As mentioned above, the interviews with local band No Speed Limit were primarily to create a DVD to send to festival promoters along with a couple of songs from a concert I shot on New Year’s Eve. The group also wanted to upload the interviews to its MySpace page, and perhaps YouTube.
I wanted the interviews to create a warm, intimate mood, which sounded ideal for three-point lighting with soft lights. Although they were also bound for web distribution, I knew that MySpace videos can be at least 480×360, which was plenty of resolution to support the contrast introduced by the facial shadows. If the group had planned to stream the videos at 320×240 or smaller, I would have advised them to consider flat lighting.
I used the same two main lights as before, but I positioned the Rifa-lite close to the subject as the key, and the Omni-light, again equipped with umbrella, about 15ft. away as the fill. Because I was shooting the interviews at the concert site, I had plenty of room to use the Pro-light, with a 250W bulb, as the rim light. You can see the result in Figure 5.
Figure 3: Traditional three-point lighting is used to create mood in non-newsy video. Note how the shadow from the nose doesn’t cross the “smile” crease.
Here’s a video on setting up three-point lighting.
Overall, my conversation with Chang confirmed that flat lighting is appropriate for most business- and news-oriented videos, as well as smaller-resolution videos bound for web distribution. You can create flat lighting using fluorescent banks, or via the dual-key or single-key approach using soft lights — especially when you're having a tough time eliminating shadows in the background. For studios, consider a fluorescent-based system. For portable use, a tungsten-based system such as the DV Creator 44 is ideal because the compact tungsten bulbs and light fixtures provide plenty of powerful light you can soften with a soft box, umbrella, gel, or reflector. When the mood or tone of the video is appropriate, use three-pointing lighting, although this may degrade the quality of lower-resolution videos distributed via the Web.