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Use Foreground Elements to Elevate Your Next Production

Tanner Shinnick

Increase your video production values with some class and sophistication by working with foreground elements in your next project.

As filmmakers, we’re always looking for ways to elevate our productions and improve our imagery. Recently, I had the opportunity to film a fashion and beauty commercial for a brand that was looking to add some class to their aesthetic. While researching the concept for the spot, I decided I wanted to find a different way to help them get the look they wanted. After some research, I came across the concept of foreground elements — in front of your lens — as a trend in fashion and beauty work. At that moment, I knew I had found exactly what I was looking for.

Use Foreground Elements to Elevate Your Next Production — Foreground Elements

What Are Foreground Elements

We’re not talking about a fake office plant in front of a camera — or catching the edge of a door in the frame. We’re talking about perfectly placed and curated items, directly in front of or on the camera’s lens, which adds depth and an overall pleasing effect to the image. These items are typically clear, and they help refract light coming into the lens. This creates an image that viewers will find more visually appealing.

This method of incorporating foreground elements has been used in fashion ads for decades. It helps to create the illusion of class and sophistication onscreen, thus elevating the mood and tone of the spot. Here’s an example of how to incorporate these foreground elements into a production.

Examples of Foreground Elements

The best thing about working with foreground elements is that they can actually be very inexpensive. You can even pick up the materials at your local dollar store. The items you use include a dinner glass, prisms, or even something as wild as a large plastic spoon.  For the commercial I worked on, I just went to a local craft store and found clear crystal beads typically used for jewelry I bought four for under $12, and they worked perfectly.

You can get creative with whatever you choose. Really, you can use anything that’s clear and will refract the light before it hits your camera’s sensor.

Below is an example from a Dior ad that used foreground elements for one of the shots in the ad.

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Working with foreground elements when capturing your images is a super easy way to elevate your productions. It adds some class and sophistication to your filmmaking work. And the best part? You can do all of this without having to break the bank. If you have a fashion or beauty ad coming up on your list of productions, definitely consider experimenting with some foreground elements.

Cover image via Luxolites.

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