Television interviews for set-piece programmes somehow always get everything just right; the framing of the subject on screen, the facial modelling that gives definition to the features without making the face into something more like a silhouette. In the best interview examples, the lighting camera operator’s skill appears to put an apparently 3-D image on to a 2-D television screen – and in HD too.
Nigel Cooper is a lighting camera operator who regularly does all this and more, to get quality interview images. Video images looking as rich as film, where the viewers eye is focused on the perfectly natural-looking subject, concentrate full attention on what the subject has to say, which is the whole point of an interview.
If you aspire to upping your camera work to this level, you need this instructional DVD as much as you need hard and soft lights, gels and gobos. It will take you to where you want to be within 30 minutes, followed by practice from you and a patient model.
It is a slick, but easy-to-follow production, in sensible steps presented by Nigel Cooper himself. The presentation style never patronises and a clear delivery at a sensible speed, allows the viewer enough time to absorb quite intricate details ata comfortable rate.
The content takes us through the basics of three-point lighting, but also beyond that, revealing techniques like soft boxes for key and fill lighting positions and warm cards to create a much softer warmer look. At the same time he makes the backlight wrap around the head and shoulders to create the illusion of depth of the subject. Finally he adds a fourth background light with a projector lens, a shadow effects gobo and a coloured gel as a finishing technique. This makes the background attractive and interesting without distracting from the subject, but especially creating distance between the subject and the background that further enhances the 3-D effect of his basic lighting technique.
The results look stunning on DVD compared with the flat, single plane interviews often seen on broadcast programmes from the recent past and sometimes present day interviews recorded on location in offices or front rooms. Lighting the Nigel Cooper way, will certainly raise your game in HD video. Enough to make sure you are really doing what photography means; drawing with light.
How to Light and Shoot Interviews for TV and Video, with Nigel Cooper, is produced by Generic Pool Productions co.uk It costs UKP19.95 from DVuser.co.uk