Most people wouldn’t choose Lekos as their light of choice when doing an interview set-up. I want to break those preconceptions and demonstrate how this tool is the jack of all trades.
Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlights (ERS) or more commonly known as Lekos, have been a pivotal part of the theatrical lighting arsenal for many years. Slowly but surely, they have established themselves as a MUST-HAVE on film sets. On my own projects, I make sure to have a few on standby for all sorts of applications. This light is like having your own grip inside it ready to control the source.
For the interview, you want to start by setting the camera and choosing where your key light will live. Always remember to place the key light on the opposite side of the camera from the subject. Your goal is to create contrast on the side in which your camera is placed.
Next you will want to grab (1) Matthews C-Stand and (1) Matthews Quacker Clamp to rig-up a 4’x4’ Bead Board Circle Bounce. Once set – toggle the bounce to the proper angle in which throws the most light intensity. This will act as your key. You’ll notice that you will want to control this source from spilling onto the surrounding walls. Take a 4’x4’ Matthews Floppy Cutter on a c-stand to take the spill away from undesired places.
Even after bouncing the light, you will want to soften it up by creating a Book Light with a waterfall of diffusion. Make sure you don’t obstruct the path of the light beam. Place the diffusion apart from the bounce, letting the light the bounce first, then exiting through the diffusion onto the subject.
It’s always good to have some Black Wrap when using Lekos. The concentration of light makes for a very hot source. You will want to eliminate the harsh light that spills out from the ellipsoidal lens onto the subject.
Once the key light is set, move on to placing the backlight. Sometimes you will find yourself in tight spaces and you can’t cheat a stand out of frame. Lekos are heavy lights, so rigging them to a c-stand won’t work. What works well for this scenario is getting yourself the (1) Matthews Mini Max Boom. Their menace arm will give you the support you need to boom-in from the side. Try using a Bounce Card for your backlight. Bend it to a cove and grip-clip it to the arm of the Mini-Max. Why “cove” the bounce card? This will help concentrate the light onto your subject. You don’t want to end up with spill all over your background. Aim a Leko into the bounce card and toggle your tools until you get the soft light onto your subject.
The biggest thing that people forget when setting up for interviews is that you 100% need to light in layers. Creating depth will always make your image pop and stand out from the rest. Leave some space in the background when placing your talent. You don’t want all of your light to live on one plane. The golden ratio is to light the foreground, midground and background. By doing this correctly, your images will take on a 3D feel.
To finish things off, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right amount of fill on your subject. Try placing a bounce card or bead board to push just enough light to the desired areas. You don’t need to go overkill on this.
It will take some time getting used to Lekos on set. But once you’ve got it down, it can speed up your set-up times exponentially. This is only one of the many ways that Lekos can save your butt in a tight pinch.
Let us know how it goes for you!