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Studio stills and 360 rotations

Studio Stills and 360 Rotations

As we become experts in the areas of studio product photography, it is natural that these skills can be adapted so we can shoot both studio stills and 360 rotations in order to make them look the same. For our client Bowers and Wilkins, this was extremely important.

Consistency and Attention to Detail

An opportunity to do just this popped up when we were working on the massive Bowers and Wilkins 800 D4 speaker launch. To fulfil this studio photography brief we poured hours of work into ensuring that not only the web product shots had consistency, but the beauty shots were as technical, creative and stunning as we could muster! Consistency for us is paying attention to the really small details of the product and ensuring that we are not varying how we shoot or retouch the final images. As part of doing diligence to this area of focus we need to look back and check how we did things before.

Should any client ever want to place images side by side that were shot at different times, this safety process of cross-referencing shoots will be of huge importance to them. I see this as part of what I do, how I pay attention.

Good Working Practices

It is not just the photography itself that needed attention. When a product weighs close to 90Kilo’s and it needs to be raised off the floor safely, there has to be a method. In my own studio we could experiment with how best to support the speaker for shooting. This means we examine how to get the speaker on and off the set whilst keeping the majority of the set intact so we can reproduce the same lighting for the next speaker. Needless to say, we got very good at packing and unpacking, which was fun in itself. (See the BTS video!)

Transferring Photography skills to 360 Film Production

In my view, how we light a still is how we light the moving image. I understand that sometimes approaches need to be adapted so that a product can be shot without the need for post-production and visual effects. I have seen first-hand how easy it is to get a still image to work using photoshopped elements, yet when turning to the film production this same approach falls down very quickly.

How I deal with this is to take the essence of the lighting set up for the stills, understand what is the most important reason the product looks like it does, then try to light the moving set to get as close to this as I can. I may need to give ground, to allow a little wriggle room. I start with understanding the camera movement and what is going to be seen in set and any reflections. Then I devise the most appropriate lighting rig that will best deal with that. Always I look to maximise the product quality to match my stills. This is my way, this is where I can add value.

360 Rotations

A gloss black 800 speaker spinning in a 360 loop will see absolutely everything in the studio. This is the kind of job I love and hate at the same time! It is a big challenge to get clear on where highlights need to be, and then how to remove everything else. My experience of shooting cars though has placed me in good stead to understand this and I have the patience to get it right.

The 360 video spin arounds of all the 800 speaker products were filmed in a big hire studio. There was a need to have access to a large ceiling light and a big shooting space.  This was necessary to keep all the reflections clean and under our control. I can come up with all sorts of ways of dealing with speakers in my studio, but we get back to the need of shooting for real when it involves film.

Everything is Possible

I laugh when I find myself saying everything is possible. Of course, this physically is not true! However, when approaching shooting studio stills and 360 rotations most things are possible! I need to apply my technical skills, I need to be cautious yet push boundaries and I need to have extreme focus and some great music keeping me jumping around!

Essentially, we can achieve most things we need with good planning.

If you like great looking audio tech products, have a look at  Bowers and Wilkins.

I am sure you want your products to look great too, so let’s chat about how we can make that happen.