5 Tips for Shooting Outstanding Product Videos

In this video, Landon Bytheway from fulltimefilmmaker takes a look at 5 tips for shooting amazing product videos from the preparation stage and up to editing.

Product photography is something that we have covered here many times in the past and is a very established sub-discipline but shooting product videos, although not new of course is becoming increasingly important in the age of the internet with more and more small and mid-size businesses requiring more video content of their products. Only recently we published a video looking at shooting a headphone commercial with Ted from Indy Mogul and cinematographer Justin Jones.

  1. Pre-planing – before you even hold a camera or start shooting you need to pre-plan and with product videos, this is even more important as you have total control over your subject/lighting, etc.. Bytheway starts by choosing the perfect song and after listening to the song many times he writes down the list of shots based on the vibe that he (or the client) wants to push in this video (dark and moody, bright and airy etc.). On this stage it is also ideal to determine what gear you should be using for each shot – which camera/angle/lens/slider etc. you will be using.
  2. Location, location, location – while many of these product videos are shot in a studio creating the environment or scene is still crucial just as if you are shooting a video on location. It doesn’t matter if you have a tiny studio or a hugely expensive one – what the camera will see is all the matters and you can shoot amazing video product commercials on very basic sets as long as you set things up correctly.
  3. Lighting – this will make or break your video and you should consider lighting that will show your product in the most attractive way possible. Start by turning off all the lights (in a dark room) and add lights one by one seeing how each affect your product (note: too many lights can also be bad so play with the angles and number of lights to make the most flattering end result and keep in mind what happens when you move the camera – for example using a slider/gimbal and how it affects the lighting on your product).
  4. Special touches – you want your video to stand out so adding a personal touch is a good idea – in this case, Bytheway added some mangos to his video but this can be anything that is relevant to your product really. Another nice touch Bytheway added is the wet look of the product – this is done using glycerin which looks like water but it remains on surfaces much longer (our tip – do the same with Evian Facial Spray it works amazingly well).
  5. Shot verity – making the same old type of shots is boring – try and be creative, use different angles, different focal lengths, different movements etc. But even more importantly – don’t use these verity just for the sake of having a long list of different shots – use them as part of your story – get close to show details, get wide to reveal a context, punch in to focus on a specific aspect – every shot/move need to be done intentionally as part of the overall story.
  6. Bonus – Editing – Bytheway covers some aspects of editing very briefly including color correction and more importantly sound design (finding the right sounds and noises to go along with different shots – when looking for those – be open-minded – sometimes the ones that work have nothing to do with the actual thing that you shot.

Two useful tools mentioned in this video and are great for product videos:

  • Motorized turntable – these are very useful if you want a view of the product turning and don’t want to move around it (which is very hard to do in a straight way).
  • Lowa 24mm Probe macro lens – we have looked at this unit lens many times in the past (Daniel Schiffer uses it quite a bit for his videos and it can be super useful for product videos, getting into narrow holes, or even into liquids as the tip is water-resistant).

You can find more videos on product photography and videography on our “product photography” subsection here on LensVid and you can check out more of fulltimefilmmaker videos – here on LensVid as well.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. 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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