Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Volunteers Make A Difference

I shot and edited the story on Stu - The Volunteer with Tony Grace reporting for 'A' Morning Ottawa. Opening shot with Christmas decorartion hanging off the ceiling is purposely striking to wake up the viewer. It's followed by more traditional sequences.

From shooting prospective I wanted to touch on two clips in the story - Stu's and Suzanne's. Since the story was set in the dining hall among the St.-Vincent Hospital patients having Christmas dinner, I naturally wanted to shoot the interviews right there. The lighting in the hall was dimmed out. Normally traveling light, the only light source I had on me was 25W Anton Bauer camera light (there is too many 'lights' in the sentence, but I don't know how to describe the lighting situation better).

I aimed the light up into the low ceiling. The ceiling was painted off-white, so with fluorescent light bleeding from the serving area on the right and the bouncing light I was able to bring the subject forward, while keeping the background visible. Using direct camera light into the subject's face would have made the shot harsh and "news-like", and it would have eliminated the background, making it totally dark.

After resolving lighting situation I had to soften the background, because otherwise I would have had to go around the tables and ask everyone's permission - that was the rule imposed by the hospital. I could not step back and use tele photo to narrow the depth of field, because I was supposed to ask the questions and both Stu and Suzanne had enough hard time to hear my voice in the noisy room. So I shot it wide, but focused for infinity and adjusted focuse on subjects' face with the macro ring. I recommend to try this technique if you are using a zoom lense with separate macro control. Technically you would probably ruin all the efforts the optics designers implemented into their great and expensive product, but the shot will worth it. Use it sparingly.

As for the rest of the story - the color temperature was different in every corner of every room and every hallway in the building. Just had to do my white balance over and over and over again.