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T351 Week 3 - Summer 2015


  • Reality check
  • Editing review
  • Lighting
  • Interview tips

Announcements/Reality Check:

  • Midterm Quiz today will review before taking.
  • Review Art Videos in lab & continue graphics.
  • Begin lighting Wednesday - wear something nice if you want a sweet picture.
  • Lab Thursday - No formal lab instruction - time is reserved for you to shoot your interview/feature stories

Production Notes:

  • Know your WB setting (many videos had poor WB)
  • Think about, listen to, and adjust your audio. You don't need both tracks if one has bad audio (E.g. the camera mic) if the other channel has the primary audio info (E.g. from Lav or shotgun)
  • Use the pen tool to adjust your audio and provide useful things like fade outs.
  • Expanded focus button is useful for getting sharp focus.
  • Iris / zebra stripes.
  • Critique need to be one-page minimum. Look at and think about not just your shots but how they work together.


  • Going to the next higher f-stop means you are cutting the light entering the lens by 1/2.
  • Going to the next lower f-stop means that you are doubling the amount of light entering the camera.

Whole f-stops: 1 1.4 2 2.8 4 5.6 8 11 16 22 32

Avoiding Jump Cuts in a single character sequence: Sometimes you need to shoot a sequence of a subject for B-roll over an interview or for a montage. When shooting, have the talent enter the shot or leave the frame, or use a camera movement to change the focus either up to or away from the subject. The reason is that we don’t want to cut from a shot with the subject in the frame to another shot with the subject in the frame. (Home Alone 2 example)

Review Taking Cameras outside in cold weather (warm to freezing is OK. Going from freezing to warm causes condensation).

Technical continuity

(Review from earlier notes. Tip: Always record at least a minute of room tone / audio ambience while on location where any kind of sound recording takes place.


Lighting can be thought of in terms of

  • Quality (coherence)
  • Color temperature
  • Intensity

Quality (coherence)

Lighting instruments can be broken down into two major types: spotlights and floodlights. Spotlights produce focused beams of light (hard light) whereas floodlights can create softer, more diffused light

Hard light vs soft light

  • Hard lighting creates shadows and brings out texture
  • Soft lighting minimizes shadows & minimizes shadows and details.

For most interview setups, soft lighting produces more pleasing results than hard lighting.


3 basic types: Fresnel, Ellipsoidal, & Open faced

Fresnel - usually ranked by wattage of lamp. The most commonly used spotlights in the studio. The largest are usually about 5K.

Ellipsoidal - much more directional/focusable than typical fresnel spotlights

500 - 2,000 watts. Most common is 750 watts. Examples include:

  • Pattern projectors
  • Follow spots

Open faced - In open faced lighting instruments, the lamp is housed in front of a reflector, but there is no lens to focus the light. The Lowell Omni and Tota lights are good examples of open faced spotlights. Never light someone directly with an open face lamp - it looks harsh and ugly.

Types of lamps:

  • Incandescent: bulbs are large. They become redder with age
  • Quartz or Tungsten Halogen: encased in a quartz bulb with halogen gas. Smaller & retains its color temp. Don’t ever touch with bare fingers! It will put oil on the surface and reduce the life span.
  • Fluorescent: can be almost any color temp (kinda sorta) looks green. They work well wen mixed with other lights

Floodlights generally produce softer light than spotlights. Examples include: Scoops, softlights & broad, fluorescent floodlight bank, strip or cyc lights.

  • Scoops: they look like ice cream scoopers
  • Softlights: my favorite to use as a key light! Chimera, Riffa lights. Softlights often mount over a spotlight (turning it into a soft light)
  • Broad light: Brighter than a softlight- same idea. Shadows are more defined due to the more focused output.
  • Fluorescent floodlight bank. Cool. Can be set up for any color temp Way cheaper than an HMI
  • Strip/cyc lights: Used to light cycs. Good for overall even illumination. Often found in theatres.

Color temperature

We measure color temperature on the Kelvin scale

Indoor vs. outdoors (approximate color temps)

  • 3200 - indoor color temp
  • 5600 - outdoor color temp

Remember that the outdoor color temperature varies throughout day.

HMIs: Hydrargyrum Medium Arc. It's too hard to say so people call them HMIs. HMIs are much more expensive than typical spotlights and are used for outdoor lighting. Sometimes called sun guns, they have the same color temp as the sun. (around 5600 degrees Kelvin)


We measure intensity in lux or foot-candles.

Lux (European) vs. foot-candle aka lumen (American).

  • A lux is the amount of light that falls on the surface of a square meter using a candle as a light source burning one meter away
  • A foot-candle is the amount of light that falls on the surface of a square foot using a candle as a light source burning one foot away
    The inverse square law states that for every foot you move away from a light source, your intensity will drop off by 1/4

10.75 Lux = 1 foot-candle

Incident vs reflected light

  • Incident light: the light falling on a subject or performance area
  • Reflected light: the amount of light bouncing off or reflected from your subject

Light meters give us objective & accurate means of determining light intensity. Using a light meter. Point toward subject to measure reflected light. Point towards light source to measure incident light.

Base light: the minimum operating light level

Lighting Control

You can think of lighting controls in terms of:

  • Intensity controls (How bright the light is)
  • Directional Control (How much area we're lighting)

It's important to be able to control the light without affecting its quality. For example, say we want to light our subject with hard light, but just need to lower the output. We shouldn't use a diffusion screen as it would change it from hard to soft light.

Ways to control light:

  • Screens/net/mesh - these reduce intensity and also soften the light a little
  • Scrims - can use half scrim to block off a portion of the light
  • Dimmers - simply reduce output without affecting quality
  • Gels (ND & colored. These can reduce and color the output without affecting quality)
  • Placement (move the light further away to reduce the intensity)
  • Barn doors. Helps control light. Stops back light from hitting camera lens & causing lens flare
  • Flags: free roaming barndoors
  • Diffusers: Softens and reduces the light output
  • Reflectors: minimize shadows. Add fill. A sheet of foam core works fine
  • Dimmers: reduce voltage. Manual (potentiometer) like on your wall dimmer or electronic: small control voltage is manipulated, controlling a larger voltage

General lighting tips and techniques

First you should be familiar with the Lighting Triangle:

  • Key - illuminates the basic shape of the subject
  • Fill - Reduces and fills in shadows created by the key.
  • Back -helps separate the subject from the background, creates a figure-ground relationship.
  • Background/Set - Lights setting/location. Sets mood, locale etc of scene

For shooting most interviews, soft lighting typically produces more pleasing results than hard lighting.

If you are using soft light to illuminate your interview subject, you'll find that you hardly need any fill at all.

How can you get soft lighting?

  • Soft box (e.g. Chimera)
  • Kino-Flo (fluorescent light bank)
  • Umbrella
  • Bounce light off of a piece of foam core
  • Bounce light off of a wall or ceiling. (works but is somewhat hard to control)

Placing the keylight: Broad vs Narrow lighting

In order to determine where you place the key light, you should consider if you want broad or narrow lighting. Most interviews are shot portrait style- where the talent is slightly askew from the camera, typically facing an off-camera producer or interviewer.

Broad lighting is when you position the key light on the camera side of the interviewee's primary vector. Narrow (also known as short) lighting is when you place the key light on the other side of the primary vector.

Contrast ratio or dynamic range

Audio: This is the difference between the softest and loudest sound
Video: the difference between the darkest part (black) and the brightest part (white)

Dynamic range is one reason video looks so much different than film.
Video has a limited contrast ratio of about 30:1, (though it’s really much less)

Film is much better about 80:1
Human vision is better still 100:1

Interview Tips & Tidbits

The interview (setting, lighting, audio, background):

Are there distractions in the background?
Subject lit - stands out from background?
(show clips?)

In general:

Just because the subject is framed well doesn't mean it will look good. It needs to be lit.

Just because the subject is lit doesn't mean it's lit well.

In single camera shoots where you need to shoot the interviewer/reporter , it's possible to shoot questions last, also shoot nods, hmmms, & head turns) You'll need these when you edit.

Interviews/testimonials can be shot in interesting locations.

Where would you shoot the director of the Musical Arts Center? What would be in the background?

What about an ice cream vendor who works out of a van?

Interview / Feature Story Tips

The interview is one of the most common elements found in many types of videos. It's used in feature stories, documentaries, news and magazine shows. Interviews might seem simple, but they require planning, research, interpersonal communication skills and technical mastery.

Here are a few tips to help you approach a news/feature story based around interviews.


  • Research the topic & formulate initial story idea
  • Find sources (people, books, articles, etc)
  • Talk to individuals, SMEs (subject matter experts) & revise story (in the process you'll find folks willing to go on-camera)
  • Think of the information you need to present first. Then write questions to draw out the information from the interviewees.
  • Think about and plan the B-roll - this is what makes the story visually compelling.
  • Plan a site visit to find a suitable location to shoot the interview. Consider the following:
    • Interesting places to shoot the interview.
    • Quiet? (fans, construction, car & pedestrian traffic)
    • B-roll opportunities?
    • Interesting background? Does it tie in with subject or content, or is it a distraction?
    • Enough room to set up lights?
    • Enough room to keep talent away from wall?
    • Adequate power sources for lights and monitors?
    • Draw a site sketch before leaving. You can use this later to create a lighting setup.
  • Schedule and coordinate the taping. Be sure to get access to location an hour before the start of the interview. Schedule time to shoot B-roll after the interview.
  • Discuss clothing/makeup requirements with talent.

Production Set up

  • Assemble proper equipment and supplies
  • Get to location an hour before the start of the interview. This will give you time to set lights and check audio. Use a stand-in to check framing and lighting.
  • Is camera level? Distractions in the background. Is lighting close to perfect?
  • Make a test recording, set time code, record color bars and wait....
  • Make guest feel comfortable, Schmooze and thank your guest often.
  • Check talent’s physical appearance (hair, clothing)
  • Have talent sign release form.


Producer/Reporter duties:

  • Always deal with releases *before* the start of the interview
  • Start recording with on-camera spelling of name and title. You'll need this for their lower third.
  • Use an “ice-breaker” question to start
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Listen to the responses
  • Look interested
  • Sometimes you need the question restated in the answer
  • Keep your eyes open for potential problems (nervous habits: rocking back and forth, shifty eyes, etc)


  • Don’t forget pre-roll
  • Have pan & tilt locks slightly loosened to adjust for talent movement
  • Make sure camera placement will work for the shots you will frame
  • Check audio levels at the meter and monitor the recording with headphones
  • Give yourself room for a slow push in if needed. (Use a sloooow zoom in for intense emotional moments)


  • Ask the talent if there is anything they'd like to add.
  • Ask the photographer, if they have any unasked questions.
  • Review part of the interview
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the talent to redo parts of the interview if there are any technical problems.
  • Shoot appropriate location B-roll.
  • Thank your talent
  • Shut lights off immediately and strike all other equipment before putting lights away
  • Remember which batteries are dead, which have some use and which are still fresh.

Editing (a short interview/feature story)

  • Open with something interesting (montage, nice image, etc.)
  • Do not spend much screen time on graphics. A simple title and "produced by" keyed in somewhere near the beginning is sufficient. You do NOT need or want rolling credits at the end.
  • Cover your edits with B-roll
  • Start in black and end in black


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