Join Jem Schofield for an in-depth discussion in this video Gear for scouting, part of Cinematic Video Lighting.
- Alright, so we're inside of Topa Topa now, in the brewery, and we know we're going to be shooting stuff here, and I always like to scout a location before we're going to shoot, especially if it's local. So make sure that's in your budget. That you can get at least the producer or director to scout the location. Ideally, the DP as well, and if you can, get the sound recordist to come out with you. And even if you can only come out for two or three hours to walk the space and get a sense of it, then that's going to help tremendously in terms of deciding, first of all, if you can shoot in a location from a sound perspective, and I'll talk to you about that in a minute, and also visually where you might have your set-ups.
In an ideal situation, you'd have a full day to do your scout, so you could actually come to the location and look at the location at different times of day. That's going to tell you a lot of stuff in terms of where the sun is. It's also going to tell you how it bounces off of different places in the space. And it's definitely going to tell you what happens from an audio standpoint in the morning, afternoon, and evening when you might be shooting in that space. So let's first talk about the camera. And, of course, this is a lighting course, but we need to talk about some of these things because they're important.
The camera we're using is the C100 Mark II. It's actually a great scouting camera with something like a 24 to 105 lens on it, but if you have a mirrorless camera just try to get something with a similar focal range or even a DSLR. Those work great for scouting cameras. And the beautiful thing is, that if you're using something a mirrorless camera that also does stills or a DSLR, you can take still shots for reference and you can also take video. We have access to all this stuff, we might as well use it.
From an audio standpoint, what I like to do is I like to bring two microphones, especially if I don't have a sound recordist who will just walk into the space and know. I have this mic right here which is called the smartLav+. It's made by Rode. It's a little lavalier mic. And what's awesome about it is that it plugs directly into a smartphone. And it can be an iOS device, an Android device. They have their own app that you can use to record to it, but you can use another audio recording app if you want. And this is going to give you a pretty good sense of what the audio is going to be like if you record to a lavalier.
And then I also bring on almost every scout, and these things are in my bag all the time anyway as just sort of back-ups, I have this Rode VideoMic Pro. And it'll play as a shotgun mic. We'll use a better quality one usually in production. But what's cool about it is, if you put it on one of these nano stands, and you put a little ball head on it, you can position it where you need it to be to get a good sense of what's going to be your audio if you're using a boomed mic, something like a shotgun mic. So this is actually attached to an extension cable that's plugged into the camera.
I can get it away from the camera, because I'm not a big fan of a camera-mounted microphone. I want to get that microphone as close as possible. And in a space like this, where I know we're going to have some audio issues, I want to know what that audio is going to sound like when it's as close to the person as possible. A lot of people will use an on-camera mic. That's not really realistic unless you're doing ENG stuff. So we want to make sure that we're getting a sense of what the audio is going to be like in a real environment when we are doing production. And I'm not saying that ENG is not real production, but when we're shooting interviews and doing this type of work, we're generally using a lavalier, a boom mic, or a combination of both.
So we've got our basic scouting equipment. I'm going to go find Greg. We're going to walk through all of these spaces. We're going to figure out where we're going to shoot all of these interviews. And then I can break down all of that stuff for you, so you can see how we go about solving all of the problems that we encounter. And you can see exactly how we light each of these set-ups at Topa Topa.
This series of tutorials, taught by producer, DP, and educator Jem Schofield of theC47, shows you the equipment and time-tested lighting techniques you need to get cinematic results. Filmed on location at a California brewery—a set with a lot of action and a lot of angles—the course takes you through the process of planning, lighting, and shooting video using largely cinematic (low-key) lighting techniques. Jem uses a conversational style of direction that relies on collaboration with the crew and the clients, but the lessons are flexible enough to apply to productions of many different types and sizes, including corporate video and documentaries. By the end, you'll have the skills you need to go out and create professional lighting setups in the real world.
- Choosing the right video lighting equipment
- Scouting locations with good light and visual interest
- Bouncing light and blocking light
- Cutting light
- Diffusing light
- Recreating natural light
- Modifying color temperature with video lighting
- Shooting B-roll, inserts, and cutaways
- Working outdoors