A Product in its Environment – Unpacking Product Videography

A Product in its Environment – Unpacking Product Videography

It’s happened to us all. You see a product on TV. It looks incredible. You order the same product. It arrives, and… it’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with it, and yet you just don’t feel the magic you felt when you saw the product on your screen.

That, my friend, is because you were under the spell of product videography. While its effects may be magical, I– the Toronto Cameraman– will peel back the veil, and together we will solve the mysteries of product videography and discover its role in the vast array of videography production services.


As always, let’s lay out the terms to ensure we’re reading the same page here. What is videography? It’s the art of capturing and creating through video to achieve an audio-visual product for viewers to experience. Alright, so what is product videography then? Well, product videography essentially applies to any video production that focuses on a specific product. That product could be anything from a tube of lipstick, to a bag of dog food, to a tasty burger (although it should be noted that food videography is its own sub-category of product videography). This style of videography is its own category because products and people appear very differently in video, and therefore they must be lit, staged and shot accordingly.


Why does product videography look so appealing, enticing, desirable? As I said before, there are no magical powers or supernatural services at play here– all these visually stimulating sights are crafted by design by the videographer to catch your eye.

In this blog, I’ll walk you through some common tricks for achieving jaw-dropping product videography that will have customers ordering before the video is even finished playing. With the tool box of basic techniques I provide you, you’ll be able to succeed in all your product videography production services from here on out.


The key to expert product videography lies in embracing the fake in order to display what feels real. Famous screenwriter and director Aaron Sorkin said that in film (and I believe in videography as well), “it’s more important to show what feels real rather than what is real.” That sentiment is echoed by the late great Canadian comedian Norm Macdonald, who said, “something can be true without being factual.” In the vein of those statements, let’s explore a few tricks used in product videography that exist to enhance the final product on video.


Picture this: you’re watching an ad for a pancake house, and the fluffiest stack of pancakes you’ve ever seen comes into frame. Believe it or not, product videographers will place thin discs of cardboard between pancakes to help them stack better, and therefore look more appealing in the final video. And atop that cardboard-and-pancake tower… a vibrant and tasty-looking puff of whipped cream. Or so you think…

In fact, that whipped cream is shaving cream! It does not melt away and dissipate the way real whipped cream does, and thus is far better at lasting longer during your product video shoot. To top it all off with the topping of all toppings– use motor oil as your maple syrup, as it looks and pours better on camera. Just remember not to eat it!


Ever wonder how the garnish always floats so effortlessly atop a bowl of soup in a food product video? When you’re at home and try to stage your tomato soup the same way, your garnish slowly sinks beneath the surface, never to be seen again. How to fix this when providing product videography production services?

First, place a small bowl upside down inside a larger bowl. Make sure the smaller bowl rests just below the level of the bigger bowl. This will create a small platform of sorts. Next, fill your bigger bowl with soup until the small bowl within just barely disappears. Finally, place your garnish atop the now submerged platform. No more sinking through the soup! You can record video for as long as you want without worrying about resetting or replacing your product. 


Now that you’ve peeked behind the curtain and seen the trickery behind product videography and food product video production, let’s look at the various techniques you’ll use to employ your magic touch. Here are some ways to make your product pop out of your video and really wow your audience. These tricks will have customers of all levels demanding your videography services– so listen up and take notes!


When capturing a product on video, speed and dynamism are everything. Slow, labored footage of your product– be it a razor, a scooter or a peeled potato shooter– will only bore the viewer. Design speedy, dynamic shots to fit into a fast-paced edit. This goes for light motion too– your lights should streak across the product, illuminating some parts while casting dramatic shadows on others. The more you engage and dazzle the human eye, the more successful your product video production will be. 


No matter the size of your product in reality, it must fill the frame of your video. A can of soda must stretch high and wide to sell the viewer on the gravity and weight of the product. Use long lenses from a far distance to make the product seem large in its environment. Or, use wider lenses at a closer proximity to make the product feel part of the real world. Always ensure your product is the focus of your video– even if the production value is impressive, viewers must remember the product being displayed in your video.


Play with contrast when it comes to the product and its background. Is your product a white bottle of shampoo? Set it against a light blue background that feels part of the same world as your product, but distinct enough to spotlight the shampoo. What if your product is a pair of hiking boots? Perhaps place them on a boulder and set them against a natural backdrop such as a forest or a canyon. Draw the viewer’s eye to the product with your videography, and give the product enough screen time for them to take it all in.


Perhaps you are a client in the making, seeking videography production services for your own product. Maybe you’re a videographer yourself who wants to take your craft to the next level by offering product videography services. In any case, I hope this blog has helped demystify the trade secrets that keep those pancake stacks looking so good. I am Toronto Cameraman, and my videography services extend into all fields you may need for your own video production. With my wealth of knowledge obtained from decades of providing videography services to clients, I feel confident that my skills and your vision can result in a wonderful final product. Email me at info@torontocameramanservices.com and find out for yourself if Toronto Cameraman’s video production services are for you!