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Jim Krause | Classes | P351/J560 Video Field & Post Production

Portraiture Exercise

Overview: In this exercise you'll practice portraiture using additional light sources.

Instructions: Work with one or two partners. Each of you will shoot your own project. Be sure to use a tripod and that each shot lasts at least 4 seconds.

Find a unique setting to capture portraits of a single subject (E.g., one of your partners). It could be indoors or outdoors, seated or standing, leaning or in a pose. Work this out with your subject. The background, horizon line, pose, depth of field, and framing are all important and contribute to the composition.

After recording a field slate and color bars, capture two versions of these two shots:

  • A Medium Close-Up
  • A Close-Up or Extreme Close-Up

Frame and light your subject and capture a first version of each shot. Then, vary an element, and take a second version. You can take a third version if you are inspired.

Once you’ve captured the shots, import the clips into your editing software, and assemble a short sequence. Make sure the shots are in the right order and that you maintain HD throughout your workflow. Output a sequence to turn in and write a critique. For your critique, address each shot. Consider the contributing elements of each image (pose, framing, background, lighting, etc.), what worked and what didn’t.
Before the start of the next lab:

  • Upload your 1920x1080 media file to our shared P351 Google Drive folder.
  • Upload your critique to Canvas.

Before you shoot: Make sure your recording format is HD (1920 x 1080). Shoot with the camera in Manual mode. Check to make sure you know how to select the different recording modes, control the video gain, focus, and iris, set audio levels, choose the proper white balance, and how to use the zebra stripes, peaking, and image magnification. Be sure you know how to turn on and off the ND filters.


  1. Field slate showing your name, shooting format & frame rate. (You can add this in post if you want.)
  2. SMPTE color bars
  3. Portrait – Medium Close-Up 1
  4. Portrait – Medium Close-Up 2 (Same shot as above but vary an element.)
  5. Portrait – Close-Up or Extreme Close-Up 1
  6. Portrait – Close-Up or Extreme Close-Up 2 (Same shot as above but vary an element.)

Rubric (10 points):

  • Technical/aesthetic execution (5 points)
  • Critique (5 points)


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