Photo Inspiration - HTC VIVE Headset Photo & Broll Shoot

Being able to invoke a similar mood and lighting concept based off a photograph or a scene is a part of being a director of photography. Clients or directors often will have a photo or film that is inspiration for their project so it’s important to be able to recreate that feeling and look. I follow some filmmaking accounts on Instagram and came across this product photo (below).

This photo was a bit of a cheat as it shows the lighting set up. But I wanted to see how I could make it my own while still honoring the mood and lighting concept with the limited tools that I have. I set up my little table and 2 pieces of black foam core, with the one for the backdrop being held by a C-stand. Then I set up my 3 Savage LED Light Panels which are color temp controlled / adjustable. The left light was set to 3200k or the cool temp, the right light was set to 5000k or the warm temp and the back rim light was also set to 3200k. The 5000k warm color temp is an orange color whereas the color in the photo is red. I have some cellophane paper that I use as DIY gels. I didn’t have a red one so I used a deep pink gel. For the texture on the bottom black foam core on which the object will be placed, I clapped flour over the foam core. Creating an even coating with flour was more difficult than I thought. It took me like 5 tries to get the coating good enough. Another thing I quickly noticed is that because I was shooting during the day in a space that is open concept with lots of light, I needed to cut down on light. I closed all the living room curtains which are light blocking so the room got visibly dark. But I noticed that there was still a large light source impacting the photo. That’s when I realized the kitchen windows which have no curtains are affecting the shoot. So I took my trusty black comforter which has served as negative fill before, and hung it up for a photo backdrop stand to block out the light.

Now that the lighting and set up was complete, it was onto find the object to photograph.

I only have 1 camera and it was what I would be using to take the photo so it was off to find something comparable. I tried my old as hell black blow dryer, however, it was too shiny and the cone shape of it did not lend well to the lighting set up. I scoured my husband’s office as he usually has really interesting things. He offered his HTC VIVE Virtual Reality (VR) headset. I saw the matte black, even shape and knew it would work well.

Here’s what I came up with. I also was getting a little bored of the plain background and decided to spruce things up a bit by introducing another element to the photo by shooting through the metal bowl of my favorite cheap-y work clamp lights. I think it gave a really neat effect and depth to the image. After the photoshoot, I took some video broll and had a lot of fun. Which do you prefer- photo or video?