September 2013

Video of Yellow and White Diamond Earring

I built a new rig for doing jewelry videos and it has two huge advantages over my old system. The first is that is incredibly smooth so I don’t need to use software stabilization anymore. The second is that it can be mounted upside down and it allows me to suspend items, for example earrings:

You may notice a little more sparkle in this video — my new secret sauce which is *not* added in post-production. Even though the turntable is smooth, if the room has any vibration it gets transmitted through the boom and string and it’s very hard to get the earrings to turn without becoming a pendulum. In this case I applied a lot of patience and a little software stabilization to damp out the swinging of the earrings.

The rig also has continuous speed controls all the way from full speed forward to full speed reverse and the controller is separated from the motor/gearbox so you can adjust the speed without producing vibration. I can also swap in a new motor if I ever want something a lot faster. I really want to try some handbags with this new system if anyone has one they’d like me to video… I’ll do the first one for free ūüôā

Latest Jewelry Video for Delicate Gems

Take a look at my latest jewelry video that I did for Delicate Gems:

This was a custom ring they made for a client. The main stone is¬†Portuguese green amethyst and it is surrounded by diamonds set in a yellow gold band. I’ve been working on trying to get a little more movement in the videos — this one has three clips (two transitions) and in the last one I held the ring up with some double sided tape and then I panned the camera while the ring rotated.

Street Advertisement for Ross Metals NYC

I’ve been working with Ross Metals for well over a year now — I did their newest logo, several advertisements, photography of their chain collection as well as photography of their finished jewelry. ¬†For this ad, they asked me to advertise their refining business; customers bring in scrap metal, leftovers from jewelry manufacture or bits of old jewelry. I decided to try and show that with their company, cash and gold could be easily exchanged so I photographed one of Jack Ross’s antique cash registers and I filled the drawer with gold and silver scrap and then photographed it. I added a strong side-light with a full CTO gel over it so that the whole scene would have that really rich, golden-morning, sunlit look.

The ad appears on the southwest corner of 47th street and 5th Avenue, on 47th Street. Unfortunately there is a recently placed garbage can partially obscuring the bottom of the ad.

Cell phone picture of advertisement for Ross Refining on 47th Street.

Cell phone picture of advertisement for Ross Refining on 47th Street.

Advertisement for Ross Refining on 47th Street.

Advertisement for Ross Refining on 47th Street.

Loose colored diamond video

I just did two videos of loose diamonds for Lotus Colors. These diamonds are enhanced to bring out optimal color, and they are really intense!  Below I show a comparison between the still photograph and the video I did of the same diamond.

blue 67406306D 4.03 VS2 princess

Lotus, blue 4.03 VS2 princess


yellow 67406404D 1.55 SI1 radiant

Lotus, yellow 1.55 SI1 radiant

One of the challenges of shooting very small diamonds like this is mitigating vibration. I use a combination of software (the warp stabilizer in Adobe Premiere and After Effects is particularly effective) as well as solid equipment. I use a big heavy tripod, a solid shooting table and a turntable from Arqspin (  However, even with good equipment, some vibration is inevitable and must be cleaned up in post-production.

Portfolio video reel

Jewelry product video is the newest offering at The Commercial Art Lab. The function of video is very different from still photography; where a still photo shows tremendous detail of one view, the video is intended to show many angles quickly and emphasize how the piece looks in motion (which is how most people view objects since everyone is constantly in motion). Video is particularly effective for showing diamonds because so much of their beauty is in the sparkle that occurs with motion and is impossible to capture with still photography.  Video is also more effective when there is a great deal of detail on multiple sides of the piece; we can always take multiple still photos, but often a single video ends up being a more economical approach. There is also the possibility of overlaying music or commentary if the piece has an interesting back-story. You can choose a white, black, gray or colored gradient background. Typically we do at least two different views of the rotation, such as a view of the whole product and then a transition to a very closeup, detailed view. Customers report that video improves conversion and sales of their jewelry.

Of course, there are limitations to video; retouching is nearly impossible so it is imperative to clean the piece before taking the video. Also, the video must be shot in a vibration-free environment (the average office has a lot of vibration).

Check out our portfolio video reel below: