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Lighting for Furniture


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#1 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 09:03 PM

I have a job to do a basic 30sec spot for a furniture store coming up this week. I am pretty positive that they have overhead flourescents covering the whole store. For a wideshot of the store I will probably have to use the flourescents but each furniture setting I can probably turn off the flourescent lighting around it to light it with my kit. I don't have kino flos but have ctb gels and baby to junior tungsten lighting, softbox, reflector panels, and silk panels.

So my question is what would be the basic aproach to making a furniture setting comfortable looking and cinematic. I have thought of making a gobo that would look like a window with multiple panes to use on a couple of shots. Also what do you think about throwing some candles on some of the end tables. If there are any lamps in the shots I plan on using 25 watt bulbs in them. I think I want a low key look. Most likely their won't be any shots of people since this is a budget job.

Any ideas are welcome.
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#2 Dickson Sorensen

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 09:32 PM

You don't mention if you are shooting film or video. One thing to watch out for in a store is a situation where the owner has installed diferent manufactured tubes which may have different color charateristics. Its best to have them all the same. Also if your tight shots will be intercut with wide use a similar lighting and avoid the headache of trying to color correct diferent light sources to look the same.
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#3 Glenn Hanns

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 10:47 PM

I have a job to do a basic 30sec spot for a furniture store coming up this week. I am pretty positive that they have overhead flourescents covering the whole store. For a wideshot of the store I will probably have to use the flourescents but each furniture setting I can probably turn off the flourescent lighting around it to light it with my kit. I don't have kino flos but have ctb gels and baby to junior tungsten lighting, softbox, reflector panels, and silk panels.

So my question is what would be the basic aproach to making a furniture setting comfortable looking and cinematic. I have thought of making a gobo that would look like a window with multiple panes to use on a couple of shots. Also what do you think about throwing some candles on some of the end tables. If there are any lamps in the shots I plan on using 25 watt bulbs in them. I think I want a low key look. Most likely their won't be any shots of people since this is a budget job.

Any ideas are welcome.


Just an idea:
If your wide shot is locked off you could turn off all the ugly fluros and light groups of furniture. Have each group separate from each other in pools of light, then in post use splits/masks to recreate the wide shot.
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#4 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 12:31 AM

Sorensen, I will be shooting this on video with a SONY DSR500. From what I remember walking through the store some time ago all the florescents look the same temp to my naked eye, though we will see what the color meter says. I also have the florescent setting in the DSR500 to take out some of the green spectrum.

Glenn, that is a great idea but I might tweak that and just make pools of light on specfic things in the wideshot.

Though I am not extremely experienced when it comes to product photography like furniture. What are some of the basic lighting setups? Like where the key should be placed? I am going for a low key look.

From what I understand you want to use what they called Short Lighting. Which is where the shadows are directed towards the lens. SO I assume I should set the key light source above or off to one side and somewhat behind the subject.

Is hard or soft light preferred here? I could use a soft box, a open faced light through a silk, or an open faced light through frost or some spun cloth diffussion.

This spot http://hemingway.tho...com/Ads/Ads.asp has a beautiful look to it , besides being shot on film what do guys think they used to get that look?

Thanks!
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#5 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 01:19 AM

This spot http://hemingway.tho...com/Ads/Ads.asp has a beautiful look to it , besides being shot on film what do guys think they used to get that look?

Thanks!


By my opinion,
This photos seem to be side lighted with a large diffusion frame and the exposure was for the dark sides of the frame.
That's why u see the ''hot spots'' of light.
If you don't do it in post and u want to test it on the location, just reduce the master pedestal level to get that look and raise your exposure.You need to turn off all the store lights and blind any large windows the store might have,So ask for many meters of black cloth.
It's a naturalistic approach.Light coming thru a window.Probably thru a light curtain too.So you have to mimic this.The light is about 90 degres from the bed in some shots (the bed) while for the chairs is something like 135 degrees left of the chairs.

Dimitrios Koukas
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#6 Dickson Sorensen

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 09:34 AM

Another idea: if you are stuck using the store's existing lighting use some of the same bulbs (to match color) in your own portable fixtures for fill. Also the idea for locking the camera down and lighting seperate areas is a good one, I have used it to make a room look crowded when I only had a few extras, just watch out for shadows that may cross your join line. Pools of light can make seating areas look more inviting. Watch out for shadows that may obscure your clients favorite product. Also, one problem I had shooting a furniture store was that they had so much product jammed together that is was difficult to make it look good. Try simplify the arrangements if you see this happening.
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 03:53 PM

This spot http://hemingway.tho...com/Ads/Ads.asp has a beautiful look to it , besides being shot on film what do guys think they used to get that look?



Well you're not going to get that look with overhead fluorescent lighting! ;)

FWIW, that type of look is more what you might call an "image" or "lifestyle" type of ad, where the intent is to create a mood more than it is to show off the product. It's certainly beautiful and it's what we all enjoy creating, but more often than not retailers are more concerned with showing off their product.

But that's not to say you can't create good-looking, low-key lighting that still shows off the product. It just usually means filling in specific spots on the furniture with smaller lights flagged off so that they don't just wash out the scene and destroy the low-key look. Smaller units placed on the floor mounted on beaver boards are good for this. Keep in mind that dark woods suck up light and often can benefit from a little extra punch of light to reflect the deeper warm tones.

In general soft lighting helps avoid distracting shadows from table legs and such, but then again hard side-light can reveal the rich texture of fabrics. So you really just have to design where you want hard light and where you want soft light. Either way, the direction of the lighting and the contrast ratio is what's going to reveal the form of the piece of furniture. If the light is to flat or too even than the piece starts to look like a cardboard cutout.

For the wide shot you may still want to turn off, disable, or cover up some of the overhead fluorescents so that the room doesn't look so flat. Try to work in an edge or 3/4 backlight if you can to give the furniture some dimension.

Camera movement on a jib or dolly really adds a lot of dimension to the room and furniture, especially when there are no extras providing movement. Even on closer shots, a short dolly-round or boom-up can make a piece of furniture look more 3-dimensional.
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#8 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 04:27 PM

Well you're not going to get that look with overhead fluorescent lighting! ;)

FWIW, that type of look is more what you might call an "image" or "lifestyle" type of ad, where the intent is to create a mood more than it is to show off the product. It's certainly beautiful and it's what we all enjoy creating, but more often than not retailers are more concerned with showing off their product.

But that's not to say you can't create good-looking, low-key lighting that still shows off the product. It just usually means filling in specific spots on the furniture with smaller lights flagged off so that they don't just wash out the scene and destroy the low-key look. Smaller units placed on the floor mounted on beaver boards are good for this. Keep in mind that dark woods suck up light and often can benefit from a little extra punch of light to reflect the deeper warm tones.

In general soft lighting helps avoid distracting shadows from table legs and such, but then again hard side-light can reveal the rich texture of fabrics. So you really just have to design where you want hard light and where you want soft light. Either way, the direction of the lighting and the contrast ratio is what's going to reveal the form of the piece of furniture. If the light is to flat or too even than the piece starts to look like a cardboard cutout.

For the wide shot you may still want to turn off, disable, or cover up some of the overhead fluorescents so that the room doesn't look so flat. Try to work in an edge or 3/4 backlight if you can to give the furniture some dimension.

Camera movement on a jib or dolly really adds a lot of dimension to the room and furniture, especially when there are no extras providing movement. Even on closer shots, a short dolly-round or boom-up can make a piece of furniture look more 3-dimensional.


Thanks, that was alot of good advice that I was looking for.And I don't plan on using the overhead flourescents unless I have to and then I will still add light. Also I am going to try and use a jib if I have enough room.
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Willys Widgets

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Rig Wheels Passport

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Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Opal

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC