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Ryan Fleet

Retail Store Interior Interviews - During Store Hours

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I'm shooting some retail interior store interviews during store hours. Most are located inside store malls. I'm told I can't disrupt traffic in the store so turning off some of the lights might not be an option. 

I'll be shooting with two Sony A7sii and some Zeiss Milvus lenses. 25, 35, 50, 85 F1.4

Trying to figure out what I can pack for lighting that I can easily travel with and fly with - with a solo crew. Keeping a small footprint in the store is going to be some what important. The stores are not going to be the giant stores like a Macy's or Jc Penney's. I'm told it will be a small store like a jewelry store.  

My first thought is to just keep it simple and bring some negative fill and do what I can with it. Another thought I had was bringing a very simple china ball or something that could just add some very soft fill to the face. These obviously aren't high budget but I do want them to look good, given the circumstances.

Does anyone have any tips on things that could be useful in a scenario like this?

 

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Where is this ending up? Sometimes the client really doesn't care about what the product looks like when they aren't willing to adjust things for the shooter's needs.

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If possible only uses lights that can be powered by batteries (LED). Then you don't have to worry about creating a trip hazard and they are fast to move about. 

Also if your interviewing staff members in the store, they may not be that keen on being interviewed/nervous. Rocking up with a ton of lights is intimidating. The smaller your footprint and the lower key you can be will probably help relax your contributor and get a better interview.

Also if your on your own, security is an issue. Don't bring more kit then you can carry or move around easily. If your doing 3 -4 trips back to the car and the shops still open, kit could walk.

You could probably make available light work, but it will be flat and toppy, so I agree a soft source and mabye neg fill is worth having in your toolkit. But if I was on my own - I think I'd just take a LED panel and just use that to give a bit of shape to the shot. 90% of getting a good shot/lighting is working with the location and available light, e.g shooting by the window, outside etc... be creative

The less kit you can lug around the better, you need to be fast and mobile and ready to grap opportunities when you get gaps in customers.

I would also consider shooting on Zooms - much quicker for grabbing B-roll and adjusting the frame in the event of problems. Every time I've taken primes to a run and gun type shoot, I've missed things during lens changes and its more stuff to carry store to store.

In this situation if you can't control the space/lighting its not about getting perfection but something you can cut together that looks decent. If the shop gets busy working round the customers will be the biggest frustration. 

Audio is usually at least a problematic the visuals, even if you can see other people in the shot you may hear them, or background muzak, if your doing sound as well don't forget to record a couple of minutes of atmos and room tone.   

 

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My 2 cents.. if possible.. set up an interview area in the store .. bring the people to you.. maybe a a few decent backgrounds with depth.... Definitely battery operated lights.. TBH I would just go with one LED 1x1 light you can put a decent sized soft box on .. eg Astra with a DoP soft box or similar .. or LED Mat light..  a small light will be a hard light.. small light with a decent sized soft box will be a soft light ..  whats your frame rate.. check for an flicker from the practicals .. if you shoot FF it will be easy to get the background soft .. which will probably work in this best in this situation .. get any music turned off.. or it will kill you in the edit ..

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Thanks for the feedback, very helpful!

Max, this is going to end up on their social channels and played at an annual internal conference.

I have some Dracast Daylight LED panels I'll bring one of them with a soft-box, gels, and V mount to Power. I'll have some negative fill and bounce on hand. Most of these stores are in a mall setting with no windows so that is my biggest concern. It may or may not be that big of a deal because generally malls have giant windows on the roof that by placing the subject closer to the store opening I should be able to get some of that daylight coming in. But obviously you never know until you get there. 

Good point about the audio. Trying to get the internal music turned off in the store will be very important. Hoping the internal Mall music isn't going to be terribly loud.  

I thought about using my zooms the Canon 24-70 F2.8L and the Canon 70-200 F2.8L but was thinking maybe to get a little better of a look to use the primes. However, I agree with you that zooms are going to be easier to work with, so I might leave the primes out. Something I didn't mention; I'm also thinking of having another camera body with same settings set up with a wider focal length to go at any moment. Either on a Ronin-S Gimbal or just hand held. I'm thinking about B-Roll and also portraits of the talent shot HFR with a little push in. 

I'll have to get an assistant too. Good point about not wanting to leave gear around un-attended and shopping malls can create long walking distances between your car.  

Robin, frame rate is 23.976 1/50 shutter but I'll have to adjust it to get rid of any present flicker from the practicals. 

Bottom line is I'm just going to have to work within my constraints because I can't bring a lot of my gear. I just wanted to be thoughtful about the look of this to the best of my ability. I'm going to try hard to turn the practicals on or off for my needs and place the talent where I need them. From what I know the talent is eager to be on camera and know I'll be coming in advance so that should work in my favor. 

Thanks again for the feedback.

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I had a similar situation shooting a Barnes & Noble for a marketing video during store hours.  It was the giant one near Union Square. The big problem of course, was not being able to turn off their house lights which were a rainbow of mismatched sources and colors.  It was horrific on skin tones.  But being open for the public, they had to remain on.

I had plenty of 4x4 floppies.  At least 4 but to be honest, I wanted even more.  Don't underestimate how awful the interior lighting may be and have enough grip gear to keep it off your "on camera" subjects.

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23 minutes ago, Ryan Fleet said:

Thanks for the feedback, very helpful!

Max, this is going to end up on their social channels and played at an annual internal conference.

I have some Dracast Daylight LED panels I'll bring one of them with a soft-box, gels, and V mount to Power. I'll have some negative fill and bounce on hand. Most of these stores are in a mall setting with no windows so that is my biggest concern. It may or may not be that big of a deal because generally malls have giant windows on the roof that by placing the subject closer to the store opening I should be able to get some of that daylight coming in. But obviously you never know until you get there. 

Good point about the audio. Trying to get the internal music turned off in the store will be very important. Hoping the internal Mall music isn't going to be terribly loud.  

I thought about using my zooms the Canon 24-70 F2.8L and the Canon 70-200 F2.8L but was thinking maybe to get a little better of a look to use the primes. However, I agree with you that zooms are going to be easier to work with, so I might leave the primes out. Something I didn't mention; I'm also thinking of having another camera body with same settings set up with a wider focal length to go at any moment. Either on a Ronin-S Gimbal or just hand held. I'm thinking about B-Roll and also portraits of the talent shot HFR with a little push in. 

I'll have to get an assistant too. Good point about not wanting to leave gear around un-attended and shopping malls can create long walking distances between your car.  

Robin, frame rate is 23.976 1/50 shutter but I'll have to adjust it to get rid of any present flicker from the practicals. 

Bottom line is I'm just going to have to work within my constraints because I can't bring a lot of my gear. I just wanted to be thoughtful about the look of this to the best of my ability. I'm going to try hard to turn the practicals on or off for my needs and place the talent where I need them. From what I know the talent is eager to be on camera and know I'll be coming in advance so that should work in my favor. 

Thanks again for the feedback.

If your in the USA.. which seems you are .. I would use 1/60th shutter .. as you have a 60Hz system.. this should get rid of any fluorescent light flicker .. there is no difference to the eye between 1/50th and 1/60th  image wise.. but its by far the safer shutter speed in the US.. 

Hand held with those cameras is pretty hard to to do..with inanimate subject matter.. I would go with the gimbal myself..

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3 hours ago, Michael LaVoie said:

I had a similar situation shooting a Barnes & Noble for a marketing video during store hours.  It was the giant one near Union Square. The big problem of course, was not being able to turn off their house lights which were a rainbow of mismatched sources and colors.  It was horrific on skin tones.  But being open for the public, they had to remain on.

I had plenty of 4x4 floppies.  At least 4 but to be honest, I wanted even more.  Don't underestimate how awful the interior lighting may be and have enough grip gear to keep it off your "on camera" subjects.

Great info, I'll look to bring more travel pop up negative fill. I was thinking of throwing one directly over top of the talent and then one on the side to create some shadow then using a really soft light to fill in and maybe add an eye light. I did some digging and I think I found the spot you're talking about. Was it for Vice? Looks like you kept it tight and shallow and then the grade was a little desaturated probably because of the mixed lighting?

 

 

3 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

If your in the USA.. which seems you are .. I would use 1/60th shutter .. as you have a 60Hz system.. this should get rid of any fluorescent light flicker .. there is no difference to the eye between 1/50th and 1/60th  image wise.. but its by far the safer shutter speed in the US.. 

Hand held with those cameras is pretty hard to to do..with inanimate subject matter.. I would go with the gimbal myself..

Thanks Robin, yes, i'm from the US, I'll use 1/60 shutter to be safe!

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