The making of the Fujinon XF 16-55 video: A $4.20 product shoot with the X-T1

One of the pleasures of shooting the Fujinon XF 16-55 video, was figuring out how to showcase the product on its own. I mentioned in the X-T1 filming review, that I’d wanted to transpose a car commercial style onto the product showcase itself, so this was what I worked on.

These are the original clips used in the movie, slightly sped up:

What did I use to these film product clips of the XF 16-55mm?

A few very simple, and cheap things:

  • 1 x A2-sized black sheet for a surface & backdrop (SGD $1.40)
  • 1 x stack of books as a camera stand (SGD $0 if you happen to visit the library regularly)

to create my “set” in my old bedroom in Singapore:

Photo: Flemming Bo Jensen


For the all important lighting to sweep the lens with:

  • 1 x cheap torchlight (SGD $2.00), and
  • 1 x piece of black A4 paper (SGD $0.80) rolled into a cone to act as a beam modifier for the torch:
Photo: Flemming Bo Jensen


And because I needed to feel directorly and order someone to hold the backdrop, press the record button and importantly, turn the room light on and off

  • 1 x unpaid assistant:


(Good thing he volunteered, as his hourly rate is a bit steep)

And then this generally happened:

  1. Positioning the lens
  2. Adjusting books, backdrop, and X-T1 to suit
  3. Pre-focusing the 23mm
  4. Turning the light off and doing a pre-sweep with the torch (with conical light modifier) to make sure it looked the way I wanted
  5. Adjusting the aperture of the aperture of the light modifier (it was held in shape with only my hand, so I could do this)
  6. (Inevitably) turning the light on to readjust lens, filming camera set up
  7. rinse and repeat #4, #5 #6 a couple more times
  8. Then hitting “record” and filming a sequence of several sweeps, one of which will turn out just right

I discovered in this time that it’s bloody hard to sweep slowly and evenly, when you’re awkwardly curled around a pile of books, with both hands engaged – one for torch, the other for modifier.

I should mention, that these product clips in the original promo movie were not touched in post production at all. They’re a little noisy, owing to being shot at ISO 1250, but shooting on the Velvia film simulation on the X-T1 meant that the clip was nice and contrasty.

Read my review on shooting video with the X-T1 and new Version 3 firmware, or – shameless plug – watch the promo movie again:


  1. Redterrain says:

    Very well done Charlene. I love the simplicity in the lighting, and that it’s mysterious and dark (almost alluring!) just like a car advert.

    1. charlene says:

      That was the plan! Glad it came through :)

  2. Harry Max says:

    WOW!! Is this for real? I’ve never read such a clear instructed blog explaining everything in detail. Really impressed and was of such a use to me as I’m into product photography. The images a cool and have texture in them that is very pleasing to the eyes. Would you suggest an acrylic sheet for the base (here black sheet) ? Is it really good with reflections?

Comments are closed.