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How To Light An Interview For $26

By December 20, 2012 Lighting 21 Comments

We’ve had one heck of an amazing year in 2012!

And as the team sat around talking recently, we knew we wanted to do something equally amazing to give back.

After all, without the support from you, our readers, fans, attendees, and supporters, 2012 wouldn’t have been one of the most engaging and rewarding years of our lives.

So, to thank you properly – we’re tapping into the holiday season of giving.

We’re making all of our premium tutorials on SMAPP (our iPhone app) completely free – starting right now.

That’s right, all the tools, all the tutorials, have been made 100% free!

If you have the app installed, simply make sure you update it on your device. Or if you’ve yet to download it, well – there is no excuse now (getsmapp.com).

Note to Android users: We’re actively working on an Android version for you as we speak. Stay tuned, it’s coming! :)

If you purchased a few of the tutorials from us previously this year, we really appreciate your early support – and hope you’ve applied those lessons and benefited already from access. You’ve now got access to even more to help push your storytelling to new heights!

If you purchased a handful of tutorials recently on the app, over $20, please click here and fill out this quick form. We’d love to talk with you directly. (Unfortunately, Apple won’t give us your contact info, but it’ll be worth your time to fill out the quick form.)

Cheap Interview Lighting: Grab a few bucks and get resourceful!…

To celebrate two new updates to SMAPP, we’ve created a tutorial we’ve been wanting to shoot for a long time now (scroll up and click play).

Seriously, you should have seen Patrick when we gave him $26 and sent him to Home Depot – he was like a kid on Christmas morning! 😉

We wanted to show you that great interview lighting can be achieved on almost nothing (you can judge for yourself in our example).

This can really happen to you, too.

We’ve been on sets with our luggage delayed, inadequate resources (we weren’t given all the information correctly), or random wrenches thrown in our best pre-production plans (let’s say the location changes suddenly).

We work our butts off to make sure we minimize these major issues – but they still happen – all the time!

Resourcefulness (and a positive attitude) have saved us more times than we can count. :)


Once again, thank you for an amazing year – and I hope you enjoy the dozens of new tools and tutorials you have access to on SMAPP.

Let us know what you think!

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  • http://myliuvisuals.com Michael Liu

    Wow!!!!!! I can’t believe this was all done with $26! You guys are amazing. This just inspired me to go out there and shoot an interview with zero budget!!!


  • Alexis

    Thanks so much for this, not just the tips and all the free tutorials you offer now. But for the time you spend to try different things and to think to guys (like me) who haven’t a bunch of money but keep hope to do something as good as Stillmotion do. (sorry for my english I’m a French frog :p )

  • Mike

    This is AWESOME news! Thanks so much. Your insights, tutorials, and general demeanor towards helping up and coming filmmakers are nothing short of inspiring! Is there anyway for those of us who have already purchased the app to watch the SMAPP tutorials on our computers instead of just within the app?

  • http://www.mitchellroth.com Meecho

    I really enjoyed this tutorial, and you’ve taught me a lot! Thank you for sharing!

  • whatever

    two things:
    1.st all used lights need a certain time to warm up: their color, and as for the hair light, intensity do change during time. At least a half an hour “preburn” should be taken into account
    2. hot work lights, are _very_ sensitive towards movements, its highly recomended to invest the extra 20$ for a viable stand

    • http://stillmotion.ca Patrick

      Hmm we were quite rough with them and they held up well. They are ‘work’ lights after all.


  • http://www.kuka.com Bua

    Thanks boyz. This would be a massive fire hazard with that work light.

    • http://stillmotion.ca Patrick

      With a metal laundry basket it is super solid, but yes do take extra caution with DIY lights that get very hot


  • Dave ©

    You and your team absolutely rock! Thanks so much for giving back. I’m working through all your SMAPP tutorials this week. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Yiannis

    Great. Thanks for that. And thanks for making SMAPP tutorials free! Keep up the good work.

    Small request: please make an iPad app :) It would be awesome!

  • http://www.postitartcreators.com Andreas

    I dont´t get it. Where do all the lights go?

  • Lufa

    Great team.When i am a student in the high school,I was amazed in ur wedding works,Than I went to google,until now,I got many great idea of shooting in thisn team.Love u all.Lighting with $26 is soooo exciting!

  • http://www.railldesign.com Gabrielle

    Hey guys, went to your KNOW conference and love all the work that you do, I’ve learned so much already from your generosity. Thanks for everything and thank you for this wonderful tutorial.

  • Corrado

    hi guys
    get video, but i have a question, that workforce light gets hot, is there any chance of fires?

    • Frank Casanova

      Definitely a fire hazard… That’s why pros use actually lighting gels from people like Roscoe or Lee. Their material is fire resistant… it might shrink, but it won’t burst into flame. Can you imagine if that were to happen during your shoot? Don’t take that chance. Be smart.

  • Sarah

    Thank you! I have been looking for all the KNOWledge! You guys are the best! I am going to put this together today and shoot something! Thanks again!

  • http://www.everydaylanguagelearner.com Aaron

    Thanks so much. Just starting to create a course featuring video and you’ve helped me fill in one of the missing pieces! Very cool!

  • Justin

    Wattage is not a measurement of light output.

    • http://stillmotion.ca Patrick

      Absolutely – though wattage of the same types of lights and fixtures are directly proportional. A 100W LED is certainly not the same as a 100W HMI or Tungsten.

      Thanks for adding that in


  • http://velonomad.com Tim

    Any chance of a gear list guys?

  • http://www.madhouse1.com Jim

    Hi – nice work! But, it would be really useful to have an ‘overhead’ view of how the lights are positioned relative to the subject. Are they in front? Behind? How far away roughly?

    Thanks chaps