I just love low-budget ideas that still get you great results. Partly because my gear budget is low, and partly because I simply enjoy experimenting. If you’re anything like me, you’ll love this video from Justin Jones and Ted Sim of Indy Mogul. They share seven tips for shooting a commercial like a boss, even if money’s tight.
1.Find location and backdrop – for the video, Justin and Ted opted for the infinite black. For this look, you’ll need black fabric or wall as a background, and make sure to move the subject away from it. Use a piece of black acrylic to place your product on top of it. It’s black but still reflective, and it will give your shots some depth. For rotating the product, you can use Lazy Susan, which is a pretty cheap solution. Alternatively, move your camera around the subject.
2. Camera placement – place the camera on a tripod and get a bit lower than the eye level. This helps the product look bigger and also lets you blend in the acrylic with the background. Shooting with smaller aperture gets the entire product in focus, so use somewhere between f/4 to f/8. Also, shoot in slow motion (60fps) and make sure to use a shutter speed that’s double the frame rate.
3. Main light – Justin prefers using a large, soft overhead light. It creates neat reflections and still gives you some shadows. He also adds a black sheet behind the product so the light doesn’t spill.
4. Kicker light – add hard light around 45 degrees behind the product. You can also add a gel to it so it emphasizes the brand logo nicely. Justin likes using the gel of the same color as the brand’s logo.
*Bonus tip: clean the product and the acrylic regularly throughout the shoot, it will save you a lot of time in post!
5. Visual interest – add a bit of smoke to the shot to create more visual interest and mood. You can buy a smoke machine $40 or even less, or if you have a friend who vapes… Maybe they can help you out too.
6. Effect light – when you add that smoke, you can add some effect light behind the product. It will make the smoke more visible; just make sure that it doesn’t flare into the camera. And make sure that you don’t have too much smoke because it will make the scene appear washed out and less contrasty in the final shot.
7. Camera angles – finally, work on the camera angles. Find details that emphasize the features of the product and zoom in on them in your final video. You can check out what the guys ended up with in the video above, and I think it looks really cool!