I have recently been experimenting with a new way to light interviews. The method was coined by Shane Hurlbut. Shane named the lighting technique “the book light.” You place your light at a 45 degree angle so that it reflects off a service, (foam core, bead board white sheet) and that surface then reflects the light through a diffused material (silk, white sheet, frost). The outcome is a great soft light source.
When should you use this type of soft light? Someone could use this light if the subject being interviewed has wrinkles because it softens the face versus a hard light that shows more definition. This technique is good to use when you want a gradual fall off the talent’s face. The light is so soft you can place it to the side of your subject and the light will wrap around their face. And because the light is not directly in front of the talent, you won’t necessarily get the light reflections off people’s glasses, which is a big plus.
The light that comes from bouncing the light into a diffused material gives the quality such a soft light and makes your video production look so much more professional. True you could use a soft box, but when you use a soft box you only diffuse the light once. When you use book lighting you are diffusing the light two times and that is what makes it softer.
There are a few drawbacks when setting up this lighting. One is it takes a bit longer to set up. You must position your light and set up a bounce board, and then set up a piece of diffusion. This definitely takes longer to do then just propping up a light on a stand. The other draw back to this technique is you need to flag your light. The spill of the light goes all over and you need to block it with negative fill. However, the benefits of using this light outweighs the negatives. I have created a behind the scenes video, so you can briefly see my set up. I also have included a few pictures as well.
I have been working in television and media for over 18 years. My experience includes news photojournalist, editor, producer and storyteller.