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This Epic Commercial Was Shot with a Custom-Built ‘Spinning Rig of Death’


Steve Giralt is a legend in the world of food photography and videography. His creations are absolutely jaw dropping, and in a recent behind-the-scenes video, Vox got a chance to see the master at work in his studio full of custom-built rigs and $200,000 camera robots.

If you’re ever looking for some product photography inspiration, you cannot go wrong looking up Giralt’s portfolio. His work with custom-built rigs and super slow motion cameras and insane camera robots—usually all used in tandem—is the stuff of legend.

In this particular video, Vox interviewed Giralt about one particular commercial he created: a Jack Daniels ad that shows a full glass spinning quickly on the screen as a lime drops into the liquid and creates a slow motion splash. And while this might look simple on the surface, it was an incredibly complex shoot to actually create.

In fact, the rig that produced it is playfully referred to as the “Spinning Rig of Death,” and it looks something like this:

There are two main reasons why Giralt and his team had to create such a complex rig in order to capture the footage the client was looking for.

First, the camera had to be spinning, not the glass, in order to get a parallax effect. And second, the camera had to be spinning very fast in order to capture a quickly moving glass and a slow motion splash in the same shot. So forget about putting the glass on a turntable and dropping a lime from above, this took some ingenuity.

In addition to the spinning rig of death, they also had to drop the lime JUST right, secure and power the Phantom 4K camera from the rig itself (since spinning things and cables don’t mix), and make the whole thing look pretty while they were at it. Obviously, they succeeded, and have used the rig for other projects since.

You can this and other uses of the rig in Steve’s 2020 Beverage Reel below:

Obviously we don’t all have tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend building out the kind of rigs that Giralt is known for, but every interview with Steve reveals a more important aspect of his work: a never give up attitude that inspires him to solve problems and capture unique footage in the most creative way possible.

Check out the full video interview for more behind the scenes details and insight into how Giralt creates his trademark commercials. And if you want to see even more, dive into the PetaPixel archives where we’ve featured Steve’s work on multiple occasions, including a full article on the so-called ‘Spinning Rig of Death.’