From: David Dahlquist, Freelance News Photographer San Juan Capistrano, CA
I was covering a three day breast cancer walk last month and we were on location 24/7 for all three days. While shooting interviews with some of the volunteers at night in small dome tents. I needed to light the interviews but did not want that camera light look.
I had packed a fluorescent camp light with my gear.
My camera light is a 5600K LED With a dimmer. So I grabbed the camp light and set it just out of the shot. I used it as my key and used my led light dimmed way down as a fill the combo provided a flattering soft light.
When I pulled wide for a two shot the camp light was in the shot but it did not look out of place.
The camp light worked great and provided a fast set up as it ran on its own battery.
From: Mike Venable, Chief Photographer, WLFL
How many times have you gone into an old house or office and could not find a plug in? Especially a plug in with 3 holes (1-for the ground). My solution, I went to Home Depot and bought a “light bulb fixture” screw in adapter, plug in. Just remove the bulb from the lamp, screw your AC adapter in and it is magic! Camera power or a light. (Just remember, most homes cannot take more than a 20 amp load.}…A true helpful, small piece expendable, that may save your shoot. Good Shootin!
From: Austin "Liveshot" Reeves, Orlando, FL
Being a nightside photog, I have to use my batt-light a pretty fair amount. I’ve experimented with low watt bulbs, high watt bulbs, and finally think I have come up with the perfect setup.
Using a fairly high watt bulb, take a piece of HEAVY diffusion (frost gel) and cut it the same size as a swing-door (for like a diffusion filter) on your light. I taped mine to the inside of the door using two thin pieces of gaff-tape.
The diffusion filter that came on my anton-bauer ultra light never did much of anything and it gave too many harsh shadows. With the gel in place, it gives a nice, much softer look. I can crank up to 9db on and the background comes up beautifully, much more even with the subject i’m shooting.
When I need a lot of light, I swing the door out of the way, giving me the full intensity of my high-watt bulb.
Something new I’ve found that works very well too. To just add some very soft fill light to someone, or when you really only need a tiny bit of light, turn the light 90 degrees (so that it is facing you), lean it all the way back (so that it points straight up) and then open the door about 45 degrees. The heavy frost works as a reflector, giving you some soft light on someones face.
IT’S THREE LIGHTS IN ONE!
From: Phil Fraboni, E.N.G. Camera / Editor — CHtv Hamilton, ON aka HamCam
I came across this lamp dimmer while doing a "Get your closets organized" story at IKEA. It could be used nicely to dim a table lamp that we all love to set in the background of our shots. Nine times out of ten the lamps are not the 3 step dimming type. So just plug this dimmer inline with the lamp and presto… set the level to your liking. Mind you I have not field tested it yet to see whether there is any hum. But it is only for accent lighting not for the Key/Fill/Back lights. It was a pretty good deal too… only 20 Bucks… Canadian that is.
From: Jeff Cools
Here’s a great way to safe some time with your light gels. I
cut them down to approx 9×12 and punched holes in the one side using a paper hole punch. Then I gathered them all together and put them in a school binder. I seperated the different colored gels with a white sheet of paper and now the gels are safe and easy to get to.
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.
From: Duke Taylor and Lisa Carlson
All the photogs at my station have great light kits, but actually I usually only bring one light fitted with a Chimera (it’s like a big cloth box with black sides and a white front…it softens the light) into an interview. Figure out where you want the camera to be, where you want the iterviewer and interviewee to be, turn off the room lights, close the blinds, then use this fool proof formula……
The reporter always goes between the photog and the light. Like a reporter sandwich. Your reporter should be able to stick out his or her elbows and hit your camera with one elbow, and your light stand with the other. Sure there are fancier set-ups, but sometimes you don’t have enough space in a room, or the time, or the extra arms, to get too crazy with multiple lights.