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Product "How-To" Video Lighting Question

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Chris De La Fuente
Product "How-To" Video Lighting Question
on Jun 22, 2017 at 12:30:45 am

Hey, I am a long-time lurker, but first-time poster!

I have been working with a client of mine for a while now making product how-to videos. These are very simple, shot on a color background using hands to manipulate the product and show how it works with a few fun/cute twists baked in.

My big problem has been lighting... I always have pretty big, hard shadows that creep up the seamless when we are using the products. Things just NEVER seem bright enough and sometimes I have double shadows. I would love a little help with getting a more consistent lighting setup that allows me to have more beautiful hands and products without harsh shadows coming from every direction.

Here is my setup:

Panasonic GH4
Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 (Metabones Speedbooster)

Aputure HR672C (2 - see diagram for placement)
Aputure AL528S (1 - I used this sometimes to try to chill the shadow out)
I have also rented KinoFlo Divas, Dracast 1000, and Lowel Prime 400, but I don't get the best results with my lack of technique.

Lighting Diagram (Past videos used roughly this setup)
I am not using any scrims, or flags, the room is bright, tons of windows because it's the clients spot.
(I included a 3/4 shot setup and a top-down setup)

Here are some screenshots/final videos for you to see the output:

Final Videos:

Any help with some better lighting techniques would be great, any alarming issues pointed out would be awesome. Thank you so much for any help at all honestly.

Bonus problem: Do you know of a solution for a color seamless that I could get wet/greasy and just wipe off. We used to go to a photo studio that had a slick white background that you could literally pour olive oil on and wipe away. I find myself having to tear new color seamless very often working with food.

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Vince Becquiot
Re: Product "How-To" Video Lighting Question
on Jul 12, 2017 at 11:25:47 pm
Last Edited By Vince Becquiot on Jul 12, 2017 at 11:27:20 pm

Hi Chris,

I'll give my 2 cents. The easiest way to go for these kind of setups is a light tent. That will give you the softest possible scene for your demo.

The problem is, if you need to see the talent in the same scene, that won't work well.

For lights, bouncing on white cards works well to diffuse and get rid of shadows, especially if you plan on using LED panels which are very directional. The other way is to use very large diffusers, like those from Wescott or Lasolite. You still need lights coming from all directions, all around, including above.

Vince Becquiot

Indigo Live | Kaptis Media

San Francisco Bay Area

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Rick Wise
Re: Product "How-To" Video Lighting Question
on Jul 13, 2017 at 12:01:31 am

I agree, large soft sources will be your friend here. Plus, get the backdrop as far away from the hero product(s) and actor(s) as possible. If you are using LED lights, you can experiment with cheap, flimsy sheets as diffusion in front of the lights. The more distance between the light and the sheet/diffusion, the softer the shadows will be; the diffusion becomes the radiating source of light. The bigger that radiating source is, the softer the shadows. Big enough and they all disappear. You can quickly demonstrate that for yourself: place some object in front of a light; hold up some diffusion; watch how, as you move the diffusion further and further away from the light and closer and closer to the object, the object's shadow becomes softer and softer. Move the diffusion closer and closer to the light and the shadow becomes harder and harder.

Rick Wise
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area

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Bob Cole
Re: Product "How-To" Video Lighting Question
on Jul 16, 2017 at 3:43:08 am

[Chris De La Fuente] "Bonus problem: Do you know of a solution for a color seamless that I could get wet/greasy and just wipe off. "

A big sheet of laminate (e.g. Formica) can be bent to create a "cove" instead of a hard corner.

Bob C

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