How to Light an Interview for a Dark and Dramatic Look

Shooting interviews is the bread and butter for a lot of videographers, especially those who work in the commercial sector, from in-house corporate communications and internal marketing, to brand awareness and customer testimonials. Most of these setups would require high-key or fairly neutral lighting styles, but what if the client needed more drama?

Of course, this type of setup isn't just appropriate for corporate or commercial videos, but is commonly adopted for serious documentaries when the subject matter is heavy, mysterious, or personal. 

Coming to you from Greg of Lens Pro to Go is this helpful, to the point tutorial on how to light these dramatically styled interviews. These are good tips for any working videographers looking to expand their reel, but they're even better if you're an amateur looking to dip your toes into the professional world or you just want to up your game for a personal project.

If you're the latter, then the gear used here might be just a bit too spicy for you. The Westcott 2x2 panel is the keylight here, and that alone will set you back $1,899.90. A fantastic piece of kit, certainly, but for those of you on a tighter budget who are not in a position to rent, it is possible to get a similar effect using cheaper equipment. The result will not be as high-end looking as what Lens Pro to Go would be able to achieve with this kit list, but bear in mind that YouTube is not a good place to judge picture quality, so it's hard to tell from where you're sitting.

However, with a decent lens like Sigma's 18-35mm f/1.8, a favorite among many videographers, and a fraction of the price of the Sigma 18-35mm T2 Cine lens, some solid lighting like Aputure's 120d II for a key light, a softbox, a couple of other cheap LED panels like these, and gels, then you're headed in the right direction. 

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