How do you get that solid black looking background?  This is a question I once had when shooting video.  So one day I had an opportunity to shoot a quick interview and I jumped at the opportunity.  I had the whole thing planned in my head.  It was gonna be awesome.  A real dramatic look with a black background and some cool angles.

I found a giant black backdrop that I was gonna use for the video.  I set up my lights and began setting up my camera.  This was one of my first videos so I was doing everything by the book.  I was reading my meter on the camera to make sure my exposure wasn’t too dark.

I shot the interview and went home excited to see the footage and t was awful.  Apparently I shot way over exposed and you could see every fiber of the black backdrop.  It was so bad that you could even see white specs where the cloth had lent on it.  No good.  The video was pretty much useless.

Here’s what I’ve learned.  Don’t trust your meter on you DSLR.  I now trust what I’m seeing in the monitor and lots of times my meter is completely off the chart saying it’s too dark.  Remember when you’re thinking about this.  You camera can’t decide that it just wants to see the subject.  It is going to tell you what it thinks you need in order to see the whole shot so use your eyes and not the camera to get a great shot.

Another important part is to control your light source.  When I shot this I was fairly close to the backdrop so I should have blocked the light with something so it wouldn’t hit the backdrop.  I could have also moved the subject forward and off of the backdrop more.

If you control your light and pay attention to what you want to see in the shot and don’t rely just on what the camera’s telling you it will be much easier to get the great shot you are looking for.