Steve Giralt: Shooting Commercials with Robots

You might have seen his work as amazing food commercials for some of the largest brands on the planet and today B&H had a chance to see behind the scenes of Visual engineer Steve Giralt NY studio and take a quick tour looking at some of his amazing shooting gizmos

Shooting complex food commercials is not just an art it can also require a great deal of skill and innovation as well as quite a bit of technical knowledge. In the case of Giralt, coming from a family of engineers has probably helped in

Giralt uses in his studio both available commercial robots like the Bolt, but also many different DIY contraptions that help him solve technical challenges related to fast food and product shooting such as dropping ice cubes into a glass in slow motion or dropping pieces of a hamburger one on top of another in exact timings.

In the video below, for example, he shot a famous burger commercial and needed to create different “robots” that using rubber bands hold the different hamburger ingredients and fall at precisely the right timing.

For Giralt his studio is more like a lab where he uses commercially available but also many DIY parts to make what he needs (many of these are based on small motors controlled by advanced Arduino setup that can control their motion and timings to fractions of a second).

Shooting with a camera like the Phantom in 1/1000 of a second you need a great deal of light (especially if you close the lens down to f/8 or f/11 to get as much as possible in focus out of your product. This means that you need a LOT of light. As Giralt states, he had to build his own lighting for this purpose since the existing super high power lights on the market were not giving him what he needed (keep in mind that shooting food also dictates that you can’t really work with lights that are extremely hot.

Burger commercial deconstructed

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You can find more photography related technology videos on our photo-tech section here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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