Google Research

Do-It-Yourself Lighting Design for Product Videography

  • Ivaylo Boyadzhiev
  • Jiawen Chen
  • Kavita Bala
  • Sylvain Paris
IEEE International Conference on Computational Photography (2016)


The growth of online marketplaces for selling goods has increased the need for product photography by novice users and consumers. Additionally, the increased use of online media and large-screen billboards has increased the adoption of videos and animated gifs for advertising, going beyond just using still imagery. Product videography is a fledgling field that is gaining traction in online media.

The key distinction between professional product videography and photography and regular home-brewed consumer efforts is often the lighting. Professional photographers use specialized hardware and studio setups, and bring expert knowledge and skills to create good lighting that shows off the product’s shape and material, while also producing aesthetically pleasing results.

In this paper, we introduce a new do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to lighting design to enable novice users to produce studio quality lighting for product photography and videography. By studying state-of-the-art product videography, we identify design principles used to light products through emphasizing highlights, rim lighting, and contours. We devise a set of computational metrics to achieve these design goals. Our workflow is: a user acquires video of the product by simply mounting a video camera on a tripod, and using a tablet to light objects by waving the tablet around the object. We automatically analyze and split this acquired video into snippets that match our design principles. Finally, we present an interface that lets users easily select snippets with specific characteristics and then assembles them to produce a final pleasing video of the product.

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