A Few Minutes With Bill O’Reilly

Bill O'Reilly

When I got the call from Dave Baratz at USAWeekend to shoot Bill O’Reilly, I immediately could tell from his voice that this was probably when was of those quick in-and-out gigs, and I was right. Bill had extremely limited time available and wouldn’t go to a studio, so the only place we could shoot him was on the set of The O’Reilly Factor at Fox News. Oh yeah…we were told we would only have about ten minutes with him…immediately before he taped his show!

I figured I had better go check the place out…

It was small…really small! My wide-angle lenses were gonna get a workout! The only place I could drop a seamless for the cover would be in a back corner behind the cameras…


For a second shot, the only other possibility seemed around his desk…


But when I saw the Stage Manager sitting in a nook to the side I had an idea…


Because of the time constraints and the fact that I was going to shoot him against that backlit set, I made the decision to light Bill with a couple of 1′ x 1′ BiColor Litepanels. The BiColor variator made it super easy to dial in the correct color temperature and the output variator allowed me to match the intensity of the backlit blue wall in seconds. I’ve really come to appreciate the WYSIWYG aspect of shooting the the Litepanel system.

Bill O’Reilly…on set in 3…2…1…


Bill O'Reilly

That took care of the opener…


Now, on to the cover.

I took a subjects-eye-view of the cover setup…


…which sort of shows how tightly backed into that corner we really were…


Since the story was about volunteerism, Dave and I thought it would be nice to play off the old Uncle Sam, ‘I Want You!’ poster…


And Bill got into the whole Uncle-Sam-pointing thing which made my work that much easier…

Bill O'Reilly

And here’s the cover that came out yesterday


Bill and I hope YOU enjoyed todays behind-the-scenes look!


8 thoughts on “A Few Minutes With Bill O’Reilly

  1. Very cool and beautiful lighting as always. Were you renting those panels for the day? I looked them up and at $2995 each, I choked,…..YIKES!

    Yeah…the price to buy is in-fucking-sane, but under a C-note to rent. BT

  2. i was just about to say what kerry said… so maybe you rented them, you don’t quite acknowledge that…. 🙂 i was photographing a reporter at a major nightly newscast recently (and came away with nothing this gorgeous, sheesh,) who showed me something similar, which he said one of their camera guys sourced in china for very little money. i had a small flash with me, but he let me use one of those and it was SWEET.

    I honestly would have a very hard time coughing up the kind of money these things cost to buy them. It’s far easier to rent them as needed and pass the cost on to the client. But I have looked at the other 1×1 light panels available and there are quite a few to choose from that don’t come anywhere near the cost of the Litepanel version, like this one from IKAN…

    IKAN 1×1 Bi-Color Light Panel

    I’ve played around with it at B&H and it seems to do everything the Bi-Color Litepanel does, for a third the price. Now I can’t make any claims to which one might be better made, or as to the color consistency/quality of the two, but I kinda doubt the Litepanel is gonna give you three times the bang for the buck!


  3. Brad, great BTS.. thanks. Just wondering, when you shoot a job like this does the client send an art director along or is it just you and your assistant? Did they spec the orange seamless for the cover shot or is that your input?

    I’m lucky if an A/D or Photo Editor shows up 5% of the time on an editorial shoot! You get the assignment, have a brief talk about what the magazine wants and what I’d like to get away with and off we go. Occasionally I’ll have someone from the magazine show up for a cover shoot, but even that is rare. In this case, because USA Weekend is based in the DC area, it’s not unusual that I’d be on my own…although Dave did show up for Alec Baldwin!

    As for the color choice, that was all mine. I suggested orange because I figured it would be a great way to pop O’Reilly off the page, even though I know Weekend has a hard time printing bright primary colors on the newsprint they use. I was actually surprised Dave went with it, but it came out great. BT

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