How we lit Mick


Shine a light
Lets start at the beginning with the most fundamental, basic of questions – what’s the point of lighting anything, let alone a living legend like Sir Mick Jagger? The answer is simple – because lighting is the most important part of the whole process. Not the filming. Not the fiddly edit. Not the chin-scratching pre-production. The lighting, every time. And if anyone tries to tell you otherwise cover your ears and say “la la la, I’m not listening”. That’s the mature way to deal with it.
You want to make something on a 2D surface, in other words a TV screen which is just a flat surface of lights and colour – appear 3D, which is the world around us and people like Mick Jagger. How do you do this? You do this not by magic or smoke and mirrors but by manipulation of light and shadows. Which add depth and texture to objects and tell the viewer “this is 3D”. Be an illusionist. Go ahead. Have a go.
Remember the human eye sees three things first:
1 The SHARPEST thing
2 The BRIGHTEST thing
3 The thing that’s MOVING
This is your 1-2-3 check list that you keep in your head when lighting. In our situation this translated roughly into meaning:
1 Sir Mick is the SHARPEST thing, in particular you want those blue eyes of his to be razor sharp because people look at the eyes. Both eyes. Every thing else will be out of focus, especially the background. If something is out of focus it looks further away. It’s an illusion. And you’re an illusionist now, remember.
2 Sir Mick is the BRIGHTEST thing, which means everything else will be duller, so dim the light on the background down a notch or two. Go as low as you can, you can always boost it in post.
3 Only Mick MOVES. And those famous lips. Nothing else. Especially not the background. No distracting backgrounds from now on.
Light of my life
Ok lets get on with lighting Mick. We’ve only got limited time. Remember there are only two sources of light you can try to control on this small, but accommodating planet:
1 The Sun
2 Electric light
And that’s it. Nothing else.
In fact if you only remember one thing from reading this – remember that and it’ll serve you well.
Trip the light fantastic
So why tell you this? Because in every situation you have a choice between the two – or put it more simply between:
1 Inside light (ie. electric light)
2 Outside light (ie. the sun)
And sometimes a mixture of the two. In the case of Sir Mick, we chose inside light. So we went the whole hog.
That means black-out. Total 100% blinds down, curtains drawn, absolutely pitch black!
Why? One word: control. Just like in life, the more control we have, the more chance things will happen on purpose rather than by accident.
With any lighting situation, you should look to control the environment as much as possible. Be a control freak.
A quick word on coloured gels: approach with caution. Less is more. And remember to KISS: keep it simple, stupid. You don’t want amateur dramatics night at the local village hall. There is only one rule: aim for natural light. Imitate natural light as much as possible. Remember the saying “and then there was light” it is not “and then there was a multi coloured luminescent glow of lime greens, ruby reds and blurry blues”
Just as salt looks better on film than actual rain, if you can fake natural light, you’ve got it made. So fake it til you make it. And play god. Go on. You never know…. maybe, just maybe you might make it look better.
And then there was light
Lets get back to basics. Why do we need to get the lighting right at all? Well if you get it wrong, just like in life where you take short cuts or compromise…. you have to compensate somewhere else. Like in camera.
Which might mean adding gain. And as Harry Enfield’s comic character used to say: “I do not believe you want to do that”
Gain is like ISO in digital still cameras, it’s the light sensitivity of the chip in the camera receiving the image information.
Rule: avoid boosting gain like the proverbial plague. How? Get the lighting right.
And not in post either. It’s too time consuming. So get it right in the moment.
Fundamental rule: Use what’s there. Yes, we could’ve thrown a moving, out-of-focus gobo projection onto the back wall. We could’ve done that. Sure. But we didn’t. Not when there was a perfectly good background in the hotel room. Right there. We used a blue coloured gel because the colour blue makes the subject – in this case Sir Mick – stand out from the background as much as possible and gives that classic “3D effect”. Which is what you want. You want texture and layers. Variety is, after all, the spice of life.
Quick warning: be careful not to effect the subject’s skin colour with coloured gels – for example a green gel can make Sir Mick look a bit like the Incredible Hulk. Or worse still, Kermit the frog. You’re best going for ‘cool’ colours like blue. Remember: blue is best.
Frame of reference
A quick word on framing. For any head and shoulders interview, perhaps its might be best to start with your don’ts:
1 Don’t put Mick in the middle of the frame.
2 Don’t make him so small you can’t see him.
3 Don’t let him look straight at the camera.
Don’t question these. Just don’t do them. I know rules are made to be broken but don’t it, not with these three.
We sit Mick to the left of frame to give him ‘looking space’ - something that is known in the trade as adding “visual speed” to the image.
Framing Mick to the left of frame also adds interest to the shot, breaking symmetry and observing what stills photographers obsessively refer to as “the rule of thirds”. Which basically means dividing the screen into a grid of two horizontal and two vertical lines and then putting stuff in those areas.
Mick should look at the interviewer. Not the camera. But by what angle should Mick be sat? Good question. Well, here comes the science part, turn Sir Mick gently, but firmly 30 to 40% off camera.
Paint it black
Ok I don’t want to come across all arty but what I’m about to talk about here is called Rembrandt lighting. I know it might sound a bit random and high-brow to suddenly reference one of the greatest painters in European history…. but you are after all painting with light. Lets not forget that. You are an artist, of sorts. You work with light. The sun/Dedo lights/DivaLites all create light. Cameras capture light. The screen is your canvas.
Rembrandt lighting refers specifically to that magic triangle of light where there is nose shadow and light in both eyes, giving the face dimension and making Mick’s eyes all nice and sparkly. You want to create shadows. How do you create shadows? All light travels in straight lines – where you break those lines, you get shadows. In the simplest terms, the lighting should never, ever be flat and straight on. Flattening is not flattering.
Bring me sunshine
Let’s look at the technical set-up now. Our main or ‘key’ light is the lightweight, compact KinoFlo DivaLite 400, for which we have two different sets of 55W fluorescent tubes – both daylight KF5500 tubes and tungsten KF2900 tubes (for inside) which are colour correct in their right environment.
In the blacked-out hotel room of the opulent decadence of the Soho Hotel suite, we obviously chose the tungsten tubes positioning the DivaLite at a 45 degree angle above Mick’s head, pointing directly into his eyes. So that we didn’t blind him, we then added a 60 degree honeycomb to give a warm, intimate lighting effect, throwing the light where we want it most – on Mick. The DivaLite acts as what we call our “key” light. You should think of this as a replacement of the sun.
In other words, your one and only source of light. This should be your mantra:
“The Diva light is my substitute sun”. So be a pseudo sun worshipper. And bring me sunshine.
It’s only 3 point lighting… But I like it
And so to the detail. The devil, after all, is in the detail. For detail we use Dedo DLH4 24V 150W lamps. Three of them. This achieves, somewhat inevitably, the classic “3 point lighting” situation you may have heard about. These small lamps, with diffusers, add subtlety and soft lighting to lift shadows on Mick’s face. Coloured gels are used to add depth and dimension to the background.
The Dedo lights are positioned as follows: a “fill” light with a 12inch 5-in-1 Photoflex LiteDisc reflector gently lifts the harsh shadows on the left side of Mick’s face and achieves a 2:1 contrast ratio of light/shadow on his face. A kicker light on a flexible stand extension, positioned high up behind Mick’s right shoulder provides a lift to the hair and shoulder area with a yellow coloured gel. The “kicker” is crucial to create the illusion of separation of subject from background, or in this case – Mick from wall.
A word of warning though: be careful with the angle of the kicker light, try not to point it into the camera and avoid lens flare at all costs. Finally a back-light with a blue coloured filter throws light onto the background, adding texture, depth and making Mick really stand out from the background so you, the viewer, focus on him.
Like a Rolling Stone
To film the main interview we use the new High Definition tape-less Sony XDCAM HD format PDW-F355 camera. This was ‘locked-off’ or static in conventional interview style – just off to the right of Mick’s eye-line, which meant he could maintain eye-contact with interviewer and former editor of famous film publication Empire magazine, Will Lawrence (pictured on the right with Mick). This was complimented by a second camera to add depth to the interview, another High Definition camera – the Sony EX-1. The second camera was hand-held and transformed into black and white in edit to give it a “filmic” feel. The interesting angles add an extra dimension and give an alternative perspective, picking up on different emotions/expressions, providing the viewer with further insight into Mick’s words.
These cameras are a new breed of ‘tapeless’ technology, which means that instead of recording on traditional tape, they record onto disks and are quite remarkably saved as files which can then be transferred onto an edit suite, much like a normal computer file. Which means greater speed, ease and a more efficient edit process.

Where can you see the interview?
The interview is transmitted on MySpace’s new celebrity channel. This means a potentially huge global audience will see the interview - with MySpace alone having an astonishing 300 million members. Forcefed Media are responsible for all aspects of the production – an innovative technical set-up with state-of-the-art camera equipment to capture this high profile celebrity at top quality. It is this professional set-up that makes Forcefed Media a cut above the rest and make the work really stand out for the client.
So what do you do next if you want to get started with lighting or take it to the next level? We recommend you sign yourself up for a lighting course to extend your knowledge and get some practical advice, there are plenty of good ones out there. Alternatively you can take the pain away and ask us to help you with any lighting situation you may have. Just phone Antony at Forcefed Media on 020 7165 5786 or email antony@forcefed.co.uk or check out our website at www.forcefed.co.uk.
Forcefed Media are specialists in video production, animation, 3D graphics, live events and multimedia. We are experts in our field. Working in both the UK and internationally clients include Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline, Barclays Bank, MTV, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Wembley Stadium, TomTom, LivingTV, Ocean Spray & British Telecom.

Tags: mick jagger | lighting | iss024 | dedo | dedo dlh4 24v 150w lamps | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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Tips and Tricks to Giving Sci-Fi a New Look
Mathieu Marano From Terminator to Blade Runner, Alien, and even E.T., science fiction is a genre that will never fail to capture an audience’s imagination. It’s also a genre that encompasses so much more than just space crafts or time travel: frequently providing filmmakers with a platform from which to not only highlight social and political issues, but also explore innovations in the world of filmmaking itself.
Tags: iss131 | sci-fi | blackmagic design | vfx | resolve | 4k | cinemadng | davinci | ursa mini | Mathieu Marano
Contributing Author Mathieu Marano Click to read or download PDF
Opting In or Opting Out
Peter Savage 2 Peter Savage, CEO of Azule, explains whether you should opt in or opt out of the current red tape nightmare facing businesses large and small.
Tags: iss131 | azule | gdpr | consent | Peter Savage 2
Contributing Author Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
Listening to the needs of audio engineers
Alan Wheable Monitoring SDI video content within an installation is and has always been straight forwards. If you have a monitor, and you can see the image correctly, all is well. This is not necessarily the case for metadata and especially not for audio.
Tags: iss131 | omnitek | audio monitoring | aes | ebu | smpte 2110 | st2110 | smpte 352 | dolby | Alan Wheable
Contributing Author Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
Slow Motion Video Techniques
Phil Vinter Well, those kinds of higher frame rates still pretty much belong to the big guns. The Phantom Flex will give you 2,000 frames a second at ultra HD or 1,000 fps at 4K. It produces truly stunning images, but at a price that is beyond the reach of all but those with the biggest budgets. The camera retails at a cool £100,000 (I’ll have three please) with a daily hire out charge of around £3,000 (including lighting and a technician). IDT’s OS series cameras produce equally high quality images at a cheaper price, but you’re still talking tens of thousands.
Tags: iss131 | slo-mo | phantom | idt | fs7 | fs5 | rx10 mk111 | hfr | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read or download PDF
Security, Identity and Privacy
Bruce Devlin - new Put your hand up if you have more than one online-identity. Keep your hand up if the adverts for your latest online purchase follow you between identities as you surf the web. You can now let your hand fall into your lap because adverts that follow you indicate algorithms that have merged your multiple identities into the one and only you.
Tags: iss131 | class | Security | Identity | Privacy | gdpr | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
Betting Industry Transformed by Video Technology
Chris Thornton In the betting and gaming industry, the streaming of live sports from across the globe is a big business. It’s proven that revenues increase when bettors are able to watch the event that they have placed a bet on, providing a far more engaging experience.
Tags: iss131 | sis | betting | latency | satellite | jpeg2000 | Chris Thornton
Contributing Author Chris Thornton Click to read or download PDF
Artificial Intelligence and Economics
Dick Hobbs - new It’s May, so it seems inevitable that this month’s column should be a bit of a reflection on NAB. And it will, in due course. But first, some news which I think is interesting. Cisco, the IT giant, is selling off its video software solutions business. It is being bought by an as-yet unnamed new company, backed by venture capitalist Permira Funds.
Tags: iss131 | AI | dejero | evs | sky news | xeebra | state of the nation | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Moving to an IP Platform Considerations
Stephen Brownsill Audio transport methods have remained virtually unchanged in the broadcast industry for more than half a century. Common approaches to routing audio around large broadcast facilities have closely followed methodology employed in telco central offices, with the use of X-Y crossbar or crosspoint switching.
Tags: iss131 | ip | smpte | st2110 | Stephen Brownsill
Contributing Author Stephen Brownsill Click to read or download PDF
What is Serial Communication
Mike Colyer

Don’t get me wrong - the advent of IP technology has done wonders for the broadcasting universe, especially here in Special Cams land where changing a setting could have involved a rather long walk and climb to a remote camera location! Nevertheless, this said, I still feel that serial communication is a huge contender - not only just in the realm of odd robotics systems, but also across broadcast in general.

In this article, I will walk through the very basics - introducing a few different types of serial and how they work.

Tags: iss131 | rs422 | rs232 | parity | rs485 | Mike Colyer
Contributing Author Mike Colyer Click to read or download PDF
Broadcasting Indoor Sky Diving
Daniel Harker Barnes When you say you’re broadcasting skydiving, there are two types of reactions. One is the creative, who’ll say something along the lines of “Wow. Those shots must look great” and other is the engineer who’ll say “That must be a real hassle to get all the infrastructure in and secure.”
Tags: iss131 | sky diving | ally adams | roaming camera | Daniel Harker Barnes
Contributing Author Daniel Harker Barnes Click to read or download PDF
The Ongoing Evolution of Subtitling Technology
Dean Wales As a subtitling technology developer and manufacturer we’re currently and frequently hearing remarks along the lines of us ‘having it easy’ at the moment. This has typically spun out from the fact that there hasn’t been any really significant and therefore demanding technology shifts in the industry that have affected us for a while.
Tags: iss131 | captions | subtitling | ott | speechmatics | live subtitling | live subtitles | Dean Wales
Contributing Author Dean Wales Click to read or download PDF
Transforming asset management and monetization
Chad Hamilton FremantleMedia is one of the largest global television-production companies in the world — with one of the biggest and most valuable catalogs. We operate in 36 markets, creating, producing, and distributing content across traditional TV and digital platforms at a rate of more than 10,000 hours of programming per year.
Tags: iss130 | freemantlemedia | core | wazee | Chad Hamilton
Contributing Author Chad Hamilton Click to read or download PDF
TV Futures, Tales on Location
Georgia Thirtle If I think back to last May, I was just finishing my second year at the University of Portsmouth, studying Television and Broadcasting, and winding down for the summer. Then out of the blue I got a message from my course leader, saying I might be getting a call from someone who was a location manager working for Raider productions, you know, the production company behind the upcoming Tomb Raider film, I mean, what!?
Tags: iss130 | portsmouth university | tomb raider | cci tv | ccitv | Georgia Thirtle
Contributing Author Georgia Thirtle Click to read or download PDF
Reliable back-up at the Music City Bowl
Sam Gordon WLEX – LEX18 – is the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky, and part of the Cordillera Communications Group. As a very popular local station with a broadcast area that covers 40 counties across central Kentucky we have a big commitment to news, broadcasting more than seven hours of live programming on a typical day.
Tags: iss130 | wlex-tv | dejero | engo | gobox | cellsat | Sam Gordon
Contributing Author Sam Gordon Click to read or download PDF
Grand slam IPTV and digital signage platform
Joe Walsh Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, is home to major league baseball’s Kansas City Royals. Built in 1973, “The K” has a proud baseball legacy, and goes down in history for winning two World Series championship titles; one in 1985 and another in 2015 — exactly 20 years apart. The most recent win brought a resurgence of baseball fever to the stadium, hosting more than 2.7 million fans during its 2015 winning season.
Tags: iss130 | iptv | vitec | eztv | Joe Walsh
Contributing Author Joe Walsh Click to read or download PDF
The shining star of Dancing On Ice
Rod Aaron Gammons Lighting is an incredibly important part of any TV production, and it can make a huge difference to what is seen on-screen. If the right lights are used in the right way, it can create a mood, set a tone and convey a certain atmosphere.
Tags: iss130 | rotolight | led lighting | anova pro 2 | chris yacoubian | Rod Aaron Gammons
Contributing Author Rod Aaron Gammons Click to read or download PDF
Six steps for award winning sound design with Jungle Studios
Chris Turner Few can argue that great sound design is one of the most important elements to any moving picture. Mute most horrors, and the difference in fear factor will be enormous. Visualize Jaws or Star Wars, and John Williams’s iconic score will instantly come to mind.
Tags: iss130 | jungle studios | fairlight | blackmagic design | davinci | Chris Turner
Contributing Author Chris Turner Click to read or download PDF
Out of the box: Sennheiser Ambeo VR microphone
Jon Pratchett 2 The use of 360 video, especially on platforms like Facebook and YouTube is really starting to take off. Gone are the days when you needed to buy multiple GoPros and rigs in order to get something decent looking. Now players like Insta360 and even GoPro with their fusion 360 camera are providing single camera, high quality solutions, enabling the masses to put out reasonable quality, certainly watchable, 360 video.
Tags: iss130 | vr | virtual reality | audio | ambiosonic | Jon Pratchett 2
Contributing Author Jon Pratchett 2 Click to read or download PDF
Interview with Peter Rowsell, Polar Graphics
Polar If you don’t recognise the name Peter Rowsell instantly you no doubt would recognise him in person, from the famous ‘Pink Coconut’ parties during IBC (Brighton) in the 80s or the name ‘Polar Video or Polar Graphics’ both companies which he’s built up over the years.
Tags: iss130 | polar graphics | apantac | bluefish | cinedeck | focalpoint | mediaproxy | stardom | storagedna | Polar
Contributing Author Polar Click to read or download PDF
Technological advances in the broadcast industry
Alan Wheable Since it is Omnitek’s 20th anniversary this year, I thought it would be interesting to look back over the technological advances in the broadcast industry over the last few decades and look at the similarities between then and now.
Tags: iss130 | omnitek | test and measurement | smpte 2110 | untra tq | 2022 | sdi 2022-6 | Alan Wheable
Contributing Author Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
NAB is all about people
John Smith -new The relative success of NAB is down to people. The individuals we meet, the relationships we make and renew with customers and the desire to work together to develop a technology solution to any given challenge.
Tags: iss130 | media links | nab | mdp 3020 | md8000 | John Smith -new
Contributing Author John Smith -new Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new

On the most recent occasion I was trimmed, my hairdresser had just returned from a holiday in Hawaii.

Where she thought she was going to die. She thought this because the state’s emergency alert system was triggered, sending messages across all available platforms, for 38 minutes, that a ballistic missile was about to strike. That, I suspect, is the sort of thing that casts a pall across your holiday.

Why did it happen? Essentially it happened because an operator selected the wrong menu item. “I feel very badly from what’s happened,” he is quoted as saying, in a somewhat mangled version of English which may at least in part explain his difficulties with menu items.

Tags: iss130 | alertsense | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Why OTT needs multicast ABR
Damien Lucas Last year, Netflix’s global revenue reached $11 billion, with 24 million new names added to its subscribers’ list. Viewers are certainly making their preferences heard – and voting with their remote controls to show that over-the-top (OTT) content is here to stay.
Tags: iss130 | ott | abr | adaptive bit rate | cdn | dsl | lte | Damien Lucas
Contributing Author Damien Lucas Click to read or download PDF
Tried and tested: DPA d:vice
KitPlus KitPlus recently took delivery of an interesting piece of equipment for review. We like our iPhone gadgets here. For us, useful iPhone gadgets started when the Olloclip lens gave us a wide angle adaptor. This was a good start, finally evolving into a proper tool when Ziess produced the Exolens system for the 5,6 & 7 series iPhones. Around the same time as the Olloclip came out we were testing the Fostex AR4i which was a very exciting development at the time. You have a portable device, that you carry everywhere with you, connected to the world but with very limited audio capabilities. A stereo interface with decent microphones was a real boon!
Tags: iss130 | dpa | dvice | iphone | journalist mic | filmic | ios | microdot | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
VR and the importance of tracking
KitPlus I would like to begin this article by clarifying what we at Shotoku mean when we talk about VR in live production. It’s not the production of immersive, 360 content where you need to wear a headset; we are talking about virtual studio (VS) and augmented reality (AR) work, such as placing graphics into a green screen environment or physical set. The technology used for this work is entirely different, though equally specialist – therefore it is important to understand the challenges of this kind of production in order to make informed kit choices.
Tags: iss130 | shotoku | vr | live production | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
How IP-based KVM can improve workflow in broadcast control rooms
John Halksworth One of the most significant shifts the broadcast industry has seen over recent years is the adoption of IP technology as a standard infrastructure across the entire broadcast workflow. IP provides a network suitable for routing audio, video and control around a broadcast facility and is providing the answers to many industry challenges.
Tags: iss130 | kvm | adder | adderlink | alif100t | John Halksworth
Contributing Author John Halksworth Click to read or download PDF
Panasonic GH5: Tried and Tested
Tim Bearder My journey as a filmmaker began with a select number of enthusiastic BBC reporters picked out and trained in the concept of Personal Digital Production by the American Video Journalist Michael Rosenblum.
Tags: iss129 | panasonic | gh5 | dslr | senheirser avx | c200 | Tim Bearder
Contributing Author Tim Bearder Click to read