with humor and a down to earth demeanor which we appreciated.

We are considering buying one of the lighting kits you suggested. What is the packaging for the largest kit (if the other two fit in one carry case, is the large kit that case plus a light?).


Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks Music Organization
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