Setting up a product for a still photograph is essentially the same as the setup one might use for video. There is framing and composition, lighting for your subject and background, and exposure and shutter speed—all of which are needed for both photo and video; however, what happens when your camera begins to move, or when your product itself is moving? In this video, Greg talks about his first product lighting experience, and the challenges he faced.
- Product video lighting builds on the foundation of still lighting. You're lighting for your subject, the background, considering framing and composition, exposure and shutter speed for motion. Now, with video, you have to think about where and if your product is moving, how your camera is going to follow it, keeping lights, bounce cards, and sometimes crew out of your shot. And all this happens simultaneously. It can be a lot to think about. My very first experience lighting a product was a glass bottle. I had the crazy idea to animate it with stop motion.
Make it spin, slide in a white abyss kind of space. Pretty ambitious. I had a few Lowel Tota hot lights and a still photo umbrella. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. In hindsight, it was easier to imagine the shot than to actually do it. What I really needed was to find the right tools and techniques to master my lighting for video. I was in college, and I quickly learned what all-nighters were about, and I fell in love with lighting.
I was checking out as many C-stands as Sarah, our cage manager, would allow me, and moving hot lights around my apartment in Philly, until I figured out what those annoying hotspots were on the side of the bottle, my roommates floor lamp. I was intrigued to find where all those reflections were coming from, and how they could make or break the shot. I was just wanting to make a cool looking shot, but I was learning the dynamics of video in the meantime, how to control specularity, fine tune angles of instance, and discovering how not to burn myself or the apartment down.
Over the years, I've continued to build upon my tools and techniques needed to assist filmmakers with their lighting needs. And now, I want to share this information with you. Let's dive in.
- Determining which lights you should have available
- Examining the value of a good grip
- Identifying what should be in your toolkit
- Lighting products on a budget
- Lighting dull and matte objects
- Lighting translucent or glass products
- Making your product shine with movement