Setting Up The Perfect Interview

Preparing for an interview seems like a deceptively simple task, but it is a complex challenge in the world of cinematography. How should the subject be lit? What quality of light would best suit the mood? What angle should the light be directed from? What should the background be? While there are no hard and fast rules in filmmaking, there are strategies and points to consider when lighting and framing your interview scene that will elevate your production to a higher level. Here are some tips and points to consider on your shoot.

Classic Three-Point Lighting

Documentary-style video production has a lot of leeway in terms of creative flexibility in how to set up your lights. Sometimes, time restraints might limit how elaborate of a set-up you can build so it’s always good to have a basic set-up in mind. This is where three-point lighting comes in. Start by placing your subject where you want them and have a peek through the camera and frame them up. Remember you want to leave some breathing room, also known as the “broad side”, in the direction your subject is facing and speaking. Now for the lights: your key light is your main source of light and is typically your brightest light and should be roughly in the direction the subject is facing, and slightly higher. Your fill light comes in on the opposite side of the key light to fill in potential shadows. Finally your back light hits the back of the subjects head to create a hairline, separating the subject from the background and adding depth to your shot.

Tools of the Trade

Once you have this setup in place, you can start to challenge yourself with the placement of each component. What happens when you move the key light farther away, and the light becomes more spread out? Reflectors, black-out tarps and diffusion screens because intrical tools in managing the quality of light that falls on the subject. Checking the exposure on the camera itself is critical as the way your eyes interpret visuals isn’t the same as they way light is rendered through photographic equipment.

Contact Moonji today to see how we can craft the perfect interview lighting for your project!