How to Build a Lighting Setup for an Interview in Mixed Light Conditions

Building a portable lighting setup can be extremely convenient not only when you need to shoot indoors, but also in multiple run-and-gun situations. A common issue that you might come across, though, is dealing with mixed light conditions. Presumably, the power of the light sources that you bring with you on set wouldn’t be able to overpower the ambient light sources in the place where you tend to film. Moreover, if you’re involved in a shooting scenario where you have mixed ambient light along with sunlight coming from the windows of the given building it will be even harder to get the right white balance settings of your camera. Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens will share with us what are the challenges we need to tackle with when filming an interview in mixed lighting conditions.

First off, it may sound obvious but you need to come prepared on set. Get as many light units as you can travel comfortably with as well as enough accessories such as gels, clamps, stands, batteries along with the tiniest bits and pieces that might help you to get the job done. Utilising a few Rosco Litepad Vector lights would be a great starting point, but you can use any other LED light panels as long as they are portable enough, have battery capabilities, local dimming and variable color balance.


The next step of the process is picking the right spot and lighting it accordingly. If you are shooting with a mirrorless camera or DSLR you can take some quick photos in advance to pick an angle and set your framing until you find out what would work best for your setup. Once you find your angle, you need to decide what you will do with the ambient light in the place.

In the given example Jay P. Morgan decides to use the florescent light in the Mannequin Gallery as an overall fill light and then build his lighting setup from there. The best approach in this particular situation would be to balance the key light to the light temperature of the primary ambient light sources in the place.


You can also use a fill board to bounce some of the key light to the other side of the face of your talent. Finally, you can utilise another LED panel to throw some backlight to complete your lighting setup before you start rolling. If the rim light is too strong, you can either dim it a little bit or put a grid to soften the effect even more.

Ultimately, if the place allows it and you want to add more depth to your shot, you can get a third source to light the background, especially if there are any details worth showing as part of your final composition.

[via: ISO1200, source: The Slanted Lens]

B&H Links:

Rosco 3-Head LitePad Vector CCT Location Lighting Kit – $ 3,515.63

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