When lighting our bottle scenes, we knew that all the glass and reflective surfaces could be problematic. We wanted to avoid unflattering glare or catching light panels and other gear in the glass bottles and reflective table surface. To mitigate this, we decided to use a soft, diffused toplight over the set.
We used a C-stand to rig our key light over the table and added a softbox for the first layer of diffusion. Then, the diffuser portion of a 5-in-1 collapsible bounce kit was added between the softbox and the surface of the table as a second layer of diffusion. This combination meant we had nice, broad, soft light over the bottles with no harsh glare. We then flagged off the edges of the table to prevent spill during any pan movements from the light rig.
For some of the closeups, the topdown lighting rig was too much. We needed a narrow beam of light, but didn’t have a snoot at our disposal. With a little creative engineering, we fashioned a black cardstock DIY snoot onto a variable illumination flashlight and panned the beam across the bottle labels.
Lastly, we were still sensing something missing from the bottle shots, so we placed an LED panel behind the table to light the backdrop and present a subtle backlight to the scene. This provided a bit more depth in the image and kept the bottles from looking like they were floating in a black void.
For the scenes with our model, we used a 24×8 LED softbox as our key light to the side, then set up a ring light with diffusion as our fill.