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Old November 11th, 2007, 07:52 PM   #1
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Interview test footage / Need Feedback

Here is some test footage I took that I would like some feedback on. I put numbers on the bottom right of each scene so you guys can reference them when critiquing.

Thanks!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=iOeTw-CXECA
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Old November 11th, 2007, 10:11 PM   #2
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Setup 1

Like:
Catch lights in the eyes - well done, well placed
Subject on the right side of the frame with good talk room on the left
Overall the lighting is nice and soft - soft is usually very good on women

Wish:
I wish the hair light wasn't so strong or was up higher so that there wan't such a destinct shadow of her head on her chest
I wish her eyes were up higher in the frame. She looks short when she's sunk in the frame
I wish she wasn't sitting on a couch with a high back. It makes separating the subject from the background easier.


Setup 2

Like
Hairlight is really good
Eye level in the frame is good

Wish
Had the talk room like Setup 1
Had the catchlights from Setup 1
The keylight was on the other side of her face. I generally like narrow lighting for interviews, not broad lighting
She had better posture - hard to do on a couch

Overall I think you're off to a good start on interviewing and lighting for interview. We all have room for improvement though (especially me). If you want me to, I'll leave comments on your other setups later. Always keep improving, never be satasfied.

Hope this helps...

Kevin
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Old November 11th, 2007, 11:36 PM   #3
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Thanks a lot for the feedback so far Kevin, I totally see what your talking about and this is exactly why I posted the video on this forum. Great suggestions.

What do you mean by narrow lighting for interviews, not broad lighting?

Please feel free to comment on the other setups when you have time.
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Old November 11th, 2007, 11:50 PM   #4
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Oliver, I really liked the first framing/set-up, and the last one (1 and 5). I'm not going to pick apart the others, because it was more culmination of subjective things that I think you're already aware of.

On shot one, my only concern would just be she has a strong shadow below her face, I guess coming from a hard light source. Other than that, it looked good.

A suggestion I would have that is totally subjective is that you could tint the hair light more. I use Bastard Amber (that's what its called!). You could also light the background with a colored light, and maybe throw something in front to create shadows. A cookie, plant, blinds on a stand. All of that is subjective though. I thought the shots looked good. Here's a jpeg of what I mean, a still from an interview I did with my XL2...
Attached Thumbnails
Interview test footage / Need Feedback-annette2.jpg  
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Old November 12th, 2007, 12:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bert Smyth View Post
On shot one, my only concern would just be she has a strong shadow below her face, I guess coming from a hard light source. Other than that, it looked good.
I didn't even notice that shadow until you pointed it out... Looks like its coming from the hair light which is almost above her head. You think if I moved the hair light higher or further back it would get rid of it?

Thanks Bert.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 12:17 AM   #6
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Yep, that should work. I try to get my hairlights up really high, and angle it really steeply down. In the shot I included I'm using an Arri D4 kit, soft bank is the key, 150w for the hairlight gelled with... Bastard Amber! Ha, I said it again! One thing I had to get used to was really "skimming" the back of the talent with the hairlight, so that I too, didn't get that shadow below their face (the 150 was spotted, with only the gel, no diffusion).
My buddy who is a better DP than me always reminds me to turn each individual light on and off so I can see what exactly its doing for me, and I found this really helps to convince me that the hairlight is doing its job, and not over compensate by angling the light so it spill over too much of the talent and causes unwanted shadows. Hope this makes sense.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 02:23 PM   #7
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Oliver,

For me frame 5 is the best, the catchlights are good and the tighter crop is more dynamic.

It's not just lighting that makes for a great interview shot. Everything in the frame should be considered.

The three biggest problems with all five set-ups have little to do with lighting; the background, the subject's posture and the chair.

The chair is far too big and far too bright - it detracts from the subject. Simple stools and chairs generally work better.

The background has not been considered at all. Create some shadow or choose a better background. Interviews work best when there is a bit of depth in the shot. Often, I'll spend longer lighting the background than the subject.

Also, posture is vital to a good shot. People write books on the subject, but the best advice is simply to avoid shooting people straight on - have them turn a little so their arms and shoulders aren't parallel to the top and bottom of the frame.

Having said all that, I should say well done as you did the best thing which is to experiment.

Keep shooting,

Liam.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 10:53 PM   #8
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Liam, great info. Thanks.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 12:35 PM   #9
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How many lights are you using?

I like number 2. I have to eliminate shadows on the faces for numbers 1 and 3. Also in regards to number 3, windows can add a great light source but not from the back. You run into two possible issues, a strong overexposing glow and darkening of your subject or an ability to see your background and not the foreground.

Your key light, or main light seems to be coming from the light falling on the shoulders. This is an important light to have it but should not be your key. If you can, you should bring down it's intensity, either by moving it back or a gel. I like number 2, 4 and 5 because it looks like you either have a softer light or bounce reflecter on the side to fight the shadows on the face from her left. However, in 4 and 5 the angle of shadow is off, notice the line down the middle of her face. This type of shadow is mostly used when you have a dramatic intense scene, something scary or compelling. In that case the background is typically lit darker. In number 2, the shadow seems to be pushed further to her right and you've almost created the coveted "hollywood V" on her cheeks. It gives her depth as well as warmth and friendlyness.

If you can, get another soft light or even a bouce could work great on the person's right. You don't want to lose all of the shadow but bring it down some.

Lighting can be fun or hard. It just depends on how many you have and how much control you have.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 05:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Barclay View Post
Your key light, or main light seems to be coming from the light falling on the shoulders. This is an important light to have it but should not be your key. If you can, you should bring down it's intensity, either by moving it back or a gel.
Thanks A LOT Thomas. You guys amaze me pointing out all this stuff I never even noticed. VERY helpful.

My exact setup for that test was:
KEY: Lowel DP with a 500 Watt bulb with a Chimera Softbox Small. (4.5 feet away)
HAIR LIGHT: Arri Fresnel 150W (almost directly above the interviewee)
FILL: MultiDisc Collapsible Reflector 5-in-1 using Soft Gold
FILTERS: ALL lights with 1/4 CT Blue filters.
CAMERA: Canon XL1s / F3.4 / Shutter @ 60

Last edited by Oliver Darden; November 13th, 2007 at 09:00 PM.
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