Product photography is no longer just about taking still shots of a product from a range of angles or directions. Videography now plays an important part in e-commerce, marketing and branding so it is vital for any commercial photographer to offer this service. This article details two basic aspects of product videography and acts as a starting point for anyone wanting to learn the trade.
Use the right settings
Before you can even think about taking some product photography videos, you need to make sure your equipment is set up correctly and you have selected the right settings.
Some of the settings will be very similar, such as ISO and Aperture but where things begin to truly differ is in shutter speed. As a commercial photographer, you will want to learn about 180-degree shutter angle. This rule means that the shutter speed will be roughly double the given frame rate, helping to create a more natural product video. Any more than this and the video will have a tendency to look jumpy and equally, below this level and videos become blurry.
When it comes to the frame rate used in product photography, our advice is to focus on 24fps or 30fps and you won’t go too far wrong. There isn’t a great deal of difference between the two, with some commenting that 24fps offers a more cinematic look whilst 30fps can be a slightly smoother result. You can also start to experiment with other frame rates such as 60fps which are more common with slow-motion videos.
Advances in technology mean you have a few choices in resolution but it isn’t the most important issue at the early stages. You will need to consider where the video will be uploaded and any rules linked to this but in general, 1080p will suffice and deliver fantastic quality videos. You can think about 4K but this may well be overkill for a lot of situations, particularly given the increased file size.
Think about movement
The second aspect of videography we wish to touch on today is movement and the types of shots you can do. Product photography will often involve 360-degree shots but with increasing use of social media then you may need to deliver lifestyle videography or a story that will involve the movement of products, people and the environment around you.
As a commercial photographer, some of this may well be new to you but it is useful to know some fundamental options available to you. Firstly, the pan option is using a stationary camera to turn left and right or a full 360-degrees. Next, the term for moving the camera up and down is tilt and can deliver some interesting results. If you are wanting to deliver close up videos of food or drink, you may wish to use the dolly approach, which is in its simplest form a type of zoom.
One caveat with movement is that you never wish to distract viewers or lose focus on the details you’re wanting to emphasise. Think about the focus, how smooth the movement is and the change in lighting whenever moving your camera. If you start with these areas of videography, you can then learn further skills and rules that will help deliver excellent results.