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Lighting rig for Shooting iPad commercial

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Adrian Allen
Lighting rig for Shooting iPad commercial
on Dec 5, 2010 at 8:03:46 pm

I have a client that wants a Ipad application showcased. I know apple uses a rig to hold the iPad and it is lit a certain way to prevent reflections. Can anyone help in sharing a video or instructions on the best way to rig and light an Ipad so it can be filmed with no reflection and shakiness. I checked youtube, nothing much to see.

Greatly appreciated


creative minds think alike!

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Bill Davis
Re: Lighting rig for Shooting iPad commercial
on Dec 6, 2010 at 11:21:49 pm

1. Product photograpy is a specialized craft and few people can simply buy gear and do this at a high, professional level.

That said...

2. Search on Tabletop photography for general setup and lighting requirements.

3. If you're going to INTERACT with the screen, things become much harder.

The primary issue is that the screen is backlit and most LCD displays are VERY bright and at a VERY high color temp - typically over 6000k. So you'll need to match that with your talent/keyscreen lighting.

HMI's are a good choice here.

But it's STILL going to be a battle between the ambient light of your set - the light coming off the iPad - and the light you'll need to keep the talents hands properly exposed while against the light of the screen.

Finally, in most product shots, the hero (the pad in this case ) is artistically placed (either square to the viewer or at a pleasing angle in use) and ROCK STEADY while being used.

This typically is acomplished by a hidden rig of stands, arms and mounting brackets that FLOAT or HOLD the pad in the correct position relative to the camera - and the talent works around that position.

Again, this stuff is NOT easy to do at a high level of quality.

If you're serious about quality results, you might want to partner with someone who understand's product photography. The kinds of folks who will gladly take 90 minutes to properly rig what's necessary to knock out ONE stray highlight or shadow that they don't want on the product.

If you'd like, take a look at the Appriva Pay spot on the front page of my web site: - it's similar to what you're trying with a touch screen interface phone.

It took about 8 hours to rig in the studio. About 3 hours to shoot. And many hours in post - much spent on stuff like getting the finger/shadows believable when the hand is making choices on the phone.

Good luck.

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Mark Araujo
Re: Lighting rig for Shooting iPad commercial
on Dec 17, 2010 at 9:04:18 pm

I'm sure you've already had to complete this but I'll add just incase. I mount devices by attaching my background (usually white or black foam core) to a solid piece of 1/2" plywood, then using a some 1/2 doweling to mount the device to that background squarely. Usually I end up needing a extra device because I have to epoxy or hard mount it. I then mount that rig to a solid table using clamps. For lighting I use as diffused as possible, and start with 5600K bulbs and CTB gel them to match the screen's temperature. Not sure what camera you are using but on the EX3 it has an ECS mode that allows you to counter act any screen flicker. I then mount the camera directly above the device/wood mount either from our grid or off a solid weighted c-stand. You'll find reflections are the hardest thing to get perfectly right. Because the camera is square on to the device which is reflecting back I'll take a piece of black matte foam core, cut a hole for the lens, and poke it through. That way it's just reflecting black - aka nothing, the lens will some what disappear in the black. In terms of exposure I usually get my lights as bright as possible, expose for any hands in the shot, then I will adjust the device's screen brightness to match my set up.

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