Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

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kyanmagic

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Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 12:34 am

Hey guys,

Trying to add as much info and references as possible - been battling this for a while now. My background is documentary, not this kind of shoot so any help is very welcome!


The intention:

Shoot products (mostly black/dark coloured products) on an infinite black background, turning on a rotating turntable, with some slider movements.

The infinite black was chosen partly for aesthetics to fit the company's website, but also because of budget I only have use of one "proper" light, so I figured using a black background would save me from needing additional lights to light the background.

The issues :

However I'm having an issue where the shots are coming out very dark. I can brighten the images in post but it adds a lot of noise and I feel like I should find a better starting point. I tried the honeycomb grid to keep the light just on the products. This works okay for when the product is very small as I can get the overhead light close enough to get good output, but for the larger products it cuts out too much light.

Due to the issues with things being so dark I also can't shoot anything higher than 24fps.

I'm also having to use two handheld lights to give the front of the products more light as the overhead light doesn't wrap around enough, so they have then caused the issue where the background isn't infinite black.

The question:

How can I get well lit shots of the products whilst keeping the background infinite black?

The set up:
Camera - Black Magic 6k
Lenses - Sigma 50-100mm f 1.8, Sigma 18-35mm f 1.8
Shooting aperture - f8
Shooting ISO - 400
Shooting FPS - 24
Light - Aputure 300x overhead with softbox on 100 percent brightness
Light additional - 2x small lights at 45 degree angles in front of the products
Bounce - white reflector either side of the product
Backdrop - Black paper by Savage - about a metre and half away from the product
Platform - Black plexiglass on top of a rotating turntable

The reference :



This is an example clip of a smaller product, even in this situation as I mentioned where I used the honeycomb I still had to do a power window around the product to darken the background. You can see the power window.


Thank you in advance!
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rick.lang

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 2:57 am

Looks good to me, but a small increase in Contrast and/or Saturation may be easy improvements.
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VMFXBV

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 3:11 am

Add more light. Amaran lights are the same as the Lightstorm without the extra fancy stuff and are much cheaper.

Open the aperture. Do you really need f8?

Change the shutter angle for more light. This will change motion blur but you might get away with it.
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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 4:31 am

Backlight or hairlight.
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kyanmagic

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 9:58 am

VMFXBV wrote:Add more light. Amaran lights are the same as the Lightstorm without the extra fancy stuff and are much cheaper.

Open the aperture. Do you really need f8?

Change the shutter angle for more light. This will change motion blur but you might get away with it.


Hey thanks for your reply. I understood that for product videography a higher aperture was necessary - but from your experience have you used lower apertures in these settings?

Regarding adding more light and using a more open aperture - these will make the product brighter, but how do I get the background to remain infinite black in that situation? I assume adding more light and changing those camera settings are just going to make the background even lighter too. Right now I'm struggling to get the background to be infinite black even without those settings.

Regarding the additional lights - where would you put them? Some of the products are 1.5metres in length so it's been tough trying to figure out how to light stuff.

Any help/thoughts much appreciated - thank you!
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Jeffrey D Mathias

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 11:12 am

You got great answers already.
Use more light... and darken in post.
Use more backlight. Your shot looks flat. Even though there are some nice surface highlights, the image is lost and becomes murky and flat. This is where the right backlight will bring life back into it. Especially with black on black, all that negative space needs some definition... not too much... but enough.
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kyanmagic

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 11:35 am

Jeffrey D Mathias wrote:You got great answers already.
Use more light... and darken in post.
Use more backlight. Your shot looks flat. Even though there are some nice surface highlights, the image is lost and becomes murky and flat. This is where the right backlight will bring life back into it. Especially with black on black, all that negative space needs some definition... not too much... but enough.



Hey Jefferey, thanks for your comment. Yeah it's tough without a budget and that much space for additional lights. I thought I could get away with less lights but it seems that's not the case.

Regarding the backlight, one issue I had when considering it was where to place it with it not being in shot as the main products I'm shooting are 1.5 metres in length. So I can't just add a small backlight just out of frame. Is there a particular light/modifier you'd recommend and where would you place it to achieve the results you mentioned?

And lastly to clarify, do you think having the rim/backlight will make it easier for me to get the background to be infinite black whilst keeping the product lit well?

Thank you in advance!
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Uli Plank

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 12:20 pm

The rimlight will help with visual separation of the product, it will define its shape.
No video camera will shoot black, it’ll be murky, noisy anthracite. Make the background black in post.
Your biggest helper will be the inverse square law. You need enough physical space, so you can keep the background far enough away. Then light your foreground to your hearts delight and keep the background darker. But without enough well controllable light sources you can’t make it look good, they matter more than the camera.
Now that the cat #19 is out of the bag, test it as much as you can and use the subforum.

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kyanmagic

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 12:43 pm

Uli Plank wrote:The rimlight will help with visual separation of the product, it will define its shape.
No video camera will shoot black, it’ll be murky, noisy anthracite. Make the background black in post.
Your biggest helper will be the inverse square law. You need enough physical space, so you can keep the background far enough away. Then light your foreground to your hearts delight and keep the background darker. But without enough well controllable light sources you can’t make it look good, they matter more than the camera.


Hey Uli, thanks for your reply. I understand about making the background black post - the issue was doing that without making the product too dark. The distance you're mentioning is definitely where I think the issue is happening. There is limited space but I think I will just have to shoot on the 18-35mm for the larger products so I can get that separation.

Regarding the additional lights (rim + fill) , are there any cheap ones you'd recommend/and modifiers? Due to the size of the 1.5 metre products the small LED's I was using weren't capable of doing the job.
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Uli Plank

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 12:57 pm

As long as no skin tones are involved, even cheap lights will do.
By ‘controllable’ I mean barn doors, French flags, even black wrap can do a lot. Plus reflectors, soft screens etc. lighting needs a lot of passive elements, not only lights. Some of these can even be improvised cheaply with household items or stuff from a hardware store.
Now that the cat #19 is out of the bag, test it as much as you can and use the subforum.

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 1:06 pm

I'm not that experienced at this, but I would add some light if I were you
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kyanmagic

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 1:12 pm

Uli Plank wrote:As long as no skin tones are involved, even cheap lights will do.
By ‘controllable’ I mean barn doors, French flags, even black wrap can do a lot. Plus reflectors, soft screens etc. lighting needs a lot of passive elements, not only lights. Some of these can even be improvised cheaply with household items or stuff from a hardware store.


Okay thank you that all makes sense. The set up I was trying is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H_jLw8 ... share_link

I ended up black wrapping the light I'm holding and the one that's one the other side to keep light off the background. But I tried using these small lights for back lighting and they weren't powerful enough once out of shot to do anything so I need to look for alternatives.
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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 5:47 pm

Even a cheap mole richardson like this one will work.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/156218639626?m ... media=COPY
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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSat May 25, 2024 5:49 pm

kyanmagic wrote:
Uli Plank wrote:As long as no skin tones are involved, even cheap lights will do.
By ‘controllable’ I mean barn doors, French flags, even black wrap can do a lot. Plus reflectors, soft screens etc. lighting needs a lot of passive elements, not only lights. Some of these can even be improvised cheaply with household items or stuff from a hardware store.


Okay thank you that all makes sense. The set up I was trying is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H_jLw8 ... share_link

I ended up black wrapping the light I'm holding and the one that's one the other side to keep light off the background. But I tried using these small lights for back lighting and they weren't powerful enough once out of shot to do anything so I need to look for alternatives.
move the light closer to the background while pointing it more towards the product.
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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostSun May 26, 2024 2:48 am

You may find this video helpful, posted by Daniel Norton yesterday. Norton photographs a very dark TourBox controller against a black background. There’s an ad from 1:07 to 2:14.

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostMon May 27, 2024 7:20 am

Would there be any utility in assisting rim lighting with large mirrors.
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Leon Benzakein

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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostTue May 28, 2024 1:55 pm

The wonderful thing about black plexiglass is that it acts as a mirror.

Depending on what the brief is from the client, is it possible to introduce a reflection under the product
at a certain point in the rotation?

This could be achieved by having an instrument that is on a dimmer that creates the reflection of choice
and is dimmed up and down to taste.

The reflection of choice can be created by finding the best angle of incident.

This will give the black on black background but also at a dramatic point will make the product pop because the area under the product will change for the duration of the dimming up and down.

The video you posted is looking great.
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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostTue May 28, 2024 4:03 pm

I can see you've gotten lots of helpful comments on this. Having spent years shooting stills, a good deal of it table top, I'd recommend you take a look at two photographers who made pretty amazing careers shooting single source still life on black. Phil Marco and Terry Heffernan. If you Google their images you'll find samples. Certainly not all their work was one light, but a great deal of it was. Hope this helps.
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Re: Shooting black products on black background. Help!?

PostTue May 28, 2024 5:33 pm

I think for anything smaller than a bread box your fixtures are likely adequate though some additional modifiers, primarily flags, may prove helpful to control the spill. If the small lights are panels rather than COBs or point source then barn doors or snoots will be helpful as well. Keep in mind the closer the light the better the wrap will be. For those small items you can drop the box right down on top of the product.

Rosco released an interesting product called Roscoview some years ago that works through polarization of light. https://us.rosco.com/en/product/roscoview. You can underlight a product but the surface remains black, might be worth a look.

Good Luck

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