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T351 Field Lighting Exercise

Overview - In small groups, you will light and record a person (as if for an interview) and an item or product. When you are finished you will create a Quicktime or MXF mediafile so you can log & critique your work. Before the next lab you will observe and critique your team's shots. You will turn in your group's media file via a shared IUBox folder and your individual log & critique to the Oncourse folder named Lighting.

Instructions: Form teams of 3-4 people. Pick a spot for your group's interview setup. (A large, quiet space is ideal.) You'll need the following:

  • Camera & media to record onto
  • Tripod
  • Lavaliere microphone
  • XLR cable
  • Headphones,
  • Light kit (with a softbox)
  • Reflector & C-stand
  • Field slate
  • Optional: Gell pack, fabric backdrop, a few spring clips, and a crossbar & pair of C-stands to mount it on.

Note: You will be graded on your lighting, composition, log & critique. While audio is not the focus it's still important. Be sure to mic your subject and your audible field slates.

Section One – Indoor Interview

Your group will be given a space to shoot an interview. Consider the constriants of the environment and the available time. Each group member needs to frame a subject and create and shoot at least one lighting setup- just as one would for an actual interview for TV. Position your subject as if they were facing an unseen interviewer seated right next to the camera. (MCU- no interviewer visible)

Field slate your takes visually and audibly to identify your lighting setup with the group member's name and intended lighting setup. (E.g. John Doe, Producer + date + Narrow lighting setup with softbox.) Once recording be sure to ask your interview subject a question and let them answer for at least 15 seconds or so, so we have time to observe the shot you have lit.

Each group member is responsible for at least one lighting set up. Rotate through your group members until everyone has created one lighting setup.

Once everyone has shot their interview setups, move on to the last section: an item or product shot.

Section Two - Product or Item

As a team select a single item or product to shoot. (E.g. historic or notable item for a documentary, or a product for a commercial like a cold beverage, iPhone, computer, etc.) Consider the framing and backdrop that you would use if the item was for a documentary or for a product advertisement. Try to create a style or mood through your set and lighting- and most of all, try to make your item look good. The framing, composition, backdrop and lighting will all be important. Once you have the product framed nicely, each person will light and shoot at least one different lighting setup. Visually and audibly slate your takes. Try both hard and soft light. Perhaps a colored gel as a backlight. Which do you think makes your product more appealing? Does it look good enough to be usedfor broadcast?

Review, Log & Critique

When you are finished with production, create a single Quicktime or MXF file of your footage. Turn a copy of this into the Production Lab Dropbox. Make sure it has all of your usernames in the title. For the log, please note the timecode #, the name of who was in charge of lighting, the lighting setup & take number.

Critique your shots. (Critique everyone's shots- not just yours.) What looked best to you & why? What was easy or difficult about the process? Do you feel more comfortable with lighting? Upload a copy of your log & critique (called "critique") to the Oncourse folder: Lighting.


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