A while ago I did a social media commercial shoot with one of my friends Eivind André Bjørnø for the norwegian clothing reseller Kleins. We went to 4 locations all over the city in one day and got around 25 shots.
With no lighting the results could be something like:
Why is this terrible?
Top heavy lighting is terrible for commercials and corporate videos because you want to see a persons eyes. Having no lighting in the eyes is like the subject wearing sunglasses. There is no connection. You are alienated from the subject. Not to mention films use it to show misery and loneliness. We wanted to show honest employees and managers talking about their stores and customers. So the audience connecting with the people in the videos is key.
How do we fix it?
Relight the entire store! Just kidding, that's what a feature film would do. We are two guys, DoP/Director/Sound recordist Eivind Bjørnø and me, the gaffer/AC. And we are going to make these people look great. For example like this:
Our preconditions are:
1. FLAG THE STORE LIGHTING OFF THE SUBJECT
2. Add a soft key light
We lost some light removing those spotlights. Now it's time to add some of our own. Lighting the subject a stop or two over the background is good because our eyes are drawn to the brightest spot in the frame. It also creates separation.
Need a softer source? Increase the surface area relative to the subject! The diffusion makes the source bigger so it softens and flattens wrinkles. In my case I knew one of the employees had some wrinkles, and I hacked together this cheap solution from things in my home. No time, money or space in the car to set up a diffusion frame. And this setup surprisingly enough survived being moved around!
3. Add a hairlight/kicker
Almost always good to get some seperation from the background. And a hairlight and or kicker just makes things look high production value. The little extra effort really does it.
The results turned out pretty decent, especially considering the time we had. All our equipment and two people fit in this medium size car.
Hope you enjoyed! I appreciate questions, comments or criticism, and can be reached @tonivuc on twitter/instagram or in the comments here.
I'm a freelance gaffer. I also do basic grip work.