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Old July 9th, 2007, 04:36 AM   #1
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interview lighting

I was watching richard gere on the Actor's Studio. they use that black background, kind of like charlie rose uses.

What's the best way to create that? I have an interview with two HD100's and was interested in using that backdrop. What are the considerations? I noticed the backlight or halo light seems essential to create a little depth. Do you just stretch heavy duty black fabric? How to?
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Old July 9th, 2007, 06:27 AM   #2
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Yes black fabric is pretty crucial to creating "black limbo" effect as it's known. But the thing that really helps is keeping your lighting very directed and not letting it spill anywhere it shouldn't--particularly anywhere away from the interviewer and interviewee. Black duvetyn in the background, barndoors and/or flags around the lights to keep them from falling any farther than the subjects. That should help a lot.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 07:58 AM   #3
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Egg crates on your lights also help a lot.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 01:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Egg crates on your lights also help a lot
I totally agree.For a really black background you need to have a dark room and lights that don't create spill. This is more important than the black cloth, I think.

I recently played with a mistral 6x55W fluorescent with a metal honeycomb (the honeycomb has a very narrow angle). This light has no spill and I was able to create a pitch black background where in reality was a blue curtain. I really love these lights, but unfortunately they are very big and heavy so I never get to use them in the field.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 08:03 PM   #5
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Keep your reflections dowm

all good info. One more thing about your fabric for the backdrop.
Try to pick a fabric that is very non-reflective.
Duvateen (spelling) is a theatric fabric epecially for this, that has a very slight nap to one side of it that helps reduce any reflectivity.

The egg crates on your key light will help alot.
Pick up a roll of cinefoil for your other lights, if you
do not have any flags or scrims.

And finally, just use a reflector for your fill light instead of an actual light fixture. It will give a nice modeled look and be one less light source that you have to work at keeping off the background.

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Old July 11th, 2007, 09:02 AM   #6
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The combination of distance between camera-subject-background is perhaps the most important formula for all interviews set-up, including those with black backgrounds. Distance will not only give you depth and separation but by increasing the distance between the lights and the background you will also reduce (not eliminate) the problems of spilling lights.

A grid, honeycomb or any other method to contain the light is always important for quality interviews, but even more important is the direction of the key light. Grids or no grids if you are positioning the key directly in front of the subject, as it’s the most popular method for television, the light will shine into the background. For a perfect “limbo” look a 45 or 90 degrees light will keep the light off the background. These light positions will also give you more modeling and a more dramatic look, something that usually goes well with black backgrounds set-ups.

Light bouncing off the wall or ceiling might also prevent the background from going totally black. Use black cloth on the walls and flag off the top of the light. Light color floors might also create problems, be prepared to also lay black cloth on the floor.

A good supply of black fabrics in many sizes is an inexpensive and indispensable tool for quality photography.

You can see additional examples of black backgrounds set-ups here.

http://efplighting.com/?Backgrounds:...amp%3B_Fabrics
http://efplighting.com/?Building_grids
http://efplighting.com/?Lighting_int...The_Fill_Light
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Old July 18th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #7
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As a follow up, the guy I'm doing the interview for asked why I wanted to use the limbo look for the interview. The real answer is I can't think of anything else, and that last interview I did this guy complained about my choice of set design. So here's what I told him: that the limbo look allows for dramatic lighting and helps focus the viewers attention on the actual content the subject is providing.

Question: what IS the reason the limbo look is used?
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Old July 18th, 2007, 12:45 PM   #8
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you nailed it.
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Old July 18th, 2007, 03:59 PM   #9
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Going back a few years, black or limbo background was used for luminance keying, same principle as chroma key but instead of using colors (chrominance) the black and white of the image (luminance) was used. Before the digital age creating quality chromakeying required additional expensive equipment.

There are some samples on EFPlighting.com links above that were done only a few years ago using luminance keying.

In today’s world black or limbo is used primarily for a dramatic effect or when you have to put something quick together and have no time or lights to fuss with a background.
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Old July 18th, 2007, 08:41 PM   #10
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How about this:

The ease of setting up lights and camera is inversely proportional to the visual appeal of the background. Budget is the variable that can change this factor. Double the budget and it is either half as difficult to light or the background is twice as interesting.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #11
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3/4 the work to set-up an interview is dedicated to the background, sometime even more. Subject lighting is pretty much of a set formula with few variables. On ESPN Classic interviews we allowed on the average two to three hours for set-up. We used one single light on the subject and as many as 12 lights on the background. Most of the set-up was done in hotel suites and not only we brought our own props including large wall framed artworks but also small pieces of furniture.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 10:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nino Giannotti View Post
3/4 the work to set-up an interview is dedicated to the background, sometime even more. Subject lighting is pretty much of a set formula with few variables.
Your site is great, learned a lot from it.
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