For my next blog post I thought I’d try and do a bit of a project breakdown of something that was a bit of a challenge. And the TP+ series I shot for Sunpix is a perfect example of that. So let’s get stuck in…

The concept

At first let’s see what this project was and the challenges it came with.

Our presenters, Alistar Kata and John Pulu

The team at Sunpix wanted to shoot a few summer episodes for their Tagata Pasifika show. These episodes would be aired in the Summer time, instead of episode recaps or reruns and as so they should be able to be done on a limited budget. The concept was one of a 22min panel talk episode, between a select panel of 1-3 guests and 2 presenters.

The challenges

The concept sounds quite easy and straightforward for the broadcast world. However the challenges were quite a few from a DOP’s perspective. Let’s start with the studio.

The studio

Behind the scenes. 2 x Cineflex light mats, LED backlights and Dedo for presenter key. That’s my son/assistant Theodore, sitting in 🙂

The space we had to shoot this in, was an empty office space in the company’s premises, with a total size of 5m x 5m approximately and a ceiling height of no more than 3.5m. In this space we would have to accommodate the massive, curved background LED screen pictured above and our panel table for 5 people. There was no space for trusses or any kind of ceiling mounted lighting rig.

The coverage plan

After discussions with the producers, we agreed to shoot this with 3 cameras. One would be fixed on our main presenter, in order for this to accommodate an autocue, the other would be fixed on a wide shot of the panel and the 3rd camera would be placed in such a position that it would be able to rove between closeups of the guests and the 2nd presenter. When we agreed on that coverage, we also thought it would be good to have an extra option in post for the wide shot, so we decided to shoot that in 4k, giving us the option to push in or do some pans in post.
An important factor that also played a big role in our camera placement was that we didn’t have 3 FS7’s, but only 2 and an FS700. The FS700 could not shoot 4k 50p (see below) so that was assigned the safest shot, the presenter lock off.
So this is what the camera coverage plan looked like:

  • Cam 1 – Sony FS7, Sigma 18-35 f1.8 – Locked off wide shot, shooting in 4k (to reframe in post)
  • Cam 2 – Sony FS700, Nikon 105mm f2- Locked off closeup of presenter 1 – with autocue
  • Cam 3 – Sony FS7, Canon 70-200 f2.8 – Roving closeup of the of panel guests and presenter 2

One more thing I needed to consider was the fact that we were delivering a show for 1080i broadcast. And as much as it would be easy to just set all 3 cameras to shoot 25p, I wanted the show to have that TV look to it, hence I wanted it to be delivered in proper interlaced format. Because we are shooting in 4k on one of our cameras though and because the show will also live online, shooting interlaced was not an option either. So I decided to just go for 50p acquisition on all cameras and talk to post about how to work on the footage in order to get the best for both worlds.


This was the most challenging part. With a low ceiling and no truss the options were limited. The main challenge was to handle the reflections from the background screen panels. The amount of them and the curved nature of the array would create light reflections in at least one of the camera angles. So the only solution would be some ambient, soft lighting that would come from sources high enough and to the sides, at such an angle that they will not produce reflections on the wide shot.
So we set the background screen to warm and decided to shoot it all in 3200K.
For the key, totally up to the task proved to be my 2 Cineflex 100W mats with soft boxes sitting on 3m stands almost all the way up. These provided the main panel lighting. I also rigged 2 LED panels with diff gels on the top of the screen in order to backlight the guests and fill in for my side-lit presenters. The only thing missing was a bit of punch on our main presenter, which I achieved with a couple of Dedo’s, one for key and one as a backlight.


Here is the finished result

Hope you enjoyed this article. I’m always open to discuss ideas and answer questions so please feel free to get in touch, either via email, Whatsapp or Instagram DM.
Thanks for reading!