360 Degree Spin Photography of a Bicycle

action_bike

As we all know, internet retailers sell EVERYTHING. Due to this wide variety of shapes and sizes, we need to get creative with how we rig up a product for 360 spin photography. Many items can simply be placed on the turntable, while others need some “propping up”. There are a new set of complications that come into play when you want spin an item instead of just photography it from one angle.

At Snap36 we use the PhotoRobot System, so there isn’t much time to be readjusting your “rig” for each angle. Another consideration when setting up for 360 product photography is post production. Photoshop is a great tool, but internet retailers just don’t have the budget for you to retouch the wood block out of every file from a 48 image 3D spinset.

We use a robot called the Cube that allows us to hang and spin products. This ability to hang odd shaped products with clear monofilament greatly expands our abilities. It also simplifies the hell out of the whole process, from photography to post production.

Hanging a bicycle for spin photography is a great example of what I mentioned above. Here are the basic issues with spinning a bicycle; the bicycle needs to stand straight up and it won’t do this on its own, complicated rigging can’t block any part of it during the spin, it’s big and odd shaped, the client has requested a clean white background, outlining a bicycle can take forever x 24, you can’t spend all day spinning one product even though it looks really cool.

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? I’ll still try to explain what you’re seeing and how this setup is so beneficial.

By hanging the bicycle we are eliminating complicated and “heavy” rigging needed to stand it up straight. With the 30lb test clear mono attached correctly, gravity helps us out quite a bit. A few adjustments and our bicycle is hanging straight and level. The white sweep is set back far enough that it is evenly lit and reads almost 100% or 255. With a clean white background and clear line holding suspending the bicycle, retouching is kept to a minimum and manual outlining is not needed. Only where the line crosses in front of certain parts of the bicycle will retouching be needed; these are quick and simple fixes.

When spinning products that might have some wobble or shake, we can slow the Cube’s movement down to a crawl. There can be some very small movement, but the short flash duration of the strobes will take care of that. Once everything is set to go, we can photograph a 360 spinset with 24 images of a bicycle in under 5 min without having to touch the bicycle during the process.

Michael Dreas
Michael Dreas
m.dreas@snap36.com

Michael Dreas has worked in commercial photography for over 20 years, in over 40 states and a dozen countries. As the first employee of Snap36, Michael has installed hundreds of robot systems and spent many years developing the spin photography techniques commonly used today. He has a highly technical, in-depth knowledge of studio automotive and spin workflows. Michael is your standard Jack-of-all-trades. He can drive a truck, build a deck, or repair a computer. Whatever is needed.

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