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Looking for tips and ideas on filming glass

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Victor Arevalo
Looking for tips and ideas on filming glass
on Jun 17, 2016 at 3:45:44 pm

I work for a Framless Glass company and we do a lot of frameless glass enclosures, fences ect. Part of my job is to take video of these glass projects to make promo videos and demos. Shooting glass is super tricky because of the reflections and no control of lighting because of sky lights ect. These are 3/8'' and 1/2'' tempered glass projects that are sometimes in really tight spaces. I've figured out shooting at an angle and using a polarized filter will work in some situations but was looking for other ways of shooting glass and maybe some good techniques to cut reflection.


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Bruce Watson
Re: Looking for tips and ideas on filming glass
on Jun 18, 2016 at 4:20:03 pm

[Victor Arevalo] "...was looking for other ways of shooting glass and maybe some good techniques to cut reflection."

Best source I know is for still photography, but the principles are the same for video. That would be a book with the odd title "Light Science and Magic" by Fil Hunter and Paul Fuqua. Book has an entire chapter for glass.

I got more out of this book than I did out of all my other books, classes, and instructors. If you want to understand photography / video, you have to understand light. This book will even help nature photographers who work outdoors without artificial lights.


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Alan Lloyd
Re: Looking for tips and ideas on filming glass
on Jun 21, 2016 at 7:29:54 pm

Find yourself a couple C-stands and a good sized piece of black fabric. Duvetyne is nice, velour works well too, from my direct experience.

Cut a small hole in the middle of the black fabric and use that to put the lens through while standing behind it. The reflections in the glass will be of the black cloth.


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Bill Davis
Re: Looking for tips and ideas on filming glass
on Jun 22, 2016 at 9:22:42 pm

I'd say just learn to see the physics.

Glass is not perfectly transparent. It's all inherently reflective.

The nature of that reflectivity means you have to look the effect of the glass on the light transmission AND reflection in your scene.

Shooting at (and therefore through) it means you have both the scene behind, as well as reflections of the scene in front of the surface.

Learn to think in terms of angle of incidence, angle of reflection and how much light you can control on the subjects being seen through it and reflected by it.

Negative fill like using black cloth between the shooter and the glass can definitely serve to kill unwanted reflections - but often the geometry is such that if you're shooting wide, you'd need a LOT of black surface area to do the job.

I remember shooing in a retail store with a wall of interior windows, and we had to pipe and drape 40 linear feet of black fabric so we could shoot the action towards the window'd room without reflecting all the store merchandise in the glass.

Just how it works.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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