Tips to shoot a product video

When working with any brand, you want to shoot the product in both a flattering and creative way. Use these five tips on your next product video shoot to impress your clients and get more business.

These five tips come from full time filmmaker Landon Bytheway. He has much experience in shooting product videos and has many insightful tips into how you can improve your own product-focused productions. Let’s get started:

Video courtesy: Parker Walbeck

1. Pre-plan

The video you are shooting needs a strong beginning and a strong end to really capture the audience. Likely, your video is going to be pushed out on platforms like Facebook or Instagram. You need to capture people’s attention quickly and leave them with a lasting impression of the product you’re shooting. You also want to inspire them enough to click the learn more button. To really capture an audience you should:

  1. find the perfect song for your video,
  2. brainstorm each shot with the product and music in mind
  3. create a shot list

2. Tailor product environment to product

Every product has its own look and style. The environment you shoot in should complement the aesthetic of the product. Also, make sure the brand’s identity stays consistent. The shoot needs to fit in with the rest of the promotions the company has. That way it won’t seem out of place.

Keep in mind that this isn’t always the case, however. Sometimes a brand releases something new and wants to have a specific aesthetic for that particular product. Be sure to communicate with the brand before the shoot to establish expectations.

3. Set up proper lighting

Whiskey bottle with back light
Using a back light with the bottle really showcases the liquid inside

Just like the set, the lighting you use will depend on the product and how it is meant to be presented. Bytheway gives an example by lighting a glass bottle. If you shine the light directly onto the bottle, you lose the glow of the liquid inside of the bottle. So, you need to shine the light behind the bottle so you can amplify its contents.

Most of the time, you might find yourself using a 4 point lighting setup. For that, you’ll need the following:

  • key light
  • fill light
  • background light
  • backlight

That said, it’s really up to you as the professional to decide what lighting setup works best for the product you are shooting and its brand. Do some experimentation on your own to determine what lighting setups work best for different materials and finishes.

4. Add special touches

Drink with glycerin on it
Use the fatty oil glycerin instead of water to get condensation onto drinks

Special touches are the things that are really going to take your product videos to the next level. These include anything that can add interest and enhance the visual language of your shots.

For instance, Bytheway cut up some mango for the product he was shooting because it’s a mango-flavored drink. He then threw the mango cubes at the drink to allow the viewers to visualize the flavor.

They also added glycerin to get the look of condensation on the beverage. People expect to see condensation on drinks in product videos, so while the shots Bytheway took without condensation looked fine, they looked much better with condensation.

Adding special touches will require you to really understand the product you’re shooting. Before you add anything extra, make sure that it will fit with what product you’re showing off.

4. Use shot variety

This tip deals with all the different camera angles, movements and focal lengths you can use to capture a variety of shots that show the product in an interesting and flattering way.

One tool you can use is a slider. This will allow you to get smooth push in and out movements. If you are interested in a slider, we can help you pick the right one. You can also use a turntable that will rotate your product while you shoot. This adds more movement and interest to the shot.

As for focal lengths, there are multiple ones you can use to shoot your video. An 85mm lens is one of the most flattering focal lengths for filming both people and products. Another you can use is a 100mm, which is great for capturing up-close macro shots. So if you wanted a close shot of your product or it being used, this is a good focal length for that.

Anytime you shoot a product for a video, you need to preplan your shots, create an environment and lighting setup that fits your product, add special touches, and shoot from a variety of angles and focal lengths. All of this will take your product videos to the next level and really impress your current and future clients.

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