3 Person Interview Lighting Setup
Filming an interview can add a captivating element to a case study or other film project, but what about a 3 person interview? Although less common than a 1 or 2 person interview, 3 person interviews are not unheard of. Depending on your setup and the resources available to you, we’re showing you the best 3 person interview lighting setup options to get started.
Determine the Placement of Subjects
The first step to coordinating the lighting of a 3 person interview is to determine how the subjects will be positioned on the set. Will the subjects be talking to one another, talking to the camera, both?
Perhaps one subject will interview the other two? The placement will likely be defined based on how the interview conversation is set to take place so you must determine who is speaking to who before you set the lighting for the film.
This way you can ensure there are no shadows cast on any of the subjects by the lighting or by the subjects themselves where they are positioned.
3 Point Lighting
The first option that tends to be the chosen option for most 3 person interviews is to supplement the 3 point lighting setup that basically every cinematographer is aware of.
This involves using key light to produce the brightest light for the scene which will be used to one side of the primary camera to provide full lighting on the subject with minimal shadow. The key lighting will need to shine towards all 3 subjects to reduce any unwanted shadow effect.
The fill lighting is then used to provide lighting on any of the shadow areas that the key light created. The fill should be placed further away than the key and ideally will be softer than the key light so as not to create shadows of its own.
Add Dimension to Your Scene
Finally, the backlight is used behind the subjects to provide definition to the set and highlight the subject’s composition. The backlighting will help to build dimension between the subject and the background adding a three-dimensional visual appeal to the set.
Unfortunately, with 3 subjects to provide light on and around without shadows, this setup can be challenging. Ideally, additional lights are brought in to further reduce any shadows and accentuate each subject in a way that provides balance and vibrance to the scene.
Many cinematographers choose to use the existing 3 point lighting as well as supplemental lighting for a 3 person interview. Consider the use of a lantern configuration in which lighting is placed on a boom or suspended in the center to produce balanced light on all 3 subjects.
Another option would be to use a 3 light set for each subject. This would involve using key lighting for each subject, a backlight that is shown down from behind all 3 subjects and fill lights from both sides of the set so as to illuminate subjects at both ends.
A three-person interview is more complex than a one or 2 person interview because you have essentially a row of subjects to cast light on unless they are situated in a round table set up in which case you will have several other factors to consider when lighting the set.
The best thing to do is to arrive early and work on your lighting in advance so that there is plenty of time to determine what works best for your setup and the equipment you have.