Product commercials focus on showcasing the product by highlighting features and making the product look good. The approach for this project was to keep the product a mystery until the end, covering it in a series of CU’s and slowly revealing elements through narrative. This sparked the idea to incorporate moving light to visually reveal features. Keeping in line with the mystery aspect, we chose to shoot on a black reflective surface, in a black environment.
Whenever shooting products, I start by studying the product to find the right angle for important elements that need to be showcased. After finding perfect angles, I shot a pre-visualization (previz) of the spot to create storyboards and test out lighting. Shooting a black product on black poses a challenge, which is remedied by using light to create reflections in the surface. This is true for black, reflective products of any size, from small camera to a full-size car.
Next up, I storyboarded the exact shots I wanted from the previz, rearranging the order or coming up with a better angle for some shots. The storyboards are rudimentary, but get the idea across.
On the shoot day, we shot the 12 storyboarded shots, plus variations with moving and static light. For the opening shot, we played the temp track as we moved the light to get the correct pacing of light movement.
For a few shots, we had to use diopters to get closer to the product. Cheap diopters tend to create halation when the stop is wide open, so we had to stop down quite a bit to alleviate that (somewhere around 5.6 or greater).
The piece was easy to cut together going off the storyboards and previz, but took some minute tweaking. I cut in Premiere and used the native Lumetri Color for the grade. And now, the final spot:
Comment below about your experiences or things you've learned through product shoots. I'd love to hear our thoughts!