Chicago Film Video Production and Post Production Company
Set up the monitor close to where the camera will be. Plug it in and turn it on. I use an S-Video cable to monitor the camera. Plug it into the monitor and leave the other end handy to plug into the camera. Set up the tripod and level the head. (Tip - I usually set the height of the camera slightly above the talent’s eye level. I feel this gives a better look). Mount the camera to the sliding base plate. Balance the camera weight front to back until it is neutral, i.e. not front or back heavy. Power up the camera and set the color temperature switch to “Daylight”. (We use a 200 watt HMI with a Chimera as our Key Light. Set a rough frame and approximate stop and focus on the lens – more on lighting later). Flip the switch on the camera to output NTSC Bars and Tone. Plug in the S-Video cable from the monitor into the camera and adjust the monitor for correct chroma, hue, brightness and contrast settings. Go here for a detailed explanation on how to set up the monitor:

Scroll down to: “Calibrating a Monitor using SMPTE Color Bars”.

Hopefully, the monitor has been powered on for at least 10 minutes. Settings change as the monitor warms up. It’s probably a good idea to check it again right before you start shooting. This is a good time to plug in the headphones to see that you getting sound from the camera.

Get a couple of comfortable chairs for the talent and the interviewer. Set the talent’s chair 10 – 15 feet away from the camera and mark the position of the legs with some camera tape on the floor – (see the shooting diagram). Place the interviewer’s chair so it won’t be in the shot, but as close to the camera axis as possible. This way the talent will be looking more directly at the camera and we will see the talent’s eyes more clearly.

Next, set up and place the light stands in their approximate positions. Put the lights on the stands and plug into a working 120 volt / 15 – 20 amp outlet or extension cord. We use a Mole-Richardson DigiMole 200 watt HMI with a small Video Pro Chimera (24” x 32” with either the 1/4 or 1/2 grid cloth inside) for our key light. This is a daylight balance light (5600º Kelvin). We also use 2 Mole-Richardson Tweenies lamped with 300-watt tungsten bulbs for our edge and background lights. Use a couple of pieces of Rosco CTB Full Blue Cinegel and clothespins to bring these tungsten balance lights (3200º Kelvin) closer to the daylight range of the HMI. Rough in the lights, we’ll fine-tune them later.

Set up the background 10 to 15 feet behind the talent’s chair and centering on the camera axis. Raise it up to standing eye level for now – we will fine-tune that later, as well.

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