Today we dive into the shooting and editing of the “Testimonies” video for Lakeside Christian Church in Springfield, Illinois. If you want to hear more about this project head over to our blog about this project here! We had so much fun getting to work on this video production that we thought it would be fun to dive into some of the behind-the-scenes work that went into this project!
Setting Up The Video Scene at Lakeside Christian Church
To start let’s dive into camera and lighting positions. Huge shout out to Lighting Diagrams for this awesome tool. When I get to shoot days, I almost ALWAYS forget to take a BTS photo so this tool made it super handy to show the setup.
Lakeside Christian has this really pretty wood panel wall just as you get in the front doors of the building. I knew I wanted this shot to have a nice depth to help narrow the focus right in on the subject. This helped limit distractions in the frame and ultimately made the subject pop a bit more. The subject sat in an armchair ~6ft from the panel wall.
I like using these bar lights in the backgrounds of shots. They create a neat dynamic to the scene and they are insanely bright considering their size. I use these a lot for simple hair lighting, or sometimes just adding a little pop of color or highlight here and there. We’ll dive more into the gear for this shoot later in this blog. Using that bar light helps to create separation as well. It helps to shape the back of subject’s head a little bit better and defines them a touch more.
We used the Amaran 200x as our key light here with a 36″ softbox and a grid on top of that to help with the spill and focus more of that light on the subject’s face. I find that using a gridded softbox helps to achieve more of that Rembrandt-style of lighting. This softbox is a touch bigger than what we needed and there was a bit more spill on the right side of the subject’s face. This shot is still dramatic which is the feel I was going for in this scene. The subject matter was personal so I wanted that to be felt in the mood of the lighting and scene as a whole, while not looking too contrasty and over the top.
Since this was shot right inside the front doors of Lakeside Christian, there was a TON of light coming in, making it super hard to create this contrast. We started shooting right around 4 pm at the church so it was broad daylight. Thankfully, the church had a few black curtains that we wheeled in and positioned as needed. This functioned as a negative fill for the right side of the subject’s face, while also blocking a considerable amount of light. These curtains were probably 2 or so feet away from the subject so it softened the deepness of the contrast as well.
You’ll notice there is another camera angle on this diagram. I always like having options in editing for especially for cutting between angles. However, I didn’t love how close the angle was to the eye-line without having the subject actually looking into the camera and so it was scrapped early on.
Last but certainly not least, audio. For this video production, we rocked a super simple setup. We used a handy Zoom h1 recorder with a 3.5mm microphone attachment clipped to the collar. Simple and effective.
EXIF Info and More
This shot was captured on the Sony A7III with one of my all-time favorite lenses, the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art lens for Canon, and adapted with the Sigma MC-11 Adapter. I’ve super enjoyed this setup over the years. It has served me well with minimal autofocus issues for a non-native lens. We shot in SLOG-2 and filmed in 4K24P at the highest bit rate available on this camera. I like shooting in 4K even when I am not delivering 4K because of the freedom it gives me in post. I knew this was going to be used over the projectors in service on Sunday and so 4K wasn’t essential. This gave me the freedom to punch in and add a dramatic element when I wanted to switch the shot up or cut in on a good soundbite.
Below you’ll find the rest of the info on this scene. This EXIF data comes courtesy of Kamil Pekala and their plugin True EXIF. Great plugin and it’s free! PS: Highly recommend checking out more of their work (mask to transform is so rad!).
I generally think this lens is sharper at f/2 and it hunts for focus less stopped down a pinch.
Image Size: 3840×2160
Again, love the punch-in-ability of shooting in 4K for a 1080 deliverable. Even if you don’t need to punch in, who doesn’t love sharper footage?
SLOG2’s native ISO is 800, another reason the curtains were a huge help (and why we only used 1/4th the power of the key)
Shutter Speed: 1/60 s
A slight violation of the 180º shutter rule, but at most, a negligible difference.
Video Frame Rate: 23.976
I went 24fps instead of 30 just to add that cinema style to the video.
White Balance: Sunny
The key light was temperature balanced to daylight (~5500K) so we also set the in-camera white balance to daylight so there was no weirdness in color interpretation.
This project was shot in SLOG2 and that was primarily to give us freedom in post with the color grade, but more so to hold onto all of that dynamic range. You can check out below what our straight out of camera was and what it looks like with that color grade. Speaking of the color grade, who doesn’t like free stuff? You can get the color grade we used on this project and on all of our video blogs right here!
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My tried and true: Sony A7III
My favorite lens ever: Sigma 85mm F/1.4 Art for Canon
The Adapter that makes it all possible: Sigma MC-11 Canon -> Sony
An awesome, affordable key light: Aputure Amaran 200x
Bar lights: Yongnuo YN 360 — Love that these lights are fully RGB and run on Sony NPF batteries.
The best softbox, no assembly required: Glow EZ Lock 36″ Softbox
The simple and handy: Zoom H1
We loved getting to work with Lakeside Christian Church here in Springfield, Illinois. Always fun getting to work in our backyard with digital media projects in the central Illinois area. If you are in Springfield, Decatur, or Lincoln, Illinois and are interested in video production, creative media, or web development contact us today!