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Pro Video Tips
Illustration by John Hersey

Pro Video Tips

with Anthony Q. Artis

Video: Tips for lighting an interview subject

- So what I want to show you guys this week is basically a scenario that I find myself in all the time in corporate and documentary work, and that is having to work with what I've got. So you walk into a room with scenario. That's the only choice that you have to shoot in. I'm always starting with the room. The first thing I'm looking at when I'm setting up for interview or any other kind of scene like this is looking at one of the palette that I have to work with. When I say palette, I mean the things that are already existing in the room as far as the lighting color. Right in this room, I've got these green curtains which I like very much.
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  1. 9m 49s
    1. Tips for lighting an interview subject
      9m 49s
  2. 2m 8s
    1. Intro to Pro Video Tips
      2m 8s
  3. 17m 27s
    1. Controlling reflections in glass
      4m 7s
    2. Managing color with polarizers
      2m 32s
    3. Using a polarizer to adjust skin tones
      2m 0s
    4. Using polarizers when shooting landscapes
      4m 42s
    5. Ten polarizer tips
      4m 6s
  4. 14m 34s
    1. Supplies to get to hide lav mics
      2m 13s
    2. Hiding lavs in collars
      5m 16s
    3. Hiding mics in hair
      2m 17s
    4. Hiding mics in sheer tops
      2m 40s
    5. Hiding transmitter packs on talent
      2m 8s
  5. 34m 25s
    1. Canon C100 overview
      11m 33s
    2. Looking at the Atomos Ninja
      12m 20s
    3. Checking out the C100 menu options
      10m 32s
  6. 10m 28s
    1. Ten tips for set safety
      10m 28s
  7. 9m 18s
    1. Packing a truck
      9m 18s
  8. 19m 24s
    1. Putting together your lens kit
      1m 0s
    2. Normal lenses
      1m 54s
    3. Wide lenses
      3m 5s
    4. Ultra-wide and fish-eye lenses
      2m 53s
    5. Telephoto lenses
      4m 53s
    6. Super zooms
      2m 54s
    7. Macro lenses
      2m 45s
  9. 17m 22s
    1. The importance of exposure
      1m 31s
    2. Using waveforms
      5m 3s
    3. Using histograms
      6m 53s
    4. Using zebra stripes
      3m 55s
  10. 10m 20s
    1. Shutter speed overview
      3m 18s
    2. Different ways to use shutter speed
      7m 2s
  11. 10m 29s
    1. Tips for keeping your budget down
      10m 29s
  12. 10m 11s
    1. Working with batteries
      10m 11s
  13. 24m 39s
    1. External audio settings
      4m 2s
    2. Audio input menus
      9m 31s
    3. Audio output menus
      4m 6s
    4. Setting and monitoring your levels
      7m 0s
  14. 16m 33s
    1. Introduction to backlight
      1m 18s
    2. Types of backlight
      3m 51s
    3. Exposing for backlit shots
      5m 31s
    4. Backlighting translucent object
      1m 39s
    5. Avoiding lens flare and wash out
      4m 14s
  15. 13m 28s
    1. Booming techniques
      13m 28s
  16. 5m 42s
    1. Feeding your crew
      5m 42s
  17. 8m 36s
    1. Choosing between prime, servo, and manual zoom lenses
      5m 19s
    2. Running and gunning with prime lenses
      3m 17s
  18. 10m 55s
    1. Green screen lights and materials
      3m 47s
    2. Mounting the green screen
      1m 39s
    3. Lighting the green screen
      3m 8s
    4. Lighting your subject
      2m 21s
  19. 9m 28s
    1. What to look for when buying a tripod
      6m 13s
    2. Working with monopods
      3m 15s
  20. 23m 19s
    1. Choosing a camera
      3m 2s
    2. Preparation and supplies for a surf shoot
      2m 13s
    3. Dealing with lens fog
      1m 44s
    4. Mounting your POV camera
      3m 20s
    5. Tracking and shooting your surfer from the shore
      6m 56s
    6. Interview with Tony Cruz
      6m 4s
  21. 8m 37s
    1. Introduction to lens mounts
      1m 24s
    2. Canon mounts
      2m 0s
    3. PL mounts
      1m 59s
    4. Nikon mounts
      1m 24s
    5. Micro 4/3 mounts
      1m 50s
  22. 7m 30s
    1. Introduction to lighting ratios
      1m 19s
    2. Comparing ratios
      2m 52s
    3. Measuring light ratios
      3m 19s
  23. 10m 25s
    1. Ten Looks in Ten Minutes
      10m 25s
  24. 5m 36s
    1. Using camera height and POV to better tell your story
      5m 36s

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Pro Video Tips
5h 10m Appropriate for all Apr 15, 2014 Updated Sep 16, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Pro Video Tips is designed for busy videographers like you. This series brings you a new tip every week, on everything from controlling reflections to hiding mics. Host Anthony Q. Artis covers shooting techniques for particular video challenges like portraits, tools to help you control light and judge exposure, and advice for the traveling videographer, such as putting together a great lens kit or packing a truck. Come back every Tuesday for a new round of tips.

Subjects:
Video Shooting Video
Author:
Anthony Q. Artis

Tips for lighting an interview subject

- So what I want to show you guys this week is basically a scenario that I find myself in all the time in corporate and documentary work, and that is having to work with what I've got. So you walk into a room with scenario. That's the only choice that you have to shoot in. I'm always starting with the room. The first thing I'm looking at when I'm setting up for interview or any other kind of scene like this is looking at one of the palette that I have to work with. When I say palette, I mean the things that are already existing in the room as far as the lighting color. Right in this room, I've got these green curtains which I like very much.

Look great against this white wall. I've got this nice tan wood texture going on over here so it's definitely some want to incorporate into the setup right here but that's pretty much what I'm starting with. Everything else I do is going to be built around the light and the colors that I already have going on in there. I'm going to go ahead and bring my subject Cory now and have her take a seat. One thing I didn't mention is that the first thing I do is set up the camera. No point for me and lighting anything if you don't have the camera in the job that unable to look in the monitor because depending on subtle things like your app or your setting, depending on your white balance of picture could look very different than it does to your naked eye.

I know some people who have been doing a long time. They can do with their naked eyes. I need to look at the actual monitor to see the image I'm getting. This is what we're starting with. Looks pretty natural right there but obviously we want to actually make our subject pop out. First thing I'm going to do is go ahead and turn on my key light and let her know that I am striking. I'm setting my key light up coming from this side right across here. You're going to see what that's doing. I don't have any diffusion on there yet. I'm going to add that in a second, so striking. It's going to pull my hand away. You see we're way too hot so right away, it's going to grab a little bit of diffusion.

(paper rustling) Got a nice big piece right here using open face light. It's generating a lot of light and I'm sure already my subject Cory is a lot happier. I'm going to put a little bit of diffusion on there because I know what that does. Right away, first thing I do just give a little bit of spot and flood and see what's going on there. This key is okay from the direction that is coming from my idea but what I'm not with is that no shadow. A lot of times people will try get rid of the nose shadow I think by adding an extra fill, and really that's just tense and flatten things out.

So I'm not going to add any fill as of yet. Just going to bring my key light a little more frontal. Also, notice the height that was setting at that makes the big difference where I set the key light, height wise, so is that raise it up in height. You notice we'll get the nice little bit of shadow. They're under a chin and that's exactly what I want. Come to the cross set about a 45-degree angle so I'm pretty happy with this. I might do a few more tweaks. Now the big thing I do is set the lights one at a time so I know what each light is doing.

This is our tungsten key light we got right here. The light coming through the window, I didn't talk about yet, is actually daylight balance. So I've got daylight coming through the window and that's going to add a little bit of coolness as you can see right there when I turn off all the lights. As far as the room has certain amount of light that's already in this room. So pretty much dealing with daylight balance light and I'm mixing in tungsten lights. Right here, I'm to go with that hair light. I want to point out something that's going on here because this was the issue that I had a lot with the regular three light kits that I work with and that most of them have straight up traditional light stands like this but I'm in the great card because all the lighting for these courses introduce me a while back to this Manfrotto 420B boom stand and this is totally changed my life and made things a lot easier because the problem is that when you have this regular three light kit for setup like this.

Ideally, I want my hair light coming from over here being motivated by this window. But as you can see if I put a light stand, it's going to be right here. So the only way to get that light out and over my subject is using something like this boom stand or some other any other way on my head to hang the light but this is really quick and easy way. A double says a regular light stand when I'm not using it as a boom stand so that's great. Manfrotto 420B. I might have a new model by the time this comes out so check and see what you got but it is a life changer here. Let me go ahead and turn on the hair light.

I did turn off my key right now. With the hair light, it's basically being motivated by this window. I want it to coming from the same direction to make it seem. If I turn it off, you can see what the window light is doing by itself. Now, you can see we've really kick it up a little bit there. I could and I'm going to go ahead and try there and see what it looks like if I add (plastic rustling) just a little bit of CTB to match in the temperature of the window light coming through, and it's not doing much for me.

I'll just double it over. (plastic rustling) I'm just going to hold in front of the light. I just do audition this first before I actually put it on. I don't really like how that stop it down. I actually like the contrast that I'm getting from the warmness of the tungsten light up there so I'm going to leave this light unjailed. Again, for hair light, some people like to go a little more soft and subtle. I like my hair light nice and hard in shot so I'm going to leave that tungsten for now exactly like it is right there. We got a little airy 150 light going on up there for a hair light so I'm going to leave that.

Now, I'm going to go ahead and turn that key light back on and see what the two look like together. I didn't talk about filling in the side of the face. Let's go ahead and see what that looks like. I'm not a big a fan of using lights that much for fill. More often to not to find a reflect to java and just plaster and easier But you can see when I fill in the shadows right there, I actually don't like that as much. For my personal taste, oftentimes I don't bother use a fill at all if I can get things looking the way I want.

The reason I don't like this particular fill for this setup for me is that it gives her face a larger profile, and I think it looks more complementary. When we take it away right there so it's got a little bit more modeling on her face. I am happy in this case without an actual fill. I want to point out something that is going on here is that it's kind of a dismal. I'm going to say, "I don't have a fill because you got to remember that your walls are also reflecting light. This is a pretty light colored wall right here even though it's not white. It is actually balancing over here and providing some fill on that side of her face.

For me, that fill is plenty right there. Let me take a look at my final frame right here. We've already white balance the camera before I did the setup. What we did was went on ahead and white balance on a card that was a balance between the tungsten light and the daylight. In this scenario, I'm not really balanced with tungsten and I'm not really balanced for daylight but somewhere in between. Again, by simply manipulating my white balance, I can get very different looks but I'm happy with this look right here. What I'm not happy with though is the actual framing that I have going on in terms of the depth of field.

I think I can make this look a little more pretty if I got her a little bit further away from the background. I'm going to actually have you step up Cory, and we're just going to readjust all of our lights on the whole shot. I'm going to move you further away. What this is going to allow me to do is to throw that background a little bit more out of focus. So you can go ahead and step back in there. Now that I've done that, of course, I have to move my whole setup back by the same amount more or less so. Everything is going to move back by two feet or so.

I'm going to be able to match the same setup. I'm going to bring my key back to where it was before, and clearly we're going to have to go ahead and refocus our shot. Look at that, that's a little better. I'm liking that. You're liking that, Cory? Alright, if me and her happy, I think the audience would be happy. Let's go ahead and bring our hair light back into the picture. That looks like about to switch spot. We want to get right about there.

Again, so we got the same setup right there that we had before but looking more complementary. I'm going to turn my key back on. Striking. Those like T. Again, a little too much nose shadow. I'm just going to come a little more frontal right here. Also, one thing to a lot of people adult, always consider the amount of light on your clothing. I can do a couple of things. You see she's wearing a really bright shirt. Then I want to make it, maybe a little bit more about her face. I'm just going to see what it looks like if I get some of that light over her shirt a little more on her face.

I like that. The shirt was a little bit bright before but I think it's a little less bright right now so we're going to go with that. I'm just going to have you look into that position I had you look at before, Cory. I'll get my nose set and all that good stuff just right here. So I'll going to come from right about there and I'll move her closer so I'll lower this a little bit. Right there. So I am happy with this. One thing I will point out back here. Remember more often or not, none of your furniture or props are going to be nailed to the floor.

So this will come in a little bit too much out of her head. I'm like come over here and just adjust this just a little bit. That's pretty much the finished frame and I'm pretty happy with that. By moving this plant over by the way, I give her more separation from the background. You can see she kind of blends in there but now I'm using this white to kind of frame around her head as well as what I got going on with the hair light right there. This is what I would call a complementary palette. When I say complementary palette, meaning that if you look at the colors we got going on in our scene here naturally and the colors my subject has going on, they pretty much match up.

I got her skin tone. I got the wall right here, as well as I got the white over here. She's got a green shirt on. I got the green over here. So everything is kind of blending in in a nice complementary palette but use your imagination and imagine what it might look like if I want to put her in a pink or red or yellow shirt, we'll have a very different frame but this is a very simple example of using what you've got to work with, and I hope you guys have success doing the same thing on your set.

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