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808 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Shadow_7
I do a lot of video reviews on various tech products and I wanted to get a good lighting setup for when I purchase the Panasonic HDC-TM700K. I mostly will have the camera facing whatever product I am reviewing and the lights don't need to be too crazy, they could even be small, as long as they stay out of view of the camera and provide sufficient lighting.

I don't know if it's a good idea to use a couple small lights or what but I don't want there to be any shadows or anything.

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How big of a scene? A deck of cards on a coffee table? Or a mainframe in a warehouse? If you don't want any shadows, you'll need all of your light coming from the direction of the camcorder. That way most shadows are on the back side of the object and out of view of the camcorder. If the object reflects lights and surfaces they have those little cloth cubes to showcase things and keep reflections more monolithic.

There's pro-ish setups with lights shining into white umbrellas. And there's ******* variants of those clip on work lights shining into laundry bags. Many means to an end.




Except they used to be more bed sheet solid. Perhaps white bed sheet plus PVC frame with lights behind it. Lots of ways to add light in not so hard ways. My FH1 has pretty good low light ability, so I just turn on the 60W ceiling light and maybe one other 60W lamp without the shade. But I'm not after pro-ish results just yet. Just putting stuff up on craigslist to help pay for my hobbies. And the shadows help to add clarity / definition.
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It's more of a "deck of cards on the table", as you described it.

I'm looking for something fairly cheap, I don't need some pro light kit as the one you showed from B&H.

I've also heard this is a pretty good way to get lots of light for cheap, but I don't think it's the right thing for my setup.


Or am I wrong? Is that a good thing to use? I'm just not sure if it will cause any shadows. Maybe it won't if I just have it as close as I can without getting in camera view and then point it downward. If you get what I mean.

May I ask, why did you link me a hamper from Walmart?
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1000W of light? Are you taking pictures with an iPhone or something? Hopefully your wiring at your location can handle that wattage.


If you put a white bed sheet infront of it to make the light softer and give yourself more ambient light it should work pretty well. It's the direct light that's going to give you shadows. Here's the one I was hinting towards.


There's also a pretty standard 3 light technique which I should probably look up the details on someday. It'll still have shadows, but in a common / expected way.


For the deck of cards on a table though you could probably get away with some 50 LED flashlights and some way to make them more ambient. Since you'll probably be in macro mode and right up on it. Be careful not to have the camcorders shadow in the shot. Flashlight + thin sock / pillow case + mic stand and boom arm + duct tape? Probably better off with a light stand, those lights, even simple ones can be some heavy buggers.
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For what you are looking for, a tabletop setup is probably your best option. The biggest issue with video is determining what will work best, assuming you want to play with the gadget while video recording (allowing you access to get your hands in without shadowing the product.)

You can find a lot of tent kits available for a decent price.


Otherwise, a cheap way to do it yourself would be to get two of these:


Put in a strong (24 Watts or higher) CFL bulb in each, you can use regular incandescent if you want, but using CFLs will reduce the heat that is being concentrated on your table. Just make sure you use the same type of bulb in both to eliminate white balance issues.

Then get a pair of these:


Jury-rig the lights and umbrellas so that the lights are shooting through the umbrellas with the outside of the umbrella pointed at the object on the table. Put the umbrellas as close to the product being video taped as possible, but still staying outside of frame.

As for backdrops, a really cheap, but effective use is to get an 11x17 piece of white paper and drape it so you have a usable backdrop.

I know people think they can make their own setups really easy (and in truth, you can) but don't underestimate the value of a kit that allows you to position lights and modifiers, and actually have them stay where you put them. Vs. the hassle of trying to lash lights and modifiers together and getting them to stay in the correct location on their own.

Lastly, do some reading on proper lighting for tabletop product lighting. The lighting requirements for video and still photography are pretty much the same (main difference being that you can't use strobe lighting for video work.) There is a lot of information out there.

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As I delve into my DIY green screen (green copy paper, which is apparently a bit yellow-ish according the to resulting color values). I need more lights myself. Apparently a strong shadow is black-ish, regardless of the background color. So without a relatively well lit green of the green screen, you start encroaching upon content colors to make it an alpha color. As I toy with the ideal of framing the green backdrop in christmas lights. To otherwise eliminate shadows from the subject and the layering of paper.
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