Explainer Archives - SkEye Studios
How To: Lighting a Video Interview

How To: Lighting a Video Interview


Videos require stories, stories require story-telling, and story-telling, well, it requires lighting. Wait? What? Let us explain, at SkEye Studios we ask a lot of questions: How do you make an interview stand out? What is the most important part of an on-camera interview with a subject? Does three-point lighting really matter? What is three-point lighting?

The Experiment

Who doesn’t like experiments? Besides, why take the advice from experienced greats like Errol Morris? He has only won several Academy Awards and Best Documentary Film a couple times 😉  Prior to the production of our latest project with iTech Painting (Lead Paint PSA), we decided to spend a few hours in the studio experimenting with lighting an interview. We asked ourselves, is three-point lighting really necessary? And, is one of the lights more important than another?

Key Light

  1. the main source of light in a photograph or film.
Key Light Example

Arguably one of the most important lights on an interview, this is the main source of light in an interview. If you don’t have a key light you probably won’t see too much of the subject. If you only have one light, this would be the place to use it.

Fill Light

  1. a supplementary light used in photography or filming that does not change the character of the main light and is used chiefly to lighten shadows.
Key Light Example

The fill light is more optional than the key light. It is used to reduce the amount of contrast on the subject’s face. It is typically set up directly opposite of the key light and farther away from the subject to evenly spread the light across the scene.

Hair Light (also known as back light)

  1. illumination from behind.
Key Light Example

The hair light (which is nearly synonymous with the term back light) is placed behind the subject around 3 feet above their head. It is arguably one of the coolest and most interesting lights on the set. It has the ability to make you look like an angel, but if it is not used properly it can cause an unwanted lens flare. It is also the light you would use if you are trying to keep someone’s identity secret…as you can see from our screenshot.

All of this aside, the hair light, when used in conjunction with the other lighting, provides a very nice silhouette around the subject and makes them pop off the background. This is a very nice added touch to an interview as it adds depth to the shot.

Hair light

Using only a hair light might seem a little humorous, but it is quite useful if you are trying to protect someone’s identity.

No Hair light with Key Light

You can see in this picture that the set does not look as deep. The lack of light on the shoulders and hair makes the subject blend into the background more of the set.

Back Drop

  1. a painted cloth hung at the back of a theater stage as part of the scenery.
Key Light Example

Lighting the back drop is probably one of the most overlooked aspects when lighting an interview. This is because it is a very subtle addition to set. However, you will notice that it definitely adds another interesting element to the set of an interview. One common mistake when lighting the backdrop is letting some of the light spill onto the subject. It is very important that you use barn doors or flanges to focus the light onto only what you want to light.

Star Wars to Small Business

Star Wars to Small Business

Three Things Star Wars Can Teach You About Your Small Business Video

When one goes about planning the video they want to represent their small business, their first thought is most likely not to reference the high-budget and widely popular Star Wars blockbuster franchise for inspiration.  For what can Wookies, lightsabers, and the Millennium Falcon really have to do with creating a dynamic and interesting small business video?  More than you may think.  And with over 96% of consumers finding video helpful when making purchase decisions, having a stellar video for your small business is a must.  So hit the hyperdrive, use the force, and follow me through three Jedi-approved lessons you can learn for your next small business video.


A New World

There is no denying that a huge reason the Star Wars movies are so popular is that George Lucas (and the creative minds behind him) introduced a new world that moviegoers hadn’t seen before.  It was a vast, complex, and awe-inducing world full of new sights, ideas, and Death Stars.



So how can your business create their own exciting galaxy far far away?  By showing your customers the specific, intricate, and unique “world” of your business.  Use your video as a way of taking your customers behind the scenes into a part of your business that they’ve never seen before.  

Does your business build bicycle parts?  Shoot an engaging tour, not of your showroom, but of your workshop.  Does your business sell cars?  Move past the car lot to highlight the inner relationships and personality of one of your top salespeople.  77% of consumers consider companies that create online video as more engaged with customers.  Every business has their own unique world, with their own unique characters, and if you can highlight that, you’ll be showing your customers what they’ve never seen before–leading them to be engaged, interested, and connected to your business in a new way.



Color Matters

The average person has no trouble remembering that all the baddies in Star Wars (Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and the teenage mini-Vader in the latest movie) have red lightsabers.  Why did the filmmakers choose this color?  Because the color red symbolizes many traits of the Dark Side: anger, strength, power, passion.  This symbolism hits most of us subconsciously, but it is undeniable that different colors can make us feel different things.  Don’t believe me?  Think how different it would feel if Darth Vader’s lightsaber was not red but pink.  Suddenly the big old baddie doesn’t seem so bad.

Chances are that as a business owner you know the colors of your business and use them often in your branding, newsletters, and print materials.  Don’t forget them in your video!  The impact of your video will be more than the text of your newsletter or the copy on your website.  Research shows that using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and click-through rates by 65%.  So it’s imperative that the mood, personality, and colors of your video match the rest of your marketing.

So, ask yourself: what color is my logo?  What color are my uniforms?  What color are the walls of my business?  What colors or backgrounds will convey the emotions I want my customers to feel?   If you’re a family-friendly business that wants to convey warmth and approachability, you shouldn’t show up to the shoot in a black polo shirt and shoot in front of a black chalkboard.  If you’re an environmentally friendly tech company, you’d want to highlight the associations people have between the colors green and blue with the environment and technology.  Color can be an easy way to influence how your customers feel when they watch your video.




When you ask someone what their favorite thing about the Star Wars movies are, they don’t usually say something like “I thought the story as a whole was cohesive and impressive and I liked how the scenes fit together to form the big picture.”  Instead they say: “I loved it when the Millennium Falcon escaped from Tatooine,” or I laughed so hard when Solo said, “Let the Wookie win.”  What people love about Star Wars, and all good films, are moments.  Though you need good story structure and a cohesive plot to tell a good story, what people remember are the moments that stood out to them.

The same applies to videos on any scale.  You want a customer watching the video to walk away with a strong moment that they’ll not just remember an hour later but a week or month later.  Video is shared 1200% more times than links and text combined.  What moment can you create that would prompt people to click that share button?  You most likely won’t have an Ewok or Imperial Star Destroyer in your video, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a lasting moment. 

In the homepage video SkEye created last year for iTech Painting (see below), a certain shot/moment has stayed in the mind of consumers and is talked about by those that watch the video.  It is of owner Ryan Whipple watching his daughter laughing on a playground slide as he talks about being a family man.  And because that moment stays with consumers, it instantly associates iTech Painting with a family friendly business.  The most shared video content is 89% Educational, 91% Heartwarming, and 94% Humorous.  So when you think through the video you want to make for your business, highlight what images and moments can move beyond just an advertisement of your business but what can be educational, heartwarming, or humorous.



So there you have it.  Three lessons you can learn from Star Wars to create an engaging and exciting video for your small business.  And as you venture into the video creating world, we say sincerely from our SkEye family to yours…may the force be with you!


Alfa-Romeo hits the track at Portland International Raceway

Alfa-Romeo hits the track at Portland International Raceway

The Alfa Romeo Club in Portland, Oregon is now the proud owner of three new videos to represent the diversity of the club: any age, any skill, and any car can race! We were so excited to work with this group to display the fun, fantasty, and freedom that the members experience. Using video in sports is a great way to draw your audience into the action and bring the fun to life. We bet you can’t watch just one of them.

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Animated explainer videos for NWIC

Animated explainer videos for NWIC

nwic blog wordsOne of our newer services at SkEye Studios are fully animated videos that are used to visually explain a concept. These videos present an interesting challenge, because every word in the narration has to be visually represented by an animated object or shape. The end result helps the viewer visualize a concept in a new way.

We recently created an animated explainer video for Northwest Investment Counselors LLC, an investment advisory firm that specializes in helping their clients deal wisely with their wealth. We were put to the task of explaining what it means to hold a CFA® designation in the financial industry. In order to do so, we sat down with team members at NWIC to learn more about what it means to be a financial advisor and how advisors can help you manage your money.

We learned so much that we were able to create an animated video explaining some of the ins and outs of what it means to be a financial advisor. Take a look at the final product below:


We’re always looking for new and exciting services we can offer, and explainer videos are just one of our many features. Check out our website to find out what we can do for you.

Kick-Starting the Wine Learning Hub

Kick-Starting the Wine Learning Hub

SkEye Studios has “kick-started” the Wine Learning Hub with our first ever crowd sourcing campaign video. After working intensely in the editing suite, we launched a video for the Wine Learning Hub to help them raise $20,000 for the production of a groundbreaking app that will change the way people learn about wine. We have truly enjoyed the opportunity to work with this exciting new company. SkEye Studios is looking forward to the opportunity to produce more Kickstarter videos that will be sure to help new companies hit the ground running!