Some observations about filming



I'd like to make some observations and ask for peoples thoughts on how to improve what I intend to do. Firstly my job will be to interview a number of ladies, having an interview session of around two to three minutes per girl. My wife and I had a practice run tonight, just to give me some idea of this type of work, as it's something I've not really done before. The work will be done inside, in both daytime and early evening lighting levels.

Anyway I noticed the following:

1. The lighting in our louge is 10x25w bulbs, plus 5x20w bulbs giving a total of 350w, which I've always consider up to now as being very bright. However, the picture on the camera appeared somewhat grainy. I compensated by turning the gain on the camera up to +18db. I added a couple of 100W spotlights to the scene, and located the lights behind me to my right by a few feet. I could then drop the gain to +15db.

You seem to need a lot of light to get a good picture. What sort of wattage do most professional studios use? What the's best gain setting for optimum picture quality?

2. The sound quality of the internal camera mic is not good enough. The subject needs to be quite close to the camera to get the mic level up to the top end of the scale, yet not too close as to get the mic level to go red. What is the best mic level? To the top end of the scale?

3. My camera has an S-Video output by the TV I'm likely to have has only RF or composite input. Could I get a box to convert the signal. If so, from where?

Any suggestions for how to improve things would be most appreciated. Thanks.

Kind Regards,
Shane Cook.


OK Shane

I have spoken to another mate of mine who's a Professional AV expert. (He used to be *the* camera's man for TVNZ). Here's what he had to say about your lighting problems:



Hmmm. Hard to be definitive.

Basically, below a certain light level, the camera will put gain in to bring the
picture up to the correct level. As always, you never get something for nothing
and gain introduces noise.

In saying that, I'm surprised (although not from experience) that in standard
domestic lighting that there was so much gain that the average person was
disturbed by it. I was more surprised to read that using the 100W spot lights
only reduced the gain to +15dB. He should check that the shutter is OFF as, if
there was any shutter switched in, the camera would need to put gain in.

If, however, he still doesn't get satisfactory results (i.e. noticeable noise
caused by gain), then he will need to add lighting. Another thing that it's
important to remember is that light has different colour temperatures. If your
camera has white balanced to tungsten (indoor) lighting, daylight will look
blue. If you camera has white balanced to daylight, tungsten lighting will look
orange. A mixture of light can look quite weird and horrible. As the daylight
coming in to the room is not there for every session, he should block out the
daylight coming in and use entirely tungsten lighting (for consistency).
Typical room lighting will probably be inadequate and not controllable so he
should invest in some professional lighting. This will be a pain in the butt as
far as the extra expense, taking it to Russia and the added heat in the room but
such is life in the television industry and things are a lot
better/easier/cheaper than ever before. Without typing out a whole novel on
lighting for television (search the web for "lighting for television" or
similar), basic lighting is such...

Three lights...
One base light - general lighting in the room - flood
One key light - lighting for just the subject - spot
One back light - lighting from behind (gives a nice halo to the hair) - spot

He should try Tim Timlin or Peter Harrison at Euroco distributors (ph. 360 2586)
as they have some really cost effective gear for someone on a tight budget.
Make sure the Russian power supply is the same (!) and find out what plugs they
use - don't use travel adapters as there is a lot of current drawn by a light
(let alone three) and you'll start a fire.

Alternatively, hire some lights in Russia.

Hope that's helpful.


End of Quote


Chris 'kiwiranger' Parke


Bryce also mentioned the following:



As a footnote, because of the nature of the subject he is filming, soft spun
over the light's barn doors would be a good idea. Also, they will probably
already have make-up on but they need to make sure that the subjects have
foundation or similar on otherwise their skin will look shiny and greasy (most

Welcome to the world of professional video where it's definitely not just a case
of pointing a camera at something! :)


end quote:

Good luck in Russia. Are you going to Moscow, St Petereburg or somewhere more exotic?

Chris 'kiwiranger' Parke

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