I was recently asked to film two performances and an interview with solo artist Natasha North for SubTV. The interview would be between just her and presenter Ivan Berry and the performances would be just her on her own on guitar or piano. The challenge was that I had to do all of this on my own, including audio, with one light and all within an hour.
We filmed the interview first and this served as a great way of loosening everyone up, Ivan is great at that. Moving onto the first performance, Natasha perched herself on the edge of her couch with an acoustic guitar. I stuck my light up on her right as she was leaning to her left so the light grazed across her face. I also had a horrible little LED panel in my bag that I rested on the back of the couch as a hair light. She gave a great performance over the two takes and I filmed in close so as to allow me to move the camera a little more. This video is embedded at the bottom of this post.
Thankfully we were able to run over by around 20 minutes and so we quickly switched to her beautiful upright piano for the second performance (embedded above). I’ve always found it a bit tricky filming people at an upright piano because they are essentially singing with their face up against a surface. On this occasion I wanted to be brave and make the viewer wait to see Natasha’s face. And so I set up my one light above and behind her and clamped a 5DmkIII to the light stand and opened it up to f/2.8 so that her hands on the keys were just out of focus.
The other angles were the fillers to give the audience something to work with and I found the light balanced quite nicely with the ambient light of the studio. Natasha gave two great performances and I handed the footage over to Dan Baxter who did a lovely edit including slow fades that really suite the song.
Here is the first song Natasha performed: