Tips for Overhead Tabletop Shot
If you want to shoot products or food – especially videos of any of those from above you are faced with a dilemma. How would you get your camera just above your target and how would you see what you are shooting and control the image.
There are quite a few ways of doing this – one is to put your camera on a tripod with horizontal bar – we did a review of one – the Photek TRI-X-2500 Tripod Extender about a year ago (it useful but it has it’s limitations especially with heavier cameras).
The video above (from Benro) suggest using a jib or crane or just a monopod with a light stand and a holder (which is kind of strange).
You can also have a fixed setup like the DIY one we built (you can have similar versions from a wall or even the ceiling – but this means that you are stuck
The main trick that this video suggest is using a mirror. We have heard this concept from people in the commercial industry a few times – it has several advantages – you have much more control of your camera (it is not high up), you can zoom in and out easily this way (if you use a zoom lens or even move physically closer) but there are also disadvantages – you need the mirror to be 100% clean at all times. If you are using to down lighting the mirror might be in the way and if not – light reflected into the mirror might be a problem. It is also not super simple to setup and requires a large and long pipe – so it isn’t portable.
Since we are recording food videos almost every week for our vegan food channel Veggies, our setup is evolving all the time. We are currently using the Photek TRI-X-2500 Tripod Extender on a Manfrotto 028B tripod legs and a light stand with a boom holding a flexible light facing downwards. We are also using the super useful software/app called dslrdashboard to control our camera wirelessly.
We are in talks with a number of manufacturers to try and create the ultimate overhead camera rig setup – this might take a while but we hope we will eventually come up with a solution that will help other users with this challenging shooting scenario.