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Old June 25th, 2013, 02:46 PM   #1
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What's wrong with this setup?

Hi,

I am setting up for an interview and can't figure out what looks really good or what is wrong with these. Can someone point out what I should change in this set up? How is the lighting? What about the framing? In the first image the head is just on the green background on the second image there are books behind, what is more pleasing? My head is spinning :(

Images attached
Thanks
Attached Thumbnails
What's wrong with this setup?-test1.jpg   What's wrong with this setup?-test2.jpg  

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Old June 25th, 2013, 03:52 PM   #2
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

I like the left one better, it's more balanced, allthough the right one isn't bad either :).
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Old June 25th, 2013, 04:04 PM   #3
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

That's a tough one, since there is nothing wrong. I'm also voting for the left image. It looks more natural. The harsher shadows on his face also give the interviewee more character. The right image makes the interviewee pop out more as far as light goes, but also flattens his face somewhat - personally I like faces to show character.
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Old June 25th, 2013, 04:44 PM   #4
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

I like the lighting on the right and the framing on the left.

Eyes are in the right place in the left photo - too much headroom on the right example.
Have him sit the same way as in the left photo, but I'd move him just a tad to the left to better balance the frame.
I like lighting interviews so the key is coming rom the short side of the face (like in the right hand example)
The light in right hand photo is good intensity, but seems too orange. Try adding a 1/2 CTB gel to balance it.

Just my opinion. Do what you like best!
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Old June 25th, 2013, 05:07 PM   #5
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I like the left one better, it's more balanced, allthough the right one isn't bad either :).
Thank you.
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Old June 25th, 2013, 05:08 PM   #6
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruben Kremer View Post
That's a tough one, since there is nothing wrong. I'm also voting for the left image. It looks more natural. The harsher shadows on his face also give the interviewee more character. The right image makes the interviewee pop out more as far as light goes, but also flattens his face somewhat - personally I like faces to show character.
Also, thank you too
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Old June 25th, 2013, 05:14 PM   #7
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Haustein View Post
I like the lighting on the right and the framing on the left.

Eyes are in the right place in the left photo - too much headroom on the right example.
Have him sit the same way as in the left photo, but I'd move him just a tad to the left to better balance the frame.
I like lighting interviews so the key is coming rom the short side of the face (like in the right hand example)
The light in right hand photo is good intensity, but seems too orange. Try adding a 1/2 CTB gel to balance it.

Just my opinion. Do what you like best!
OK specific questions for you.

1. Where exactly should the eyes be? I have to redo the same setup with different person so I want to make sure I know where to have them look. SHould the interviewee sit just to the left of the camera? What do you mean too much headroom in the right example? They seem to have the same amount of headroom on both images

2. I don't have gels but I think switching the bulbs to daylight will achieve the same thing, right?
Right now I have 2 daylight and 2 tungstens on my kino divas as for some reason I felt his face looked kind of "cold"

3. I kind of felt this was looking a bit flat. You think the intensity of the lights is good?
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Old June 25th, 2013, 07:40 PM   #8
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Hi Kathy,

1) All I'm really talking about is the "rule of thirds" and keeping the eyes one third of the way down the screen. If you change your focal length or zoom in (your two examples are slightly different) you might also need to do a slight reframing of the subject so that they don't look too "short" on screen. See my attached grabs to see what I mean by this. The second has been adjusted to a point where I think the subject looks more confident and prominent in the shot.

2) After another look on a decent monitor, the color mix looks pretty good. I might do 3 blue / 1 orange, but thats personal taste.

3) It is a little flat - perhaps some of the issue is he's facing nearly straight-on to the camera. Turning just a few degrees to the left (his right) might give the contrast ratios you're looking for. Otherwise, add some negative fill to the right side of the face.

Let us know how it turns out, setup looks really great!
Attached Thumbnails
What's wrong with this setup?-before.jpg   What's wrong with this setup?-after.jpg  

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Old June 25th, 2013, 10:32 PM   #9
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Haustein View Post
Hi Kathy,

1) All I'm really talking about is the "rule of thirds" and keeping the eyes one third of the way down the screen. If you change your focal length or zoom in (your two examples are slightly different) you might also need to do a slight reframing of the subject so that they don't look too "short" on screen. See my attached grabs to see what I mean by this. The second has been adjusted to a point where I think the subject looks more confident and prominent in the shot.

2) After another look on a decent monitor, the color mix looks pretty good. I might do 3 blue / 1 orange, but thats personal taste.

3) It is a little flat - perhaps some of the issue is he's facing nearly straight-on to the camera. Turning just a few degrees to the left (his right) might give the contrast ratios you're looking for. Otherwise, add some negative fill to the right side of the face.

Let us know how it turns out, setup looks really great!
1. Nate, totally agree that your crop looks much better and that's what I normally try to do, what's strange is that I have been pointed out on 3 different occasions by 3 different people (who obviously have no idea) that I need to reframe because I am cropping the head, when I tell them that it looks good that way they look at me like I am from another planet.

2. Will try 3 blue and 1 orange

3. Great, I will try negative fill.

4. Also, how do you guys deal with glasses??? I think the guy I am shooting tomorrow wears glasses and when I tried glasses today I was having horrible reflections. I tried repositioning the light but it didn't d anything. I think I will just ask him to take them off

I will let you know how it turns out.
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Old June 25th, 2013, 11:14 PM   #10
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Kathy are you shooting 720 or 1080.

If you're shooting 1080 i wouldn't worry about being so tight. I would crop it in post. it works in 720 as well.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 12:55 AM   #11
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Hi Kathy,

The answer to your original question is, it depends on what you're trying to achieve. Both could use a little tweaking. Both are have flat lighting which could be good if your subject matter is very clinical and suppose to be somewhat void of emotion. If you want to add a little dramatic flare you could cut the light on the right side of his face and kick up the light a little more on left side. One of the things is you have a large window which should be the main light source or your key, Because of how you have the subject with the window flat behind him, your strongest source is basically on his back. So it appears you tried to light camera side to achieve somewhat even lighting between the subject and the background. The problem with this is that it creates a flat image. You could have angled him more to the window to have him more side light, used less fill on this non camera side, and just a small light to give a bit of eye light. You could even just bounce some light in with a white card. I would have also tried to rearrange the books and background so that you get a little more color behind him.

As for framing, I tend to like tight framing for interviews. If I go above the armpits I usually give the subject a slight haircut. The picture on the left feels off because of the negative space between the subject and the book case. It creates a white line almost giving a feeling of a split screen

Because of the DOF you've chosen, the framing on the right gives a little depth to the shot and sets the subject apart from the background. Remember, your background is an important part of you framing. think of it as another character. Use it to enhance what your subject is talking about.

The rule of thirds should be thought of more in terms of a hierarchy. The first things you notice are those subjects that are framed at the intersections of the thirds lines. In the west we start at the upper left, if we don't find anything there we're interested in, we move to the upper right, and then usually work our way around in a clockwise direction, If we don't find anything on the intersections, we move to the lines themselves, Starting on the top horizontal line, then the bottom horizontal, then the left vertical and finally the right vertical. If we don't find anything on those lines, we move to the third boxes themselves. Again starting in the upper left working clockwise. Finally, if we don't find anything interesting there, we move to the rows of thirds followed by the columns looking for things that interest us. That happens in about a 1/10th of a second. More important than landing something on the intersections, is to have a balanced frame. It actually sets up the order of importance in your frame.

Thinking in those terms, you can see that the frame on the left has some interesting composition going on. It feels a bit off to me because the subject is acting on the left column, the bookcase is a bit too prominent and is taking up almost a quarter of the frame with an almost white block and is acting on the horizontal, the upper and half of the middle row. That sets up a struggle for us to decide which is more important. Then, with the negative space of the window column in the background, we expect to see two equally important subjects, one on the left and one on the right. But we only have the one subject so it feels like there's too much space on the left side of the frame. If there was something very important or interesting that added to what the subject was talking about, on the left side, the framing on the left would work.

The framing on the right is tighter so its easier to just focus on the man. But if that were the only framing used for the entire interview, you'd get bored.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 01:01 AM   #12
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Glasses are always an issue to deal with. The key is to set up your lighting and camera angles correctly. Another trick is to use a polarizing filter. It's how we get those clear shots through car windshields.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 03:23 AM   #13
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Gardner View Post
Kathy are you shooting 720 or 1080.

If you're shooting 1080 i wouldn't worry about being so tight. I would crop it in post. it works in 720 as well.
Actually, I am shooting using a 2.5K camera so that gives me even more room to crop, correct?
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Old June 26th, 2013, 03:32 AM   #14
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
Hi Kathy,

The answer to your original question is, it depends on what you're trying to achieve. Both could use a little tweaking. Both are have flat lighting which could be good if your subject matter is very clinical and suppose to be somewhat void of emotion. If you want to add a little dramatic flare you could cut the light on the right side of his face and kick up the light a little more on left side. One of the things is you have a large window which should be the main light source or your key, Because of how you have the subject with the window flat behind him, your strongest source is basically on his back. So it appears you tried to light camera side to achieve somewhat even lighting between the subject and the background. The problem with this is that it creates a flat image. You could have angled him more to the window to have him more side light, used less fill on this non camera side, and just a small light to give a bit of eye light. You could even just bounce some light in with a white card. I would have also tried to rearrange the books and background so that you get a little more color behind him.

As for framing, I tend to like tight framing for interviews. If I go above the armpits I usually give the subject a slight haircut. The picture on the left feels off because of the negative space between the subject and the book case. It creates a white line almost giving a feeling of a split screen

Because of the DOF you've chosen, the framing on the right gives a little depth to the shot and sets the subject apart from the background. Remember, your background is an important part of you framing. think of it as another character. Use it to enhance what your subject is talking about.

The rule of thirds should be thought of more in terms of a hierarchy. The first things you notice are those subjects that are framed at the intersections of the thirds lines. In the west we start at the upper left, if we don't find anything there we're interested in, we move to the upper right, and then usually work our way around in a clockwise direction, If we don't find anything on the intersections, we move to the lines themselves, Starting on the top horizontal line, then the bottom horizontal, then the left vertical and finally the right vertical. If we don't find anything on those lines, we move to the third boxes themselves. Again starting in the upper left working clockwise. Finally, if we don't find anything interesting there, we move to the rows of thirds followed by the columns looking for things that interest us. That happens in about a 1/10th of a second. More important than landing something on the intersections, is to have a balanced frame. It actually sets up the order of importance in your frame.

Thinking in those terms, you can see that the frame on the left has some interesting composition going on. It feels a bit off to me because the subject is acting on the left column, the bookcase is a bit too prominent and is taking up almost a quarter of the frame with an almost white block and is acting on the horizontal, the upper and half of the middle row. That sets up a struggle for us to decide which is more important. Then, with the negative space of the window column in the background, we expect to see two equally important subjects, one on the left and one on the right. But we only have the one subject so it feels like there's too much space on the left side of the frame. If there was something very important or interesting that added to what the subject was talking about, on the left side, the framing on the left would work.

The framing on the right is tighter so its easier to just focus on the man. But if that were the only framing used for the entire interview, you'd get bored.
Thank you so much Garrett for the detailed explanation. WOW, there is so much to learn. I will tweak the scene a bit. I am going to have to stay with this direction of light as there is no space for me to move. This office is super tight. I'll just make the best out of it.
And thanks for the polarizer tip. I have not thought of it but it makes sense!
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Old June 26th, 2013, 05:19 AM   #15
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Re: What's wrong with this setup?

Kathy,

I have found Den Lennie a great source of good learning information at F Stop Academy - you might want to look at How To Shoot Interviews - F-Stop Academy - I found it an excellent source of tips and inspiration.

Not at all theoretical classes, but on the job demonstrations.
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