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Advice needed for difficult shoot!

A former member
Post #: 1
Hi everyone -

I'm a new member and haven't yet been to one of these wonderful events (I've been consumed doing some film shoots lately...). I was hoping all of you photo/video experts out there could give me some advice on a difficult shoot I've been working on.

I have to video and photograph a cylindrical tank for my job. It's about 2 feet high and 16 inches in diameter. It's clear, thick plastic so reflections are a huge issue. It contains clear, food-grade oil that's got a slight yellow tint to it. There are hoses and tubes going everywhere around this thing. I have to film the air bubbles within the oil that will be spinning around inside of this object.

Priority is on capturing video, but eventually I'll need photos as well. The only location I can shoot it is in our large, manufacturing warehouse with lots of tall ceilings, florescent lights and other distractions.

My solution as I see it is to encase this thing with a white, muslin-like (60-(ish)% opacity) fabric to eliminate reflections and allow for some light to penetrate through and illuminate the inside of the tank. It will be about 6 feet tall and encase it in a circle - imagine a round standing shower where you pull the curtain entirely around yourself. I'm thinking I'll have to take some white paper or fabric and encase the camera and tripod so that they don't cause reflections on the surface of the cylindrical tank.

I only have 2 standing lights with umbrellas and one soft box. I can purchase some clip lamps from Home Depot, but I cannot rent any other lighting equipment at the moment.

I'm hoping this will work. I could really use some feedback on this. It's pretty tricky and I'm relatively new to product photography/videography. Any advice or thoughts are very much appreciated. Thanks!

Ryan M.
Madison, WI
Post #: 4
Hi Brianne. Tough to say without seeing it. Your idea of making a sort of "light tent" should work pretty good. If there's too much reflection going on, you might also try black fabric. I've done that in the past shooting glassware and liquids. You can try things like setting it on a piece of glass and lighting it from below. With the size of what you're shooting though, you probably can't do that and I'm not sure if that would even give you enough light or not.

What gear are you shooting it with?
John C
Dodgeville, WI
Post #: 37
In addition to the light tent, I suggest you use a blue background which will contrast the yellow light and show the bubbles.
A former member
Post #: 3
Thank you! This is very helpful. I like the blue idea - makes sense with the yellow oil. I'll try to remember to post on how it goes.
user 80398952
Madison, WI
Post #: 1
Is it possible to light from below? You mentioned it to be a clear plastic container that you want to keep reflections to a minimum, I would try placing to container on some sort of light table. Think lava lamp with black background to prevent glare.
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