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Old February 21st, 2012, 09:30 AM   #16
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ 85260
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Re: to light talking head in small space-softbox vs fresnel

Originally Posted by Chuck Fishbein View Post
"@Rob Katz: Can you update this thread? How did it go? What did you use? "

I actually ended up as the DP on this shoot and it turned out very well.

Because of the limited space and Rob's (necessary) concerns about the room heating up, I used LED lights from both Cool Lights and Lite Panels. The Cool Light 1200 LED is daylight/tungsten variable and it was easy to match with the Lite Panel Micros which were left unfiltered for daylight. With the Cool Light as a main-light, the micros were great for hair and side highlights. There was lots of controlled light and no heat. The only tweaking needed between shots was to adjust for the subject's height.

The main light was diffused using tissue paper (again, no heat from LEDs), but a "cutter" or "gobo" (black flag) over the subjects head would have helped keep any light spill off the background, as the shooting area was even tighter than described. Still, as it was a black background, it worked out fine

Fortunately, Rob is a skilled interviewer, and he managed to get terrific responses from each of the participants in the allotted time.

"Whoever designed the parameters of this gig is kinda clueless. "

Au contrare, Bill, Rob is actually quite brilliant. His client laid out the parameters and rather than say "that's impossible, it can't be done" he's worked on a solution that would service his client and also get him paid. And he did it by asking tons of questions, which is how he learns.

"Trying to achieve perfect "60 minutes" lighting in a situation like this is nuts"

But we did it. Some gigs allow lots of time, like interviewing pharmaceutical reps, or the principal of your local high school, but for many, "you've got ten minutes" is a common war cry when you're filming a politician, rock star or sports personality. So, figuring out your lighting configuration in advance is actually a pretty smart move.

Finally " Put EVERYTHING on AUTO."

Honestly, this would have been a disaster on auto. The black background would easily fool the camera's sensor and overexpose the subjects. Audio on auto would continuously rise and fall picking up every ambient sound and possibly clip the first words of each speaker as it jumped to lower the volume.

First and foremost, I'm glad things turned out well.

But saw this after a while and what stood out to me was your first line...

"I actually ended up as DP on this shoot."

That's a simple fact that changes "everything" about the dynamics of the shoot.

In the original post, the entire setup was phrased as "I have to..." which implied that Rob was working as a "one man band.."

In that context I stand firmly behind my advice.

I simply don't think a single person can do two totally separate jobs simultaneously. You can't be adjusting lights - while simultaneously "connecting" with your interview subject.

The moment you "hire a DP" - the whole dynamic changes. Now one person can concentrate on getting the "look" right, while the other concentrates on the interview. Win/win.

My overall point was that if you have to BALANCE those two roles, I firmly believe that the interview is significantly MORE important than the lighting in the same way that the majority of the time, the audio is more important than the video in any interview. If you can HEAR the subject, communication still takes place and the audience is informed. If you can see them, but can't hear what they're saying, all the perfect lighting in the world won't help the audience understand the CONTENT of the message.

As a producer, if I can't have the best of both by spending more, I'll trade 90% better content for 50% poorer lighting (which I can often improve in post), every time.

Simple as that.
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