Boxes are always the beginning of a new shoot.

It is great to see a stack of boxes come into the studio. It is like Christmas, but on a regular day. Part of the fun of starting a new shoot with so many different types of products is that you see something different everyday. This week 11 boxes came in from a clothing manufacturer, this is going to be great. Last week their custom mannequins came in. The production schedule is full for awhile. Soon we will have another 200 360 product views finished for another happy client.

360 view photo shoot

Trade shows, and what you don’t know about that presentation.

360 Spin Photography

When I was a child, I would go to the Flower and Patio show with dad. Other times, we might make it to a swap meet or two in the summer, no matter where it was, I would always see a few vendors that were selling thenext best thing“. Over the last decade, I have felt that way from time to time with 360 spin photography. I felt that all I was trying to do was get a chance to get the attention of the passer by and then convert them to a sale. The only problem is that I can not in my right mind choose to use some of the same tactics that other  employ. Here are a few examples that show up in my industry.

360 product views are a great way to show a product online and help convert your viewers into buyers. This we all agree with. BUT… 360 spins are not as easy as a coping machine to create. I am not saying that it is as hard as rocket science or anything. In the past I can recall a company that employed the sales pitch that 360 photography was super crazy high tech. They would have you think that they use lasers to scan the product and liquid helium to levitate the product. While we do use lasers to center an item, the Helium is just there to sound funny. This is just photography, on a turntable, and post editing to remove the background.

Product Photography is not simple It takes a lot of work to get a studio setup to take a perfect shot, and be able to remove the background. You can not just put a turntable on a workbench, set up a few work lights and have great 360 product photography. Now once you have your setup nailed down, you can repeat the process many, many times, but you have to get that first one right.

Automatic TurntablesOf all the time spent creating 360 spin photography, the shortest task is taking the photos(just clicking the button). A fully automatic turntable just isnt going to save you any time. Think about it, if this was the case, we dont need the photographer. It takes less than 2 minutes to put the shots in the camera, what are you going to save in those 2 minutes. The minute you turn your head, the shots are in the camera wrong and then later when you see the error in post, you are going to have to reopen the package, restyle the product, recenter the product, or rerig the product, reshoot the product, and put it all back in the boxes and this just to save clicking the button for a couple minutes. I have found one simple thing in this part of the process. If it is wrong reshoot, it will save you time in the long run.

One shoe does not fit allThe lighting and the turntable are different on just about every shoot. We have been shooting for way to many years now, and I will tell you that the only time that I get to use a previous setup is when I am shooting another product for the same customer. Even then, I find that I would set it up a little different.

Setups change, rigging is always different and you have to have a love of the art to be willing to do this, day in and day out. Now that it takes a little MacGyver to get it done. This is nothing that you can learn in a book, or from a crash course. If you dont believe me, then just stop and think of why we as a studio do not sell any of the turntables and camera rigs that we make. I have always felt that it was because I want to stand behind my product, and without a lot of commitment, you will not succeed in this industry.

360 Animated GIF

Community outreach, Girl Scouts Cookie Season and 360 Product Photography

It has been an interesting week at the studio. We had a great evening with a troop of Girl Scouts that wanted to learn about photography. Sometimes we love a little community outreach. It also happened to be girl Scout cookie season, so we combined photography, marketing and cookies. After a quick introduction to what our studios does, we handed it over to the girls for them to give it a try. They had a blast using the 360 turntable and controlling the camera. Once all of the photography was completed, we turned to the computer to see how to edit all of the images. Much was learned and I hope that PhotoSpherix has helped at least on person from the next generation to love photography. After all of work, the girls had animated GIFS that they could use on Facebook to promote feeding our addiction to those great cookies.

360 Animated GIF

Imajize 360 photography

We have been working with the guys at Imajize since 2012 on their online viewer of 360 product photography. Here are a couple examples of the options that they have available.

360 Photography on Shopify

We are proud to announce that we are adding our services to the world of Shopify. This is a great meld of our world of photography and the online merchants of Shopify. We hope that this model will make it possible for Shopify to help the merchants better showcase their products.

Shopify Shopping Cart Software – Start your FREE trial today!

google 360 view

Goggle has 360 views in Shopping

After reading an interesting article at Searchengineland.com I starting to see the need for more and more 3d images on our customers sites. Google, one of the largest online store platforms is adding functionality that the smaller (and that is everyone) sites are not competing with. We at PhotoSpherix have been waiting for a market leader to implement our beloved technology. Finally, we are seeing just that.

google 360 view

Try it yourself Google 360 product view At the right in the search results is a 3d icon below the suggested product.

YouTube now supports 360-degree video on desktop and mobile

An exciting news announcement has been made by the team at YouTube that affects everyone responsible for online marketing promotion.

YouTube now supports 360-degree video, although currently only available for the Chrome browser the company says iOS support is coming soon. Right now, there are only a few 360-degree videos available to watch so now is the time to grab your audience’s attention.

If you are using a Chrome browser, take a look at the link above to experience the new potential for this medium.

Using 360-Degree video, users can watch a movie and click and drag to pan around the video to see everything around you. Using an Android device, users can pan round simply by moving the device, giving the feeling of virtual reality without a cumbersome headset.

To make it easy for people to upload their videos to YouTube, Google has been working with a number of 360-degree camera makers across the industry to make the videos compatible with YouTube.

These videos are incredibly fun to watch on an Android device but what do you think of the new 360-degree feature? Are you a fan?

Can you imagine how it could work for you?

Here is a link to the official how to: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6178631?hl=en

Aerial Photography in Indiana

We start with a helicopter, a camera and a pre-planned shoot. The client needed a shot for the side of their trailer, and they wanted to show some of their work.

Stitched PanoramaAfter the image was stitched together, we had a VERY large image. This final file was over 50 ft at 300 dpi and that was from the original images, not resized.

Now we have to get it ready for…

Full View

VanBruggen Signs did a great job of printing the trailer.

c

 

After all of this, we had a final trailer that came out great.

Final Trailer

 

 

Magento and 360 product views

360 view in magento

As much as we love Magento as a great ecommerce platform, one of the basic functions that we would love to see implemented is 360 product photography. We have been watching for years that online stores want the technology, but they are not ready for the headache of the technology. This is a great update to an already great platform… Hint Hint

In the mean time, we have come up with a novel way to showcase your products on your magento product page with only a few lines of code. We have made this change on a few implementations of Magento and it seems to work out nicely.

On App>Design>YourTheme>Template>Catalog>Product>View>Media.phtml we added the following

<?php
$vrfilename = $_SERVER{‘DOCUMENT_ROOT’} .’/360view/’.basename($_product->getSKU(), “.jpg”).’.swf’;
if (file_exists($vrfilename)) {
echo “<li><a onclick=\”flash_in_lightbox.embed(‘”.’http://www.xyz.com/360view/’.basename($_product->getSKU(), “.jpg”).’.swf’.”‘);_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘360view’, ‘Open’]);\” href=\””.’http://www.photospherix.com/360view_sample.jpg’.”\” rel=\”lightbox\” title=\”360 View\”><img src=\”/360view/360view.jpg\” alt=\”360 product view\”></a></li>”;
} else {
echo “<!– ” .$vrfilename. ” * –>”;
}
?>

By doing this, It looks in the 360view folder for a file named “THESKU”.swf and if it finds the file, It adds a 360 view icon to the end of the Additional Images folder. All we have to do to add the 360’s to the site, is name them with the sku number and they show up on the site. In the included example, we used a lightbox with flash option to display the 360’s.

Take a look: 360 views in Magento

Out in the wild

Back from the west coast

After a trip to the west coast, I had time to spare on the plane. I did a little thinking and here is what I cam up with.

The photography industry is crazy, it is fickle and it is needed. How many products are on the market today? How do they stand out from their nearest neighbor? How do they get to market? and How do they get in the hands on consumers? All of these questions have different answers depending on the item that is in questions, but they all have the same cycles, needs, and expectations. So here is an example of a new widget by John. Now remember that Johns widget is a product, you can touch it, feel it, hold it and look at it. It also has to be shipped to the retailer, it has to be built, and it has to be delivered to the consumer. John’s widget is the best case in point of a hand held item that I can come up with. It is a glove… Now John has worked hard to come up with the best glove he can cream of. He has worked out all of the kinks that come with a new glove. This product is the best possible glove you could dream of.

Now the problems come in. John has just started making this glove. He wants to get it to consumers, but he has to tackle some hurdles first. These roadblocks are set up in the system to streamline the lifecycle of products in the consumer world, but it also makes it more difficult to break into that market.

We will start with the first hurdle. No one knows who John is, and the sure do not know about Johns gloves. This is the first glove that he has put on the market. This has nothing to do with John or his glove. So he starts out trying to call possible retailers and distributors of his glove. He can not get past the gatekeepers in the system. They do not let him into the decision makers. That is the job of the gatekeepers. His glove may be the best glove ever to be designed, but until someone sees it, it is not worth anything. So John works day and night trying to find a way to get in front of his prospects. So finally after more time than he wants to admit, he gets to a product purchaser, and as we said before, they love the glove, it is the best glove they have ever come across. THE FIRST HURDLE IS CROSSED.

Just because the first hurdle is done, we are not to the gravy train. Just because the purchaser loves the glove does not mean that they are ready to buy any. They want to know how it has performed in the market place. John has no track record for this product. He has made a few different products, but this is his first glove. So he needs to get the glove in the hands of some people that are willing to promote his glove to show how great the glove is. He starts by going to the local hand show and shows his glove to every hand aficionado that he can find. The eat up the glove, they wear them everyday. The want to tell everyone about the glove, but they have nowhere to tell people to get their own gloves, but the SECOND HURDLE IS PASSED.

The parts are starting to come together, he has people that love his glove and he has a retailer that is willing to carry the gloves. Now he needs to get a manufacturer that can make the gloves for him. He tries local, no luck. He tries to find a manufacturer in the states, but their costs do not line up. He is even willing to have the gloves imported from over seas, but he is having troubles communicating with the manufacturers. Finally he finds a way to communicate with the overseas manufacturer, with a little help, he finds someone to build the gloves. Now he no longer needs to build the gloves in his basement and the THIRD HURDLE IS CROSSED.

He now has a product, market and a retailer. He is in the business of making gloves. But this is where the fourth and final hurdle shows its head. He has to have a way to showcase the greatest glove on earth to millions of prospective buyers. Being that he is a small company, he can not send out thousands of sample gloves, and he is drop shipping all of the gloves from internet sales so  he needs to showcase his gloves the best possible way. He works to find the best glove models money can but, he has a limited budget, so he ends up with a 3 fingered hand model. with his images complete, he has the FOURTH HURDLE COMPLETED

Now the lesson in this story, if he would have tackled the fourth hurdle first, he would have been able to inform the retailer about his product, showcased his product to the early adopters, found a manufacturer in a universal visual language and revealed the best glove on Earth to the consumers all with great product photography.

Now in no way am I saying that great product photography can do the dishes, cure national debit or make it sunny everyday, but it can make the life cycle of a product much better. You can even add to this, 360 product photography, that can say millions of things about your product in one set of images, or you can go about it the hard way like John did, it is your choice.