Filming a Product Video In Under a Day - Work for Dr. Yates Hair Science

For this project, it was off to Chicago for a long day of production.

Most of our work doesn’t involve too much travel. A 2-3 hour drive here and there, sure, but very rarely do we find ourselves on an airplane, gear in tow.

That’s why it was a nice surprise when we got booked to shoot a quick turnaround product video in the heart of downtown Chicago, at Gentleman’s Cooperative Chicago.


Dr. Yates Hair Science is a high-end, boutique hair center based in Chicago that specializes in hair replacement. Dr. Yates has a line of hair care products that he sells through his practice, and he wanted to make a video to showcase these products.

So, we got on a plane at 5 am, flew to Chicago, got picked up by Taylor Shanton, and headed into the city.

For this shoot, we wanted a high-end feel without having to bring a ton of equipment with us from Kansas City. Taylor had some lighting we used, and we brought some of our own lighting. We also rented some equipment on-site, from Magnanimous Rentals in Chicago.

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We got to the salon around 1 pm, and immediately started setting up and getting to work. The salon had a ton of windows in it, overlooking Michigan Avenue. We utilized most of that natural, midday light coming through those windows, and only added some lighting accents where we knew it would really pop.

Fashion lighting is a delicate art and science. For example, take a look below at one of our interview shots from a more dramatic, moody video.

It’s really hard to make a setting like this work for a fashion product video!

Fashion, especially hair and makeup products, need to have high key lighting, as well as lots of fill lighting. Basically, shadows are your enemy when it comes to the product video field. We did a lot of work to make sure we were lighting Dr. Yates evenly, and giving him enough light to showcase his products and how they worked. Working in a salon helps a lot, since they’re already setup with a lot of lighting that helps see what you’re working on. Notice how, on the shot below, there’s no shadow anywhere on Dr. Yates’ face, other than his natural lines (for example, under his eyebrows). We don’t want any added shadows where they shouldn’t be!

So, like with everything we do, we lit the room, then called “Action”. From there, it’s just a matter of getting the script deliveries, angles, and close ups that you know you’ll need for the finished product. In a matter of hours, we were back on a plane and headed home to Kansas City.