How to Shoot a Commercial with Robots


Hi, I’m Steve Giralt Welcome to my studio here in Manhattan. I am a Photographer, Director, and Visual Engineer and I’m going to show you around, what I do. We shoot a mix of coffee, booze, make-up, you name it. We kind of do all sorts of what’s called Table Top. Which is kind of encompasses all these things. My favorite is food or booze or put them together, it’s even more fun. So, generally we have three robots. One moving the camera, one pouring coffee, one pouring the milk and they all kind of come to together in one big messy glass. Here we have the Phantom VO 4K slow motion camera. It does a thousand frames a second. On that we have a Zeiss 50mm Macro Lens and that is on a Bolt Robot. So, this is a high speed robot designed for doing super fast camera moves. I studied Photography at RIT in Rochester, NY Then I move to New York City and I started assisting other photographers and I started working as a Commercial Photographer just doing still photography. Then I basically got bored and decided video was the way to go and with robots and all sorts of other crazy stuff. Being in New York City, it’s amazing when I walk around the city and see my work on Madison Square Garden or in Times Square. It just really makes you feel great about the work we do. Yes, we’re not curing cancer but we’re making really cool art that sells stuff. Over here we have our ice coffee pourer. So the coffee is actually in this container and this little motor that pours it into the glass that is here. Up here we have a conveyer belt we built So actually we put the ice cubes on the conveyer belt and then when we tell it to the ice goes off the conveyer belt and into the glass It really lets us control quantity and spacing between ice cubes. We have one more robot over here, Johnny Five. And he is going to bring the surface to the glass. Because we have this rod that is moving the glass around we need to bring the surface in at the last minute. And there’ll be a little retouching of that at the end. We you’re working with the Phantom, you need a lot of light because you’re shooting a thousand frames a second and let’s say you need F 11, F 16, so now you’re shutter speed is crazy. You’re at like 1/2000 second at F 16 at 800 ISO. That’s a lot of light that you need. We had to custom build our own lights because we didn’t really love the large 10K, 20K Tungstens that exist because they cook everything. And thats no fun. For anybody that wants to try to do some of this stuff that I’m doing and a lot of you were like , “Ah I can’t afford robots or how do I do it?” and its just start small. Get your camera, maybe get a slider, maybe get a motorized slider even better and just start building up to it and I didn’t know this in the beginning. It took me 15, 20 years of doing this to learn new things and get better and better until you realize that you can do some really crazy stuff. Thanks for watching this and thank you to B&H for coming here to my studio and watching my process. If you want to see more of what I do, Instagram’s the best place, @SteveGiralt You can see more behind the scenes, more crazy robot things, exploding, fire, you name it. We kind of do everything so check it out.

18 thoughts on “How to Shoot a Commercial with Robots

  1. Very nice! Amazing what you all need for those commercials!!!

  2. This like what KarlTayloy does…. cept there aren't any Robotics involved. This was indeed pretty cool!

  3. I saw something like this on facebook, pretty crazy cool stuff

  4. Is there a way to do a series on how she shoots and lights all of this? It’s amazing how all of this comes together. I love macro photography and macro videography. Would be great for a series!!!

  5. I'm sitting here thinking, "I wonder if I can do this with 3 NEMA 23's run off a MKs GenL board… gear down the steppers to 4:1 for performance… when it's not shooting high end commercials it can make benchys…"
    Love those custom LED panels.

  6. Great How to video, I am also creating how to video about make money off the stock market and teaching about how to trade stock and your video gave me a idea, thank you πŸ™‚

  7. Thanks for the shoutout Steve! Your work continues to dazzle us!

  8. The one thing that one should get out of this video is, like he said, start small, grow big and keep honing your skills. No one has an overnight success. Kudos to him! πŸ‘

  9. very impressive!
    We did a music-video for our band with a similar rig a few months ago. check out the video on our channel!

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