Behind the setup

Yesterday I shot six interviews for a friend and colleague who’s producing a promotional film for FIFH, Association Sport for Disabled.  He’s shot the rest of the film himself but wanted me to shoot the interviews. 

Our location was a small sports hall. First thought was to shoot against a black backdrop, limbo, but we decided to have a little bit of a background of some kind, dim and pretty diffused.   I shut all the lights down in the room and started from scratch.  This is a really nice quick basic setup with some tweaks to get it where I want. I was alone doing this, setup, lighting and sound.  In the morning I actually had my wife, who also does this for a living, helping me out lugging gear.

For a key I setup a 6x6ft white shiny bounce which I covered with a silk to take the harshness off the bounce.  I shot a 2K open face into it and filled the entire 6×6 which created a nice soft bounce.

Big white soft bounce with a 2K into it.

For a hair/back light I used a frosted 250W on a boom and also added a 15oW Dedo, dimmed down, as an edge light.  That’s it.  This pretty much left  me with a 4-5,6 split to which I added 2 stop of ND a little and shot the interviews at f2+2/3 on a 85mm. Since all the overhead lights were turned off I needed to add lights to the black background.  I didn’t want to just “wash” the background with light but instead wanted some texture to it. a 650W Dedo and a 300w strategically placed gave a nice result I think.  On a couple of the interviews I hung some LED tubing which defocused looked like a light wand sort of… 😉

Background setup with 2 lights adding texture to dark background
Christmas light LED tubing adding a "light shaft"
Christmas light LED tubing adding a “light shaft”

Everything was shot for a finished look with no grading in mind so I pushed the blacks just a little bit in camera and the frame grabs below have had nothing done to them.

Ungraded image right out of C300
Ungraded image right out of C300


Ungraded image right out of C300


Funny story about doing things right and not cheating even though your in a rush.  In the first picture up top you see a C-stand with the arm point straight out.  I was rushing and didn’t do it right. It bit me, and drew blood! I walked right into it and almost knocked my teeth out!  Never cheat, do it right and save yourself the hurt. 🙂  Whenever possible try and place the arm with the empty side point up. That way it’s less likely to hit someone in the face…  Another tip is to put a tennis ball , with a whole cut out, on the empty end.


Empty side pointing up
Empty side pointing up


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I work as Director of Photography based in sweden. One of my main strengths is finding the best possibilities for a chosen location, lighting it in a given time frame and producing images meeting, and hopefully exceeding the producers vision. After more than 15 years of working with the moving image I still enjoy the challange of getting “the shot” and seeing the light I own/run a production company in Malmo Sweden,

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