I have just finished a big online video production in Melbourne. I was surrounded by the most focussed professionals I have ever worked with. Special thanks to Andrew Tinning, Troy Zafer, Kate O’Mara, DoP Aaron Foley, Brendan Lee and the rest of the team. You were simply amazing.
It was a great result, the agency and client over the moon.
And looks like it will end up a national TVC.
But that’s not the point of this article.

The week before the shoot I went to meet with the client in Melbourne and commence the pre-production on the TVC; check out the locations, cast the head talent, talk logistics. At the same time, we decided it would be a good thing for me to assist the photographer to shoot the stills, checking the locations and bonding with the talent, both the same as the TVC.
We arrived at the display home in the outer Melbourne suburbs, ready to shoot the stills.
We realised that, while the display home we were shooting at had power and lights, it was all cabled from the display home next door. The home was literally a ‘display home’, with no working power points and lights that were either all on, or all off.

With not enough extension cables to get down the road to the home with power, the photographer was left with a decision;
Wait for someone to bring a generator, or move on and shoot without lights. We had a shot list as long as your arm to shoot.
He chose to shoot without lights.
As luck would have it, it was a fine, clear day in Melbourne….no clouds. Unbelievable, I know. So he had consistent light.

Here’s the thing, Rob Simeon, the photographer, makes a habit of shooting without lights, even in overcast days. He is a very classy shooter of natural humans and believes in natural, unprocessed, real light to bring out the very best in his work. He works the lenses, the F stops, depth of field, iris, ISO as any photographer would do. But that’s it. Raw, available light.

Rob and I have similar attitudes to light. When shooting my online video productions, I also step back from the scene, look around and generally find that the light I need is already there. Natural daylight streaming through a window on one side and bouncing off a white wall on the other.

I remember shooting a series of Woodside interviews with Paul and the team at Indian Ocean Pictures. We filmed in the company’s head office, using entirely available light.
The interviews were some of the best I have ever shot. Here are three frames from the Woodside film. What I also like to do is change the angle throughout an interview. It just makes for a more interesting film if you are capturing different frames of the same scene.

I try and make do with what is staring at me.
Saves time…time to capture other shots to improve the story.
I haven’t been shooting online videos for that long, but i have been directing and creating engaging, impactful scenes with some very talented cinematographers.
I have learnt from the best.
It’s all about working efficiently.
But beware one thing with available, natural light…make sure it is consistent. Partly cloudy means light changes. That can hurt you.

I hope that helps on your next shoot, whatever role you play.

Remember: Work hard and be nice to people.
Have a great day.