Unlike shooting a video of a small interview, the moment you work with more than one interviewer and / or more than one interviewee, the lighting you will use needs much more careful consideration.
This is not the time to consider using any environment other than the studio, or a large room where you can set up equipment without being bothered by extraneous natural or artificial light from sources you cannot really control.
In a small interview you use a main light, a fill light, and usually a backlight.
In a larger group you usually use two main lights, and may occasionally still need the fill light and one or more backlights. But as a general rule, each main light provides a certain amount of spill for the other subject.
We are now into higher end LED video lighting, which, despite its specification, is still affordable: http://www.fotogenic.com.au/LED_Lighting_Products/Photography_Video_LED500_Lighting_Kit.
Fotogenic’s 500LED Video/Photography Panels have an equivalent output of 30W of incandescent light. The 5500K daylight balanced LEDs offer a full spectrum, beautifully soft light. LED lights provide significantly further “throw” than a comparable fluorescent light. This is because each of the 500 LED lights has a 30-degree beam angle lens that directs light forward. This beam angle creates a beam pattern that is useable from 1 – 15 feet (0.3 – 4.6 metres). LED lights are ideal for location work, they are virtually shockproof and offer the brightest light in the smallest form factor. This light has the same luminance as a 5 head x 5 bulbs soft box that takes up 350W of power.
I should also point out here that we are dealing with a multi-camera set-up. The main camera carries a relatively wide-angle lens giving frontal coverage of all the subjects at any one time, but with a zoom range enabling closer work on any individual participant as needed. This closer coverage is often used for the interviewer him- or herself, and might well include the repetition of pertinent questions at the end of the interview, and nod shots of the interviewer.
The two main lights will be set at about 45 to 55 degrees each side of the main camera, each lighting people on the opposite side of the set, and providing spill and fill lighting to those closer to them. Secondary backlights are positioned behind the subjects at about 105 degrees from the camera and about 12 inches (30 cm) above the top of the subjects’ heads, taking care to use barn doors to avoid spill from these lamps into the main camera lens.
The second and third cameras are positioned just below and slightly to the side of the main lights, enabling close-ups and cutaways of the participants, whilst avoiding light spill directly into their lenses.
Master this and, you never know … you could be on the red carpet as the Golden Globes.
Group Interview Lighting – original article © 2011 Barney Douglas at http://www.bdfoto.co.uk and http://www.bd-shop.co.uk
Article produced for Fotogenic Photographic Equipment of 3a Averill Street, Rhodes, NSW 21380, Australia
The republication or reproduction of any part of this article without the permission of the both Fotogenic and Barney Douglas is a breach of copyright.