Seated interviews are often the backbone of commercial, corporate, and online video content. As such, being able to elevate the lighting of your subjects' interviews can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your productions. The detailed tutorial video above shares our process for lighting interview subjects, and this blog seeks to outline some resources you should consider before shooting your next interview.
Assessing your resources is an import part of pre-production for video interviews. Ideally, you want to have a few cinema lights on-hand. The key light is most important and gives shape to the subject. It is often the brightest light on-set, and is most flattering when heavily diffused through a softox or a silk scrim. The Godox VL-150 is a great key light at a great value, and can be easily modified with a variety of Bowen-mount softboxes, like this Neewer 24-inch (affiliate links).
If you don't have the budget for a larger key, or want to augment with additional lights, budget LED-panels like the battery-capable GVM 800D-RGB offer lots of flexibility (affiliate link). As a bonus, they provide RGB color output and a litany of fun special effects, which we have detailed in the below video:
With a great location and a bit of ingenuity, you can still create well lit interviews even without cinema lights. Placing your subject in natural lighting can be quite flattering in locations with large windows. If relying on natural light, you'll want to have a thorough understanding of the forecasted cloud cover and the direction the sun will move throughout the interview.
Practical lights can also be a great tool for interview lighting. Making use of locations that have motivated sources such as floor lamps could help fill in your interview frame and provide proper exposure on your subject. Bringing in additional off-screen practicals could help further boost output or provide fill on the dark side of your subjects' faces. An affordable pop-up reflector, like this Neewer 5-in-1 can provide additional fill or diffusion for your interviews.
No matter what gear you are working with, the process outlined in the tutorial video will help to get the most out of your resources. Before shooting, know your product, your location, and your interview subjects well. Give yourself plenty of time to set-up and test your interview frames before inviting in your subjects. With a thorough plan and attention to detail, you can take your interview lighting to higher levels.