My idea was simple. I set up the light as far away from the interview as I could get it and bounced the light off of a wall. This gave me a light source of about eight feet (2.4 metres) by four feet (1.2 metres) at almost 90 degrees to the subject and at a distance of over thirty feet (9 + metres). Quite a decent soft light, but very directional and it looks utterly unlit.
This is an effect that I have written about before but the power of the ERQ kit, given that it is only rated at 400 w/s, made this very easy. I was able to be quite a distance away using a 70-200 f2.IS L lens on an EOS5D MkII and frame my shots with relative ease. I was shooting between rows of chairs and invited guests and had been asked by the organisers to severely limit my use of flash so I only got half a dozen goes at the shot. This was my favourite frame and it shows the interviewer - Radio 4's Jenni Murray - asking Alan Bennett a question right at the start of the session.
This was shot at 1/60th of a second at f5.6 at 800 ISO. The available light was non-existent and the effect is very interesting. I had been worried about the range of the Elinchrom Skyport triggers but they worked very well at a range of at least thirty feet, probably nearer to forty feet and my only gripe with them is their lack of a locking mechanism to keep them in the hot shoe. The ERQ system passe another important test here and I'm still very very happy with the kit.
© Neil Turner June 2009