This time we did some 360 product photography of a really fancy LED bicycle light made by a local company called Lezyne. For the photo shoot we had to whip out a fairly elaborate lighting setup, but it led to some slick highlights that help accentuate the products slick metallic finish. Well worth the effort! It turned out great! Below you’ll find a video dealing with every aspect of the photo shoot. We also threw in a surprise. We captured the 360 degree images with our USA-made 360 photography turntable – the Spin Ninja! This is the first time I’ve presented it myself in front of a camera, so I suppose we can consider this a historical event, albeit a small one. With that said, we hope you enjoy the video!


Video Transcription

Hey, guys, this is Michael with and today we’re going to be doing a photo shoot for a company in San Luis Obispo, where we’re located, and this company is called Lezyne and they make a really cool bicycle light.  In fact, they make all kinds of different stuff, but bicycle lights, LED lights, that’s what they kind of specialize in doing.  I have a friend who works there and they were able to donate a light to us temporarily for us to shoot.  What I like about this is it’s super reflective, so it gives us a chance to really experiment with the different kinds of, like, lighting set-ups that we have here.  And you see this big black thing behind me right now?  This is actually a big sheet of felt that’s hanging down about halfway.  Then we have the background paper down here and we actually have another one, but you can’t quite see it.  It’s another piece of foam.  I’m going to show you the whole lighting set-up for this thing and I’m going to show you what it’s like when you remove these things so you can actually see how it affects the reflections on this light.  It’s actually really cool.  There’s also one little surprise we have.  We usually shoot everything with this really simple lazy Susan.  It’s called the Simple Spin.  We sell it on our website for about 99 bucks and it’s really cool because it’s super simple, it’s super easy, and it does what it’s supposed to do really well.  But we sold out of it.  We’re going to get some more in stock soon, but until then, we had to do a demo with something, and we recently started selling really fancy motorized turntables.  It’s all software controlled by your computer.  It’s incredibly industrial, high-end stuff.  But for the video tutorials, it was a little bit overkill, but we decided, you know, why not.  We’ll show it.  So basically we’re going to be shooting it with this really nice, it’s basically overkill for what we’re doing, but this thing is designed for shooting lots and lots of products.  We’re just shooting one today, but at least you’ll get a sneak peak of what this thing is all about.  It’s called the Spin Ninja.  It’s engineered in Germany.  We’re making it here, actually, in San Luis Obispo, California.  I’m pretty excited about it, so I’m really happy I’ll be able to show it to you guys.  So, we have that, and what else do we have?  We have the whole upper half part here, which is kind of a prototype thing I’ll be able to show you.  This is what holds up the piece of Plexiglas.  And then we’ll go through the software that does the ending for it, and then we’ll upload the images to, and we’re good to go.

But before we do any of that, let’s start with the lighting setup.  So, basically the lighting setup we have here is really simple.  We have the big tent and we have two Alien Bee B800s down at the bottom with 40° honeycomb grids that are pointing up at the top of this, inside of this tent, where light reflects back down on the product and it creates this really, really nice reflection.  And then for the background, we have this really big piece of background paper and we have an Alien Bee B6200 with these things called Barn Doors on it that help direct the lights, that it doesn’t overflow too much of the background light.  So it makes this really nice directed light that is hitting the background.  Looks really nice.  Then, this is what we really wanted to do.  We went onto their website and we saw this image.  It has this really nice black highlight on the silver light we have here, and we wanted to replicate that in the 360 view.  We want it to show up on every single angle so it looked really good.  To do that, though, we needed to create that black reflection by using something black around the light, without it getting in the way of the background.  So when we still found it a nice white background, we needed to create those black highlights, and we did that by using this Felt here.  And basically what we did was, we had this long sheet of felt, it’s like about the size of a good-sized bed sheet, and we just threw most of it on top of this actual tent, so a little bit was draping down from the top.  And now, if we do a shot, we can actually see what it looks like with the black highlight.  And now when we take it away, you can see what it looks like without the black highlight.  That’s for the top.  Now, what does it look like from the bottom?  Well, you can see here we have another one for the bottom, right there, just being held up with, you know, a simple little stand, and that guy’s just the highlight for the bottom, because we wanted to also have a nice black highlight for the bottom of the light, too.  So let’s see what it looks like with that, and there it is with, and then without, you can see what it looks like without.  So when you have everything is removed, you can see, like, the light doesn’t have a lot of pop to it, a lot of contrast, and you really want to have that.  So you can see how it’s a lot better with the black felt on the top and the bottom.  So there we go.  We got the lighting basically all dialed in.  

And then, the next part we have is the turntable.  So we have the lights down; this is the turntable.  So the turntable we have here is a Spin Ninja turntable.  I was talking a little bit about it earlier, and this is, like I said, made in Germany, or it’s engineered in Germany.  It’s made over here in good old sunny San Luis Obispo, California.  And it comes with this really cool software that allows you to control it, spin it, do all the, you know, adjustments and stuff.  You can even do the adjustments from the camera.  The software controls the turntable, controls the camera.  It actually takes the images from the camera, puts it into the software so you can do all the editing for the 360 view directly on your laptop.  You don’t even have to manually transfer the images from the memory card of the camera to the computer, which is super cool.  So, let’s fire this thing up.  Let’s actually do a demo of this thing going, and I think that’d be a lot of fun.

So we’re going to have one camera facing towards the turntable so we can see it go, and then we’ll record my screen, so you’ll be able to actually see, you know, what’s going on and how the software controls the turntable, so it won’t be this magical black box.  So let’s check that out right now.  Let’s do a video of that, and I think that’ll be a really good transition into the next thing, so let’s check it out.

All right, cool.  So now we have the software here, and you can also see the turntable and the setup that we have for suspending the product for elevating it above the ground.  And you can see here, let’s look at the turntable real quick.  You can see there’s four poles that fold up, this kind of white cross section.  That’s just to elevate it up a little bit higher.  Like I said, this is the prototype.  It’s a proven concept.  The actual production one will look a little bit different from this, but we got some clips that hold it on, and then the important thing is the clear pieces of Plexiglas that are on the end of this white crossbar thing.  You can see they basically hold up this circular disk, this circular piece of Plexiglas, which is the actual platform that the light is resting on.  That’s the secret sauce behind this thing.  This is what makes it work so well.  Whenever those, you can see that as it spins around, those rectangular pieces of Plexiglas eventually get in the way, and when they get in the way, they’re actually, they get in the way at the perfect spot, which is right behind the product, right?  Well, normally that would show up, but fortunately, because of how we designed it, the background light is strong enough to be able to shine through that, completely blow it out so that you don’t see it at all.  The end effect is a beautiful photo of the product alone, with a pure white background, 255, all the way around, without even a trace of an artifact of any of the supports that hold up the Plexiglas.  It’s an awesome design and it works really well and it allows the turntable to always be perfectly centered, directly connected to the platform that holds the products.  A huge advantage over the other centerless turntables that are currently out there.  So, well, yeah, that’s basically the setup.  Then we have the turntable and we have the software which controls it.  

So, here’s the software, and you can see here we have a whole bunch of controls up here, but we’ll just do the simple ones for now.  We got the capture, and this allows you to control the, okay, let me turn on the camera real quick, so you see it go.  Perfect.  All right, so it’s all plugged in.  And now, we can take a test shot, and it gives you a live preview of the actual light right there.  It’s pretty cool.  The image is just transferring over.  And you can see here we’re shooting in raw.  We can actually change this over to jpeg.  We’re shooting at such a high resolution for Web, we don’t actually need to shoot in raw, although we can, but in this case, we’ll just shoot for jpeg.  Image size, focus, white balance, ISO, you can control all that from the software, so you don’t actually have to touch the camera if you don’t want to.  But for now, we’ll just adjust the settings.  We’ll do another test shot real quick.  See how that looks.  There you go.  It’s looking pretty good.  Perfect.  So I’d say we’re pretty good with adjusting the camera, so I need to close this form for now.  And then the next one we have is the multicapture window.  So when we pull that one up, you see here, a window pops up over here, and this is the window that controls the turntable.  And we’ll start from the top to bottom.  At the top, we have all the different, basically this is just little meters that tells if the camera is plugged in, if the turntable is plugged in, and if there’s power connected with the turntable.  Down here we have basically the wheel that just tells us exactly where the turntable is currently at, so we can actually click and it will actually go right to it.  We click zero and it will go back home.  You can change the number of shots you want to do, so if you want to do, you know, 90 shots per rotation or 4 shots, or 16, you can do anything you want, really.  You can go all the way from 360 if you want to, but that’s pretty excessive, so for now we’ll just do 24.  To be really honest, that’s usually what most people do.  It’s a pretty good average.  So if you’re not sure how many to shoot, 24 is a pretty good default to fall back to.  Max speed acceleration, we also have some delay settings.  You can actually adjust that if you want to.  So if you want to have a really long delay, you can actually set it with a delay so it will wait for, you know, about 10 seconds for each shot.  But in this case, you know, you don’t have to make it wait very long.  So we’ll set that, and then we can click multicapture, and we’ll have a lot of fun with this.  This is going to be pretty cool.  So let’s check this out.  

While it’s actually shooting, you can actually adjust certain things.  Like, you can actually adjust the settle time if you want to.  So if you want to have a delay, you don’t have to wait for it to finish shooting, you can just adjust it on the fly while it’s still going.  In this case, I’ll bring it back down to .1.  You can also adjust the acceleration, and you can do it in mid-shot.  It’s pretty cool.  You can also adjust the maximum speed if you want.  So if you want to slow it down, and if you want to, you can make it go really slow.  You can see here it’s actually going, but if you actually look at it on the camera, it barely looks like it’s moving at all.  But we’ll just speed that up.  And, there we have it.  

So, we’re all finished up with that shot.  And you can see here, we have our 360 view of our awesome light spinning around.  Got it nice and centered.  And you can see that really nice reflection we have.  You see that nice highlight you have at the top.  That’s from basically having that nice piece of felt at the top.  And you can see at the bottom, we also have some of those reflections as well.  They’re not quite as pronounced, but they’re definitely there.  You can see that little nice highlight right down there at the bottom of the edge.  That’s definitely coming from the little piece of felt we have at the bottom.  So there we go, we have that.  Now you might want to crop this and do a little bit of editing, which you can do with the software, so let’s check that out real quick.  

So for doing the adjustments, you just click this little lightbulb here for adjust and this little window pops up and allows us to do some basic adjustments.  So you can adjust, for example, the exposure if you want to.  As is out of the camera is actually pretty good, so we’ll probably leave it really close to where it’s at.  You can also adjust the white temperature if you want, tint, if you want to adjust the contrast, you can.  But like I said, it’s pretty good straight out of the camera.  One thing you might want to play with a little bit is the camera.  You might want to bump that up just a little bit and give it a little bit more pop.  You can also adjust the sharpness if you want to.  Here, down a little bit, right there.  Increase the intensity a little bit, make it nice and sharp.  There you go.  And then in terms of cropping, we’ll close this one out.  It looks pretty good.  In terms of cropping, you just click crop and it brings up a crop tool, and all you can do is just click and drag and you can make a little square for your product, and you just keep adjusting so it looks really good.  So it looks pretty good right there.  So then I’ll just click rotate, and it’ll actually automatically crop it to these settings.  There it is.  Pretty cool.  

So from here, this seems pretty good, so what we can do is, we can go to file and then go to export and then upload to Imajize.  A little story about this.  We actually developed this little add-on, upload to Imajize, when we had our old company logo, so you actually see our old company logo here, but by the time we do another update to it, you’ll see the new one.  But, yeah, just put in your email and your password, and then we’ll eventually have a feature where you’re able to choose which project you want to upload to.  So if you have a client that you want to upload these 360 views to, you just log in, select which project you want to upload your stuff to, or which client you want to upload your stuff to, and then just click upload and it’ll start uploading.  We’ll hit cancel for now and you’ll be able to see how it looks once we have it on  So there it is.  Pretty cool.  Pretty easy.  And that’s a really fast, efficient way to be able to shoot a 360 view of the light.  And this is basically it.  This is all done.  

And one question we get, by the way, I didn’t address this, so I’ll address it now.  In terms of the editing, yes, when you make an adjustment, it doesn’t just do it to one of those images, it does it to all of them, of course, because it’s what the software is designed to do.  So, yeah, just to answer your question there, yeah, the software does all of the editing for all of the images combined, so yeah, there’s that.  Yeah.  So that’s pretty much it.  If you guys have any questions, always feel free to drop us a line at support, and we’ll be happy to help you out.  All right, this is Michael, and thanks a lot.

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