Author: Artlist

The Product Video Hack Nobody Tells Filmmakers

The Secret Hack that Artlist.io is Bringing to You

Video marketing has become vital to the success of a product, and getting the perfect shot can make or break your marketing effort. One of the most critical aspects of a product video is the background of your product. You need It to simultaneously blend with your product’s vibe and be interesting, but not too much so that it will overshadow your product.

One way to create a background is by using a green screen and adding it in post-production, but that can be time-consuming and costly. Other ways include painting a wall, lighting it with RGB lights or using a softbox. You can also attach a colored paper to cardboard and use it as a background.

However, there is a simple, cost-effective way to create different types of backgrounds, and it will not require you to compromise on the quality of your video. We recently used this hack when we shot our Life of an Indie Filmmaker commercial. As you’ll see, the result was seamless 

The Basics

The essence of this hack is creating a beautiful background for your product shots using a TV screen or a computer. Just open an image on that screen or create one with a graphics software. We like to use Photoshop, but you can choose whichever you prefer. Now that you have your screen background, just place your main object in front of it and there you have it – the perfect background for your product.

You can get super creative with different backgrounds or keep it simple with a solid color. To add glare to your shot, place your object on a reflective surface. If you want to enhance your glare, use a spinning platform like a lazy Susan.

The big plus of using this technique is the beautiful backlight you’re getting from the screen. The obvious drawback is the limited space you have to work with. 

To get the best results, we highly suggest using a tripod and a focal length of 35mm lens or up. Don’t forget to make sure to adjust your camera shutter and frame rates to avoid any flickering coming from the screen.

Beyond Product Video

You can also take this hack to the next level and get super creative with it. In the ad we shot, we used this hack to recreate a realistic subway car without actually leaving our studios.

First, we built a set wall of a subway car with a window in the middle, orange plastic chairs, a metal pole, a map and a few stickers to make it as real as possible. To tie everything together and make it look like a real, working subway car, we needed to fake the passing view from the window and make it look like the car is in motion. 

The obvious choice would have been to use a green screen, but we decided to go a different route. We created a looping background in Cinema 4D and played it on a TV screen which we placed behind the window. That helped us create realistic reflections from the car window with minimal post-production work. It also saved us time and money that we would have spent on gear for lighting a green screen.

To bring everything to life, we moved around an HMI light simulating the lighting of a moving subway while we physically rocked the whole set back and forth.

That’s a Wrap

So, if you’re doing a product video and you want to avoid post-production work or prefer not to deal with a green screen, use a TV or computer screen. You will be amazed by the result. 

Until next time, stay creative.

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Filed under: Filmmaking, Post-Production, Technical Craft