This is the second interview-style video we filmed outdoors. The first one — about The Smoked Olive — was recorded earlier the same May 2010 day at the same farmer’s market. (We’ll be posting that interview in the near future.)
The Smoked Olive interview grew out of scouting the market for background video. We were visiting St. Helena Farmer’s Market because Pupusa Griddle Catering and Napa Valley Chef Catering’s Hector Marroquin was introducing a new formulation for kimchi to go with Central American and Caribbean favorites. (If you want to check out my original interview with Chef Marroquin, it’s posted on YouTube as well.)
Normally, we record our videos indoors, where we have much more control over the environment. Recording video outdoors is a challenge, since we do not have a crew to help us. It was just my husband controlling the camera and lighting. Unlike the foggy, shaded conditions for The Smoked Olive interview, this one was in direct sunlight, which casts dark shadows on faces. I was in front of the camera interviewing chef Hector.
To control harsh shadows in direct sunlight the videographer needs to have a very bright light, which is expensive and cumbersome for an unobtrusive video rig, or a reflector to bounce sunlight to light the harsh shadows on faces.
If we had another person we could also use a diffuser, a partially transparent cloth that eliminates the harsh shadows on subjects while still allowing the Sun to light the scene. However, unless the shot is tightly cropped to the head and shoulders of the subject or subjects, it can be difficult to keep such a diffuser out of view in the recording.
So we used a collapsible Lastolite handheld reflector. It has silver and gold-and-silver sides. Silver or white reflectors are best for shade or overcast days to keep the color tones toward the bluish side of the visible spectrum for correction en masse in postproduction. However, in direct sunlight, the warm golden reflector side worked well on chef Hector and me.
Yet, highly reflective materials such as metallic fabric on these reflectors has to be used with caution to prevent blinding or excessive squinting. Jeff has found success in standing 15 to 20 feet away at a 45-degree angle between the reflector and the camera. That allows good profile lighting without reflecting bright light directly into the eyes of the subject.
All that work for a two and a half minute video.
If you would like to buy a hoodie similar to the one I’m wearing in this video, you can purchase it from the civil rights group Liberty in North Korea. It appears they have run out of black hoodies but they are currently selling a grey version of the same hoodie.
Finding appropriate music for our videos has been a struggle in the past but Jamendo has made that process much easier. This time, we found a song is called “Platanote” by Tunacka from their album Ensarada. Tunacka are from Venenzuela and you can find other songs by this artist on Jamendo as well. It has become our place to find creative commons, royalty free music.