Sometimes the really simple approach, devoid of gimmicks and the latest gadgets, can produce the best result in the shortest possible time.
Lighting interviews is a good example. On a recent trip to Marseilles to interview a Professor of Oncology I took five lights with me: 2 x 150W Dedos; an 800W Lowel Tota; a 300W Sachtler reporter light; and a Microlite Pro LED camera light. I also took a Chimera softbox; an umbrella; reflectors; gells; 5 x lighting stands and a gobo projector for the Dedos. This is a pretty standard kit for me to take on fly-away jobs and it’s reasonably compact, fitting into a medium Dedo soft case.
So how much of this kit did I use to light the interview? As it turned out I only used one light – the 300W Sachtler, which is a compact 300W tungsten light.
The key with location situations, where you have limited options to change the environment, is to make whatever available natural or ambient light work for you, instead of trying to change it too much.
The room was long and narrow with high windows on two sides fitted with venetian blinds that cut the light by about 50%.
With the subject placed to get the best-looking background, he was facing a white wall about five feet away. All I had to do was bounce the Sachtler off the wall as a soft key light and it looked pretty good. The windows on the other two sides (with the blinds mostly closed) provided the fill and a little backlight. The only other thing I did was to fit a dichroic to the reporter light and white balance with a Warm Card to warm up the daylight coming into the room.
I could have spent more time (that we really didn’t have) trying various other lighting set-ups, but I knew that this was the best approach, as well as being the simplest.
The client was happy with the way it looked and the Professor was happy because there was minimum disruption to his day.
Here’s an ungraded still from the video: