Lighting for a three camera set-up.

I was asked to DP a three camera shoot for a kid’s TV show that had product branding in it. We needed to shoot 8 x 90 second segments in one day. For cameras we used standard ENG XDCAM Sony 700’s. The request was to light a 3 camera shoot that had some mood to it like a girls’ slumber party but not have it look like a daytime talk show, which is typically bright and flat. I also had to use the studio’s existing lamps and could not bring in anything extra. There was two ways that I considered going about this. The first would have been to light everything from the floor like a traditional “film” shoot and have a few back lights here and there hanging from the grid. The second approach would be to light it entirely from the grid.  Since I only had a 4 hour pre-light and only two crew members to work with, I decided that I’d get the job done on time if I lit everything from the grid. I also wanted to keep the set floor clean and clear of any gear, especially when using three cameras and having to shoot 8 segments. This was more of a studio shoot after all.

For lighting, I primarily used source four lekos to key all 5 talent with very little fill light. I use these lights sparingly because while they have many uses, they tend to be very specific uses. But in this case I knew they would work perfectly for the task at hand. The source-fours enabled us to key light the talent very precisely yet create a fall-off effect into darker areas. This kept the set from looking too bright and flat and it also eliminated any multiple shadows from overlapping sources. I’m personally ok with one shadow, as this is natural, but I hate seeing multiple shadows from many sources… it just looks sloppy.  The still image is a screen grab off the monitor from my iphone.



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