Creating a sleek, sexy product video is a critical tool in any creative media agency’s arsenal. This year, our team did just that for one of our favorite annual events, Bourbon Bash! This event, hosted by Challenger Hospitality Group, is a massive celebration of bourbon spanning three full venues: Amsterdam Lounge, StrangeLove Nightclub, and Dirty Little Roddy’s Nightclub in downtown Boise.

Boise’s Bourbon Bash is a dream for any whiskey lover, and for our video production team making this video was almost as much fun as attending the event itself. Check out the final cut below, then read on for a breakdown of how we did it!

Pre-Production: Plans and Outlines

The first step to filming any video is establishing the objective of the project. At Boost Media, we start by asking the question, ‘What should the viewer understand/feel by the end of the video?’

Bourbon Bash offers attendees the chance to try some of the rarest whiskeys in the world. We decided that creating an elegant, exclusive aesthetic focused on these incredible whiskeys would be the focus of the video. We wanted viewers to see these glamorous shots of rare, expensive, hard to find whiskey bottles and get excited about the chance to try them.

To achieve this, we storyboarded isolated, refined close-ups of choice bottles and pours with soft, dramatic lighting. We decided we didn’t want to detract from the bottles with a busy location, and we knew we needed to control the lighting and atmosphere of the shoot, so we booked out our downtown studio location, b Studio.

Creating A Look And Feel: Lighting, Camera, Action

Prepping our space for this type of video shoot meant controlling three primary elements:

  • Set design

  • Lighting

  • Camera configurations

Normally there would be a fourth element: audio, but for this shoot, we knew we were going to layer music over the footage. Because of this, recording audio wasn’t a concern.

picture of behind the scenes creating the Bourbon Bash promo video for Challenger Hospitality Group in Boise, Idaho

Let’s take a look at how we manipulated each of these three core elements to achieve the look and feel of the footage:

1. Set Design

Choosing to shoot at b Studio meant we had total control over our set. From lighting to backdrops to workspace, we had total freedom to achieve the look we wanted.

We began by building the set around a folding table placed in front of a black backdrop and draped the table with a double-folded black linen cloth. The emphasis on black meant lots of negative fill (deepened shadows) and a more isolated subject in the final composition.

But total isolation of the subject also meant there was a risk our footage would turn out flat. To help avoid that, we placed a plexiglass sheet over the top of the table, revealing the reflections of bottles, glasses, and accessories. Even something as small as these reflections went a long way toward building a sense of dimension and elegance in the scenes.

To achieve the rotating bottle shots, we brought in a lazy-susan turntable. We also used elegant boxes from the rarest bottles as props for interesting reveal scenes.

Finally, for the scenes with our model, we used the same black backdrop and added aerosol haze to create a bit of atmosphere in the scene.

2. Lighting

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.

picture of behind the scenes creating the Bourbon Bash promo video for Challenger Hospitality Group in Boise, Idaho

3. Camera Configuration and Scene Composition

Our camera of choice for this video was the Canon EOS R with a lens combination of the Tameron 35mm f1.8, and the Canon 50mm f1.2 L, and a Sony A7RII with a Rokinon 35mm T1.5. The wide apertures of these lenses, and the Tameron’s near-macro focus distance, gave us opportunities for beautiful bokeh during detail shots and when slide-racking.

We used our C-stand mounted toplight to pan the light across the frame, revealing the subject and conveying a sense of motion even on still shots. The camera was mounted on a tripod, and subtle pans were used to reveal the bottles and provide a sense of trajectory in the scene. Finally, a Ronin S gimbal was used during our model scenes.

picture of behind the scenes creating the Bourbon Bash promo video for Challenger Hospitality Group in Boise, Idaho

The Final Cut

We shot the video in 4K resolution using Canon’s c Log profile and Sony’s s log 2, and color graded the footage with BUTTERY LUTs’ Rec709.

Editing the footage into a final product meant putting all our shots together in a way that made the bottles feel special, yet carried a momentum that would take us all the way through the video. To keep things from feeling stale, we made sure to tease out the bottle reveals, and kept shadows dark and moody.

For audio, we wanted to balance elegance and pacing. Matching the edits along with musical beats to again help propel the footage through. Because music stimulates emotions, pacing cuts alongside a catchy tune helps build an emotional connection to the edits.

We love creating video content, and these breakdowns are a great way to share that experience with our followers. Every day, video content becomes more essential in our modern business landscape. While DIY phone videos can certainly achieve some results, hiring an agency with expertise in creative direction, camera operation, set design, and lighting will truly elevate your video content into an exclusive echelon of quality and professionalism.

At Boost Media, we focus on creating innovative, high-caliber content for our clients. When you work with Boost, you get a whole crew of experts joining your team and working toward your success! Get in touch with us today to see how we can take your creative content to the next level.

For more information view our video production page or contact us.

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