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Old January 1st, 2007, 02:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Randolph
Bruce, I shoot on location so I was interested in a portable solution. I bought a roll of seamless paper from the local still photo store ($44) and a stand system that fits nicely into an included case ($159). The stand system takes about 15-20 minutes to set up, but it's pretty easy, even for a one man band operation. I can get other rolls of paper in just about any color, or if the mood hits me, muslin can also be used off of the same stand system. The rolls I use are 10 ft in width, but I also carry a couple of 53" width rolls incase I don't have a large enough space for the 10 ft roll.

Hope this answers your question, Bruce.

Thanks,
Kevin
Isn't there a way just by control of lighting?
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Old January 1st, 2007, 04:56 PM   #17
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pair of 10k's on the subject choked so the background gets no light. ND the camera so the subject is exposed correctly. Black cloth is cheaper ;)
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Old January 1st, 2007, 06:05 PM   #18
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[QUOTE=Kevin Randolph]Thanks for the advice everybody. Yes I was disappointed when she showed up in the black blouse and I knew we would be shooting against a black background. I thought the backlight was strong enough but general consensus here seems to be that it wasn't, correct? I was afraid of blowing out the highlights around her. Should I have broadened the beam to more fully cover each shoulder and pumped up the intensity a bit more? Perhaps placing the light more behind her, and less on top of her?

Kevin,

Don't be too hard on yourself. The single most important element in the frame is the subject's FACE. That's what we watch for all the most important visual clues about what she's saying and how she's feeling. You NAILED the lighting on her face. She's easily visible, not blown out or too dark to make out expression details.

The rest of what we're all saying is a discussion of the little variations in approach that helps you get from competent to excellent. Don't mistake what we're saying for "you did something WRONG" - you did not.

Light the subjects face correctly FIRST AND FOREMOST and THEN work on all the little things - many of which Dan and others here suggested - that can elevate your shot from good to great.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 06:19 PM   #19
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yes, first and foremost, did you get the footage in the can? If so, everything else is learning curve.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 09:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Wiley
Dan's advice is excellent, but I am not sure I know what he means by "jewel tones?" Pastels?
Think of the emperors bag of riches, what kinds of color tones are in it? Royal Blue, Chinese Red, Gold, Coppper, Amethyst, etc. Bright, but not overly saturated colors. Pastels work but I prefer more saturated colors. With the advent of HD and clean NTSC/PAL dvds sometimes hooked up in component, a lot colors that we used to avoid like the plague in the days of VHS and lower res broadcast are now usable. I still avoid pinks and purples but bright blues, yellows and reds are somewhat usable nowdays.

HTH

Dan
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Old January 1st, 2007, 09:57 PM   #21
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[QUOTE=Bill Davis]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Randolph
Thanks for the advice everybody. Yes I was disappointed when she showed up in the black blouse and I knew we would be shooting against a black background. I thought the backlight was strong enough but general consensus here seems to be that it wasn't, correct? I was afraid of blowing out the highlights around her. Should I have broadened the beam to more fully cover each shoulder and pumped up the intensity a bit more? Perhaps placing the light more behind her, and less on top of her?

Kevin,

Don't be too hard on yourself. The single most important element in the frame is the subject's FACE. That's what we watch for all the most important visual clues about what she's saying and how she's feeling. You NAILED the lighting on her face. She's easily visible, not blown out or too dark to make out expression details.

The rest of what we're all saying is a discussion of the little variations in approach that helps you get from competent to excellent. Don't mistake what we're saying for "you did something WRONG" - you did not.

Light the subjects face correctly FIRST AND FOREMOST and THEN work on all the little things - many of which Dan and others here suggested - that can elevate your shot from good to great.
I agree, you did not do a bad job, I was just posting for improvements in what you are doing.

Best,

Dan
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 06:45 PM   #22
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Another frame grab from a different video

Here's another frame grab from another interview. I know I'm still black background happy, but I thought that I'd put it out here for feedback. Once again, please be critical - but be constructive. If you can point out something that could be better at least give me a hint on how...

Thanks Again,
Kevin
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Feedback on Interview Lighting-lorie-000029-21.jpg  
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 10:28 PM   #23
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Forget about the background, you have other issues to deal with. There are certain techniques for photographing challenging subjects and you have one here. The basic rule is that when you have too much of a person you have to show less, less is better.

Yuor camer angle is too low, raise it just enough so you will not shoot up her nostrils, this will also minimize seeing the double chin.

The interviewer can sit a little higher forcing the subject to raise her head slightly and stretch out the double chin making the entire face appears slimmer. Also have the subject lean slightly forward and preferably sit on the front edge of the chair rather than against the backrest, this will also force the subject to sit taller, will reduce the double chin and gravity will help the rest.

Have the interviewer sit a little more away from the camera, this will force the subject to turn slightly more sideway making part of the right side of her face disappear resulting in a thinner looking face. But you still have her left side of the face to deal with. When it doesnít look good make it darker. Looks like you are using a reflector for fill, lose it, or if thatís a natural fill use a black cloth or a black sheet of foamcore to block any light from reaching the shadow side of the face.

Use a large and soft light source as a key light. If you donít have a softbox (you should if you do interviews) bounce the light against a white board or shine it thru a diffuser.

Position the keylight at a true 45 degree or even at 90 degrees. The wraparound effect of a large light will shine gradually in the shadow side of the face but will stop from reaching the entire shadow side making the face appear slimmer.

Use a longer lens setting to slightly compress the image and crop the shot. The curve of the shoulder is making this person look really round; if you crop the shot at the shoulder you donít see what outside the camera view.

Her upper chest is hot, IRE hot that is. This too makes the person appear large. Use a flag or an open ended screen to reduce the light. If you donít have a flag an inexpensive sheet of black foamcore will also do the trick.

If you have a similar subject who do not wear glasses, another lighting technique for photographing challenging subjects is to use a single Fresnel light as a key light, a 300w will do it. Place a diffusion gel on the light and place the light high and in front of the subject. Do you see the little shadow that you have right now on the left side of her nose? If the light is placed correctly that shadow should be directly under her nose and half way between her nose and the upper lip. Close the barn door on the Fresnel so you will have a sleeve of light that will illuminate only her features.

There are many more techniques when dealing with challenging subjects, but this should get you started.

Nino

www.EFPlighting.com
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 09:19 AM   #24
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I agree!

Hi all:

Nino, great advice, all right on the money. With a person of this size, anything you can do as a cinematographer to make them look as good as they can look is your duty. With women in general, always have the camera higher than their eyeline. A 3/4 oblique pose is the most flattering to a person like this so make sure that their body is at angle to the camera axis but not so far that you don't see both eyes.

I also agree about the tighter framing, seeing less of this person't size is going to be less distracting and let the viewer connect by seeing her eyes and facial expressions.

Your lighting in general is much better on this one but still looks a bit flat on her face to me. I would also have taken that lavaliere and gotten rid of the tie clip and replaced it with a vampire clip. I would have them clipped it inside her sweater, right at the apex of the "V" just below where you clipped it. With this lighting, I find the lavaliere distracting and it draws the eye to her body, which is also distracting. In an interview, you always want all of the attention toward the eyes and face. Since she is wearing glasses, that is already another distraction against seeing her eyes.

Keep on shooting and improving. Just remember that square on to camera is not a flattering pose for almost anyone.

Best,

Dan
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 12:11 PM   #25
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Although I tend to agree with the previous two...what is the topic of the piece she is being interviewed for? If the topic were obesity or treatments therefor, accententuating her size may be better for the purpose of the piece.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 01:08 PM   #26
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I like first lighting setup. Nothing distracted your mind from her face. To me it is the important element, and it looks very good. Rest of her is not so attractive, so i would keep it in the shadow, that person and viewers would thank you.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 07:19 PM   #27
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I am a little bit late on this post but I have a link that covers a couple of techniques when lighting people who are dark complected or are wearing glasses.

I tend to use a 500 watt soft box for the key placed at somewhere around the 10 o'clock and a back/hair light at 5 o'clock, and the fill at 3 or 4 o'clock. For the fill I use a piece of white foam core attached to a light stand with a home depot clamp. I got a lot of inspiration and results from the digital juice website. I recommend the link below for starters then watch another of Digital Juice's talents named Perry J. He is a one man operation and you can learn a lot from some of his techniques.

http://www.digitaljuice.com/djtv/seg...how=all_videos
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Old January 24th, 2007, 12:59 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Randolph
Here's another frame grab from another interview. I know I'm still black background happy, but I thought that I'd put it out here for feedback. Once again, please be critical - but be constructive. If you can point out something that could be better at least give me a hint on how...
Kevin, you would do well to read and heed Nino's comments. He is a long time veteran and has probably done interviews numbering in the thousands. Go take a look at his new website. A true gentleman for sharing this much knowledge for free.

Good luck and keep learning,

-gb-
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Old January 25th, 2007, 12:00 AM   #29
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Thank you all very much for responding to my post. I do really appreciate your feedback and plan to take it to heart. After reading what you had to say, I can clearly see where I could have made this shot better now. I'll try to keep your tips in mind and see if she will let me reshoot this "interview" (she is a friend of mine and this interview was set up so that I could play with some new equipment that I had just ordered). I'll see if I can post an interview shot in the near future in which I can correct for these issues.

I do think that part of the issue of her, and the previous frame grab as well, looking really round is that I shot these two interviews in 4x3, but when I save the still image I'm not getting the right pixel shape (square vs rectangle). I do understand that she is... well really round, and that the lighting can minimize that look, but there is some play here with the pixel shape.

Anyway, I plan to post another interview grab soon and I hope that things will look better...

Thanks again,
Kevin

P.S. - Nino, I really appreciate the detailed feedback that included the tips for improvement. All good points...
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Old January 25th, 2007, 02:34 AM   #30
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Great comments, particularly from Nino and Dan.

Even if I don't know I agree with some of them, particularly on how the subject will sit or where it will look at relatively to the camera.

Besides the lighting tips, which being a DP myself I certainly value, there is the relationship subject/camera which I think altogether very important, perhaps even more than all the rest or almost so.

I have been shooting and editing several documentaries that I myself shot, interviewing lots of people. After that I have probably become a "talking-head freak", paying attention to The History Channel interviews (just to name one) as compared to what I did.

Let's start with the subject position and viewing direction.

1) Sorry to say this, but I am convinced the subject should sit a bit uncomfortably. Nino hints at this when he says "...have the subject lean slightly forward and preferably sit on the front edge of the chair rather than against the backrest, this will also force the subject to sit taller". Certainly so! There's more to that: an uncomfortable person will not stay still, but move around more, giving some internal "action" to the shot. They will tell their thing more dynamically, probably using their hands more or more body language. This is great for the shot. Be careful: unrest is not the same as nervous. This effect is very subtle. Try it and see.

2) The closer the interviewer sits to the camera, the more personal the relationship viewer/subject on the screen later on will be. Not having the viewer looking at the camera, of course. If the subject looks more to the side, the viewer will unconsciouly expect a shot of the interviewer, which in most cases (like on mine) never will happen.

These have been some (surprising) findings that I came to realize when I started this unexpected documentary turn in my life. Item 1 was particularly interesting, as I could have never thought that might be an issue.


Carlos

Last edited by Carlos E. Martinez; January 25th, 2007 at 03:15 AM.
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