Enhancing Product Videos with DIY Virtual Production: A Liquid Death Spec Ad

by | Sep 13, 2023 | Behind the Scenes, Lighting

In my latest project, I embarked on a creative journey to shoot a spec advert for Liquid Death sparkling water. This was an opportunity to experiment with lighting and virtual production techniques using a TV as a background. Let’s dive into the process and the lessons learned.

Project Overview

The goal was to create a captivating product video for Liquid Death, focusing on creative lighting and virtual production techniques. I aimed to achieve a professional look using accessible equipment and a bit of DIY ingenuity.

Equipment and Setup

  • Camera: Sony A7S3 with a 90mm F 2.8 macro lens.
  • Support: A basic tripod and a cheap Amazon product turntable.
  • Background: A 50-inch LED TV displaying ambient videos from YouTube.
  • Lighting: Two Amaran T2C tube lights for backlights and a Weeylite Ninja 400 with a softbox overhead.

The Process

  1. Preparation: I used a coffee table and books to position the can, ensuring it was at the right height.
  2. Background Selection: I experimented with various YouTube videos on the TV to create interesting textures and backgrounds.
  3. Lighting Setup: The tube lights were positioned as backlights, and the overhead light was used to illuminate the front of the can.
  4. Challenges: Managing reflections on the TV and the can was tricky. I had to adjust the positioning to minimize these issues.

Shooting and Editing

  • Framing: The size of the TV limited my framing options, so I had to be mindful of keeping the background in the shot.
  • Hero Shot: I started with a hero shot and then moved around to capture different angles and details.
  • Editing: The footage was edited in Final Cut Pro. I used Phantom Luts for color grading and added sound effects from Artlist for depth.

Key Learnings

  1. Reflections: Managing reflections, especially on reflective surfaces like cans, is challenging. I considered using a large white sheet to bounce light for a more pleasing reflection.
  2. Stability: The turntable and the setup on a woolen rug caused some instability. A more robust turntable and a solid floor would have helped.
  3. Product Condition: Ensure the product is in pristine condition. Even minor dents or scratches can be amplified on camera.
  4. Background Size: A larger TV would offer more flexibility in shot framing. However, achieving similar effects with a black background and post-production overlays is also possible.


This project was a great learning experience in DIY virtual production for product videos. It shows that with some creativity and the right tools, you can achieve professional-looking results even in a home setting.

Watch the Video

Check out the final spec advert for Liquid Death on my YouTube channel here.

This blog post is an accompaniment to my YouTube video. For a more detailed look at the process and the final product, make sure to watch the full video.

Let’s keep pushing the boundaries of creativity together!

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I'm Will Chidlow, passionate about creating visually captivating content that tells a story. Whether it's through video production, photography, or content creation, I'm here to help you share your ideas with the world. Learn more about my work. Follow me on Instagram and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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