It’s a Jungle Out There

From: John DuMontelle, www.latincam.net

How many times do we find ourselves shooting an interview in a situation where we don’t have access to electricity. All of a sudden we’re stuck with our camera light.

Working in Nicaragua I end up having to shoot a lot of these interviews on remote mountain tops or backwater jungle.

I carry two MAG-LITE flashlights. The big ones with six batteries in them. I cut some diffussion and stuck it behind the lens of each flashlight. Voila! I’ve got two light sources giving off soft even light. Better yet, you can focus them to give you more control! They work great and are light weight. It’s easy to have the correspondent / sound-tech / local poor villager hold the light steady (on the opposite shoulder from your shooting position) while shooting an interview.

It’s an amazing soft light that really makes your video look that much better.

Use one or both lights shooting an interview (depending on time of course). I’ll sometimes use the second light behind the interview subject on the ground or prop it up to throw some different angled light on the background. For longer trips away from power just use one light at a time. Buying D-batteries is usually pretty easy no matter what country you’re in.

My buddy who passed along this tip to me bought the more expensive MAG-LITE w/six rechargable batteries. I keep it simple and just use regular batteries. Just make sure you buy the light with six D-Cell batteries and not one of the shorter ones. You’ll be surprised how long these lights will last!

I’ve tried blue gel to shoot twilight interviews. These flashlights can’t compete with a good HMI or strong/gelled tungston light but when you’re in the middle of nowhere and at the right time late in the afternoon, you can get some pretty twilight interviews or standups.

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