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Old 11-06-2013, 03:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Filming/Lighting Questions

So, I got a new camcorder! Nothing terribly expensive, it was a Sony Handycam, the CX380 model. I guess its sort of their mid-low level camcorder. It's no XDCAM PMW-200, but with 1920x1080 resolution, shooting at 60 progressive frames, I think it will do what I want it to just fine.

Let me tell you what I want to do, and then that will lead better into my questions.
I do YouTube vids for fun, and for a while now I've had an idea in my head for a content series. I'm wanting to do review/expo of different unique liquors and spirits that I've found and purchased, and perhaps feature some of the many local craft brews to be found in Portland. I also currently do a cannabis flower/hash review and commentary and was hoping to improve upon that as well.

As far as the liquor thing goes, one of the major film elements I want to include with each video is having footage of the bottle, evenly lit and with no glare or reflections. I want to have the bottle appear to float, against either a flat black or even white background. I also want the bottle to rotate slowly, so that I might do some narration while the viewer is afforded a good long view of the video's subject.

I have some idea on how to achieve the floating effect (with black backing anyways. I figure liberal use of black velvet fabric?) but I'm pretty sure that in practical application it'll be harder than I'm assuming.

Key to that effect, and also key to the bottle being clearly lit is three point lighting I'm thinking. Certainly some lighting is needed aside from sun through a window and a 60 watt bulb overhead! But, is 3 point what I need? Or something else? Something more? I'm open to suggestions, and I have until next paycheck to research solutions.

Nearly as importantly, I need to figure out how to get smooth rotation on the bottle without doing something silly like sticking my hands in the frame or trying to ghetto-rig a revolving cake pan. I've seen the effect done in commercials and on QVC-like offerings, but I just don't know what terms to use when trying to describe a "turntable thing, ya know, that slowly turns?" to Google.

Finally, anyone know of a good vocal mic, USB powered, and for a decent price? I just don't think the integrated mic on my camera is going to cut it, and the camera itself is lacking all but the most basic mic jack. I have a pretty crisp headset mic (I record audio straight to my computer in these cases), but for those occasions I want to be speaking on camera, I'd be nice to do it w/o having to slap on a bright orange and black Tritton headset for everyone to gawk at.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First off, getting a liquor bottle to be perfectly lit with no distracting reflection glares, it will be more difficult to use black velvet backgrounding unless you have something super ideal, like a black velvet pedestal/lazy susan that would work for what you've described. Really, you would want to use a black, white or grey seamless paper background/back drop.
In my experience however, such professional product videography/photography is usually done with a light tent...


that helps you get optimum light coverage, since the entire thing acts as a soft box, which is what I was going to suggest first off to aid you in lighting...


Although these are very expensive compared to the light tent kits you can order online, usually come with a few lights, including fill lights.
Even with using a light tent, you still have to worry about light glares on the glass because you are shooting a shiny object. I suggest using flags-- which are poster board or foam core board in either black or white, depending on the color of the glass bottle. Mastering flagging objects in photography is a tricky skillset to learn on its own.
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh wow, that light tent for the win! Good point on the flagging as well, I hadn't thought about that but yeah of course I'd have to manage the glare/reflections somehow.

I've had a bit more luck searching for motorized display turntables, but the more e-window shopping I do, the more I start to think I might wanna see the thing in person. A lot of sellers aren't listing plate diameter or turning speed, and I'm going to want the axle/display arm to be long enough to keep the turntable body out of frame for various bottle sizes. Not too worried about it being a quiet mechanism at this point though, so hey!

With the proper turntable display, perhaps the black could be more feasible. In theory, if I'm wrong it'll only cost me some paper and fabric to change over to white/grey.
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