Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Beautiful Bottles

30th January 2004

Shooting low budget and I need to make alcohol bottles look like 'product shots'. (eg slow pan across whiskey, vodka and beer bottles on shelf as the chap looks longingly at contents.)

I plan to isolate background by lighting it about two stops under the bottles, hard backlight bottles and use negative fill to provide modelling, possibly a toplight for accentuating bottle shape.

Any ideas, hints, tips or tricks would be appreciated.

Apologies if this has been covered but I did make an attempt to find it on
CML pages.

Mike Costelloe

Cam~Op/ L Cam UK

Mike Costelloe writes:

>Shooting low budget and I need to make alcohol bottles look like >'product shots'.

The standard trick for this sort of thing is to light the bottles from below as on an illuminated shelves used in upscale bars (pubs) or by drilling a hole in the shelf under each bottle and lighting from below. In product shooting, this is called a "glory hole".

If the bar you are shooting doesn't have illuminated shelves, and you can't drill holes in the actual bar, you might be able to rig the bottles and the "glory holes" on a board and shoot it as an insert.

Best of luck,

Brian "Take one down and pass it around" Heller
IA 600 DP

>Shooting low budget and I need to make alcohol bottles look like >'product shots'.

Another thing you can do to jazz up the booze is to cut pieces of glossy silver and gold card that are small enough to "hide" behind the bottle and prop them up back there so that you have something hot that you are looking at through the booze - if you have some top light on the bottles then you tilt the card pieces back a bit.
This is a lot easier to hide in a pan/tilt shot than if you are dollying past the bottles, obviously...

Mark Weingartner

...and don't forget, glass, silver and other shiny surfaces that you want to look good are typically not lit "directly" if you can help it.

They look better when they are reflecting large, soft white surfaces like show cards, diffusion frames, even the large windows in some bars.

And there are a number of good books from the still photography field to consult.

Jerry Cotts

Depending on how wide the shot is you can also use Kino Microlights just stick them to the corners of the back of bottles.

All the bottles and glass objects in the "managers" office in :

are lit like this.


Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based

>hard backlight bottles

You might think of taping some heavy diffusion to the backs of the bottles to avoid specular hits coming through. Plus, that way you move the "source" from a light backed way off to a piece of 216 taped to a bottle, which is a much bigger and less specular source right at the back edge.

Be ready to dilute the contents of the bottles if need be.

Art Adams, DP
Mountain View, California - "Silicon Valley"

>Shooting low budget and I need to make alcohol bottles look like >'product .shots'. Any ideas, hints, tips or tricks would be appreciated.

Hey Mike,

I worked on a Wine commercial a couple of weeks ago.

Around the bottles, the DP set up two walls and a roof out of rolls of 216. Shot 1k's through these. This created a nice soft edge around the whole bottle.

On the back of the bottles, especially the white wine, he applied wide strips of cellophane tape (see Art's post). The trick here is to remove all of the bubbles. Behind the bottles, he rigged strips of 2" silver tape (sold for use with insulation) to reflect a couple of 150w's. This gave a nice glow to the contents of the bottles.

Alan A. Hereford - Cinematographer
Marin Co., CA, USA

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