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Blank Slate: Interview Lighting

Blank Slate is a new 16-part instructional series from PBS Digital Studios with the production team Video Dads, made up of Emmy-nominated video producers Travis Gilmour and Slavik Boyechko. This week Lauren Saks shares her tips on Interview Lighting.



On this installment of Blank Slate, Travis and Slavik teach us how to simply and effectively light an interview with the help of a natural light source.

While outlining the basics, Travis and Slavik remind us to keep a couple of points in mind:
  1. Balance you light sources so the subject appears natural and three dimensional - you will want at least a key light and a fill light, but may need more to create a dynamic appearance and separate your subject from the background 
  2. Select the right color and tone of light for your set up 
  3. Light stands and clamps make any lighting job easier because basic lights can be adjusted to many locations and scenarios 
I’ll add a few other ideas and suggestions:
  1. The lighting setup should match the tone and feel of the overall video: keep it casual if you can, but use lighting to create formal settings if your video requires it. 
  2. If you want a formal feel to your lighting and interview, consider the traditional three point lighting set up. Here are two tutorials to get you started: 
  3. Test your camera with a few lighting set ups to make sure it can capture a range of situations, particularly low light and natural light if you want to go that route. 
  4. Reflectors are a light and easy way to manipulate light 
  5. Natural light can change quickly so come prepared to add additional light from other sources 
  6. If using natural light, early or late in the day will be best. Full sunlight can often be too harsh. Lighting should be soft
Lauren Saks | Director of Programming | PBS Digital Studios

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