We started our Learning Tree shoot in a class room situation at their offices. I’ve shot several times in this classroom, but we did it a little differently this time. I’ve lit this room several different ways, bouncing heads into the ceiling, soft boxes off camera, HMI’s punching through the windows, but this time I opted for hanging Kino Flo’s from the ceiling, skinned with #250 diffusion. The client specified they wanted a very nice pool of even soft lighting. For all you grip fans out there, here is my advice for hanging Kino’s from drop ceiling situations. I originally was going to use a scissor clamp, since that’s what they are designed for, but upon my pre-light day to test these out, I discovered not all drop ceilings are treated equally. The scissor clamps did not fit on these ceilings. I opted to mount baby plates on some 1×6 boards and slide them on top of the frame by removing the panel. A much better solution since the weight is now distributed over two of the frame bars, instead of just one. This worked out beautifully. It also keeps the head a few inches taller in frame, which was critical for these low ceilings.
Next, we went to a studio situation. Well, this is even better for control if you have the option. We had a rather large shot list to try and get as many points of view as we can with these scenarios. Shooting on a large cove would allow this. I wanted to surround the talent in the tables with soft light on all sides. We mounted several heads on speed rail for the cove walls, and punched in 4 more heads through a large silk for the foreground. This worked out beautifully. The only trick was to keep adjusting the power output for the narrow depth of field shots (F4) to wider depth of field shots to around an (F11). Assistant Hugh did a fine job sprinting around the cove to adjust power settings though.
Notice the jib for the camera. Certainly not necessary for a still shoot, this is for the smooth flowing video shots. Although, since we were constantly changing angles and heights, it was great to be able to do that on the fly with the jib, as oppossed to re-adjusting the tripod legs all day.
We were able to shoot at the swanky Quixote Studios in Los Angeles. Right next door, were the standing sets for Criminal Minds. Great fun to go explore their sets since they were on location
Thank you Learning Tree! Looking forward to next time.