By Lexa Deckert & Sarah Redohl
About a month ago I reported at a bike polo practice but the light, especially during the interview, wasn't the greatest. Because the majority of the practice takes place at night, lit only by street lamps, there was nothing to light the interviewee's face and I did not have an external light on me that day. I went back a few weeks later and I set up the light exactly as how the kit is set up to use the external light. Below is what I collected. The content of the video is irrelevant, we are just using it as a light test.
The light on the subjects face is very harsh. There are a couple key reasons for that. Usually any direct light is going to be a lot harsher than light that is diffused somehow, or coming from multiple directions. Because the light is directly looking into the subjects face, it creates distracting shadows and lines on her face.
The reason the light is so direct is because the dock for the light is on the very top of the Bubo, pointing directly forward at whatever the Bubo is pointed at.
Another issue contributing to the harsh lighting is the size of the light. The smaller the light, generally the more harsh. It creates the directional shadows and high contrast in the subject's face. A larger light would create less contrast, diffused shadows and a softer light on the subject's face.
In the future, I plan to use the light but not attached to the Bubo. A convergence journalism professor at MU, Olga Missiri gave me some advice. She said, "Part of the problem is the position of the light. It's flat in her face, same eye level and that never works well, no matter what light you're using. But if you could raise the light higher and also move it to 45 degrees position so it hits her from a better angle, it would work much better. Moving it back away from her a little more would help as well. Alternatively, you might be able to get a defuser for it and soften it that way. Or, if you have a spare hand, you can point the light to something white (piece of white cardboard you hold, a white wall, etc.) to bounce it off the white surface on to the subject and defuse it that way. And, I'd probably look to see if there is a camera flash softbox I could use on this light. The flash softboxes come in tiny sizes and you might be able to wrap it around the one you have."
So, what I take from this advice is that we can make the light work, we just have to use it differently than it is meant to be used within the kit.