Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Bringing the talent on set, part of Lighting a Video Interview.
So it's the day of the shoot and at this point, you're meeting the talent for the first time. Or hopefully it feels like the second time, because you've done your work ahead of time, right? Jim, you want to know, is this person 6 feet tall, 5 feet tall, fair-skinned, eyeglasses, balding. Aren't there lots of things you need to know about them before they sit down? >> Oh, sure. I mean in an ideal world, if I'm doing my job right and everybody else is there aren't a whole lot of surprises, when a subject shows up on set.
Unless there's a, a creative reason for some kind of element of surprise, it really should not be so much guess work. Because that just promotes efficiency in terms of time and resources and, and it's just, it's a less stressful way of working. But it's just the whole air of preparedness is something you should always shoot for, because it promotes confidence, and it also frees you up for creative stuff. You're not worrying about all the the tools, and you're more worried about you know, what you're putting in front of the camera.
>> But we're going to immediately make a snap decision about these folks as they show up, because they might come in with a deep tan. Or they're wearing eyeglasses and they don't want to take them off even though they normally wear contacts. There are things that could impact the lighting, so I think that one of the things that goes through my brain is, I look at the subject matter, and I quickly assess, does my interview subject match what we plan for? And, and if they don't, how do you sort of discretely make those adjustments so it doesn't feel like a lot of chaos all of a sudden? >> Well that has a lot to do with your experience base, and hopefully as you work more in the industry, you will sort of compile a little toolbox of solutions for all those curve balls that come your way.
because they will always come your way, and you should always look at those, you know, you know, unexpected differences or variances in what you expected, as learning tools to put in that little solution box of yours for later on. So when that happens at the moment of meeting that talent, hopefully something will register fairly quickly as to what the solution is. And the more you can do that, it puts everybody at ease.
It builds confidence in everybody else, and you know, it will probably even translate into the comfort level of your subject, because if they don't sense any tension, even if you have some, and you're hiding it really well. It's going, it's going to help put that person at ease too. So it's an all around good thing to minimize surprises, and have a nice collection of solutions for those inevitable curve balls. >> You, you nailed it. You want to really eliminate that tension on set, now let me just walk you through some of the things I do, when I'm bringing a talent on set or the talent is brought on set for the first time.
One of the things I like to do is, introduce them to the key people in the group. So, I'll walk them over to the director of photographer and make an introduction. We will go ahead and suggest, can you come in here for a second, we just want to check your lighting. This is where you are going to be sitting, this is where the interview is going to occur. And then, I will walk them back set for a minute, and sort of have a brief conversation, make sure they have nothing on their mind. Ask them if they want to know about the process but, Jim you kind of like having that little, bring them in, double check everything, and then pull them out of the way for a little bit, so you have quiet to react to.
Right? You could react with them on the set but is it easier to make changes when they leave? >> Well it's always good to have the really on set to assess the real situation of the, of the person that is going be photographed but at the same time you don't want to spend a lot of their time with technical things. Because I suppose it could cloud what they're really there for, which is to tell a story, tell their story or give us some much needed information for the greater story of the film.
So it's a balance. Should be able to make a quick assessment of the changes or adjustments that need to be made once you see that real person and then you should let them go and let the director have their time with them. Because in the end, the ultimate goal is that they forget about all the lights and the camera and everything, and they focus on having a conversation with the interviewer. And all this disappears because most people would would agree that that's going to create the most conversational natural interview all around.
>> Yeah and I really agree with that approach. I think it's important that you help them feel comfortable on set. So, I like to bring them on set early. Let them see what the set looks like, introduce them to a few folks and explain the process not from a super technical point of view, but from just an overview. And, what I'm looking to do is help them feel comfortable with the whole location. The more they don't have to worry about the interview, the better they are going to do. I think it's really important that you convey to your subject that they are having a conversation with you.
Now, if it's acting or a dramatic scene with multiple actors, they are going to get into the role but with interviews, you're really sitting in as the audience member. As the director, the producer, the journalist, you are pulling out of your subject the answers that are needed. And if your interview subject doesn't know who they're talking to, they're going to start looking around the set. They might look to the director of photography and start, start talking to him or her. They might look over to the audio operator, they might just be looking everywhere because they're used to public speaking and I often find you have to say you know we're talking together.
So I'll position myself in a way that I'm right in their line of sight, and actually Jim I often will ask, you where should I stand as the interviewer right? >> Well that's just another creative tool setting up the eyelines for interviews. Generally speaking the closer that eyeline is to the camera it's generally considered to be a more intimate connection with the audience. And the further away you move that interviewer from the camera, sets a little more distance, a little more, a little more space between the audience and, and the interviewer.
And you can, and some people take it a step further and put that eye line right into the lens like I'm doing right now because that is a very powerful tool to connect the person telling the story with the audience. >> Alright, so these are some good things to think about as you first bring the talent on set, and introduce them to the rest of the crew, and introduce them to the process. Now, there are a few other technical things to think about, and we'll explore those next.
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- Creating a lighting kit of essential gear
- Working with shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
- Determining the emotional tone and genre of the interview
- Choosing a background
- Finding the best angle
- Using three-point lighting
- Lighting backgrounds and faces
- Color correcting light on set