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Pack shot filming - advice needed!

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Dylan Hargreaves
Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Aug 30, 2012 at 8:13:42 pm

Hey folks,

I need to shoot some pack shots of a client's products to send to a home shopping channel, but this kind of artistic studio set up ain't really my forte!

I have at my disposal a white infinity curve, softbox, dedos and gels, and I'd like to achieve a look that suggests sophistication, warmth and indulgence.

I don't think daylight is the way forward in this instance - I want the products wrapped in a warm golden glow. I'm thinking that tungsten lights with the camera's white balance dialled in to about 5k could help achieve that, but any tips you guys might have on the set up, including light positioning would be hugely appreciated!

Thanks in advance!


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Todd Terry
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Aug 30, 2012 at 8:38:37 pm

It'd be infinitely helpful to know what the product is or what it looks like, if you are at liberty to share that.

And if you are not able to share that, then what is it kinda like? An iPhone? A shoe? A toaster oven? A concrete block? Is it hard or soft? Masculine or feminine? Size, surface, colors, textures... all of that would be useful if you can't share what the actual thing is.

I'm not completely sure what the term "pack shot" means... unless that means you are photographing a product's packaging. Or... a pack of wolves.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Dylan Hargreaves
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Aug 30, 2012 at 9:22:38 pm

Pack of wolves! Love it!

Hi Todd, it's a range of cosmetics for the ladies. Mostly white containers with pastel green and pink labelling. Sounds horrible but actually quite nice! Also a couple of bars of soap.

I have a small photography table which looks very nice underlit. Thinking of putting some satin type material on top of that and sitting the products on top.

As for a back drop, would darker than the product be advisable?

Cheers!


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Todd Terry
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Aug 30, 2012 at 9:39:48 pm

I can't really advise about the backdrop colors or textures... because so much of that will depend on what fits with the end-use application of the photography. Just make sure you don't get too carried away with anything that might compete with your product. That's why in a situation like this I usually go for a seamless neutral limbo background. You usually can't go wrong with seamless white, since it is very versatile in post or compositing.

I'd say with products like this soft diffuse lighting would probably be a good choice. I'd use at least one softbox at a fairly sharp 30-45° angle and bounce in fill with a white card. If the objects are reflective at all you'll want to watch for that too... making sure they either don't reflect instruments or backgrounds, OR making sure they do reflect them but in an interesting way. That might be a case for an additional softbox (or white card or whatever) just for the reflection. Don't neglect the backlighting either, with small products and tabletop photography often the backlighting is the make-it-or-break-it thing that really makes a difference. I'd try a backlight that is harder than your diffused key light... maybe a small direct fresnel or something like that.

I wouldn't sweat the color temperature too much either, nor would I try to warm it up too much. It sounds like the products are fairly warm anyway, so you don't want to wash them in too much sickly yellow light. EXCEPT, this might be an instance where the backlight is warmer than the key light... that can give a hint of a nice golden glow to objects without washing the whole thing out in a sea of yellow. That can be done either with gels (warming the backlight or cooling the keylight), or with different instrument types... daylight-balanced key instrument(s), and a tungsten backlight. That's often a combination that works well.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Dylan Hargreaves
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Aug 30, 2012 at 9:55:23 pm

That's some great advice, thanks Todd!


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Dylan Hargreaves
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Aug 31, 2012 at 5:02:08 pm

So here's what I ended up doing... Tungsten backlight with a cooler bounced key and fill. Ditched the white background and swung the set round in front of the black window drapes.

A little set dressing in the form of some satin fabric borrowed from my daughter's dress up box and some fairy lights from the living room.

It's definitely warmer than white on white...Maybe a little too warm? My partner said it looks almost Christmassy. She may have a point!

With apologies for YouTube compression. Any notes gratefully appreciated!







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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Aug 31, 2012 at 6:53:10 pm

A nice approach on your part. My two concerns are that the items don't seem to "snap". I've often used tiny mirrors or small dedo-like lights to paint some brightness individually into small items placed in a darker setting like yours. It also looks like the two tall bottles are not standing up straight. While I suggested earlier to be careful not to change the color of the packaging, I do like your warm approach.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Dylan Hargreaves
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Aug 31, 2012 at 7:38:56 pm

Thanks Mark,

Yeah it was difficult angling light in to some of the darker areas whilst keeping it off the satin - that stuff was blowing out at the slightest bit of spill! Need to get me some small mirrors.

As a test of a new camera (an FS700) and the chance to try out some different lighting techniques from my usual fare it's been interesting way to spend the day! (If it was a proper, paying gig rather than a favour to the client for some back-end purposes I'd be breaking out a DP, Art Director and a far better cam op/focus puller than me!)

As an aside, I'm really impressed with the Fs700 so far!


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Aug 31, 2012 at 2:55:21 pm

I actually love the look of white on white. I think a harder strong 3/4 back light with a soft bounce front light can be elegant. If you want some color and dimension try draping very sheer pastel colored fabric at different distances in the background and sending some light through those as well rather than using the curved back of your tabletop,(if it has one). A couple pieces of that fabric could be placed on the table itself around but not under the product. Find a complimentary pastel color to underlight the product rather than covering the table with cloth. Your choice of colors will determine the warmth you wish to achieve. Be careful not to change the white color of the product. The client usually doesn't like that especially when white is the color...I've had that experience. There are so many other ways to do this...just my 2 cents.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Sep 5, 2012 at 1:30:32 am

I'm not as good as these other guys, but I think the fronts of the product in this demo are too under-lit, your key IMO is too weak. Overall contrast ratio is too narrow. Pinpoint focus on the labels with stronger keys is what I would try next. I think it is always nice when the background picks up one of the colors in the product, but not the dominant one.


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Sep 5, 2012 at 2:33:09 pm

For tabletop lighting tiny areas I've used these neat little Altman 3" fresnels for many years. The have a lensed snoot-like attachment with tiny slide-in shutters; essentially ultra mini ellipsoidals. I could light a single letter on a product label and defocus the edges to blend. They're probably 30 years old but hard to beat.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Dylan Hargreaves
Re: Pack shot filming - advice needed!
on Sep 6, 2012 at 8:02:02 am

I'd agree Mark, thanks for the notes!


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