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  • D-26 Turntable for 360 Product Photography by VIVAT. Get 20% Off Until July 31

    We rarely review third-party 360 product photography hardware, mainly because WebRotate 360 solutions for 360 product photography so far have been hardware agnostic. Today though we feel obliged to introduce you to VIVAT's turntables. VIVAT is a small manufacturer located in Ukraine, an Eastern European country that now fights for survival. And while we support efforts there by other means, being able to help a company that works in the same space in this part of the world is important today.

    So without further ado, let's see what VIVAT has to offer, starting with their smaller D-26 table.

    To start with, the table was designed from grounds up and specifically for 360 product photography, unlike some gimmicks we see out there with rebranded display stands and alike. The team at VIVAT didn't start working on the product out of the blue either. They are professional photographers who shot plenty of 360 product photography before embarking on the product development. Not unlike truly yours.

    D-26 is rated for weights up to 44lbs (20kg), which is sufficient for most small object photography be it jewelry, small electronics, footwear and such. If you are a professional product photographer, that's enough to get started. Note that even though the base platform is just 26cm (10.2") in diameter, you can order an expansion platform and some are 60cm (23.6"), so you can deal with some bulky items too. AC input can be either 110v or 220v.

    The table comes with a camera sync cable and you get a free adapter based on your camera model that you chose during checkout. 

    D-26 can be operated in 3 modes: photo, video and manual, where photo is an automated stop-motion 360 product photography, video is a non-stop 360 video shooting, and manual is where you can control everything using provided features. In terms of automation, it's pretty much an industry standard and is something we see in the top of the line tables by other manufacturers.

    There are a couple of things we really appreciate in the design of D-26:

    IR remote and on-board control

    We have been shooting commercial 360 product photography non-stop for many years until 2016, and I can't tell you how many times we wanted to get a hand-held remote like this in our tables that were three times more expensive (we're taking 2009 prices).

    Why? For quality work, you can't just place a product on a turntable, click a button on your computer and wait for great results while specialized computer software works its magic, triggering camera and spinning the platform. Rarely happens. Things reflect differently as it spins, products shift and wobble, etc., so you have to really work your setup and that means running back and forth all the time between the table and wherever your computer is tethered. So if you can control everything via a remote or right there at the table using VIVAT's LED screen, that's a big plus. Granted you would still want to wire your camera to some large TV screen nearby so you can also review images as things progress.

    Tripod mount at the base

    This is very handy and is something we would be quite happy with in our own studio as well. Having the table mounted at a level that doesn't require constant bending is priceless.

    But there's more. When advising our clients on shooting 360 product photography, we often have to warn them upfront that it's actually rare that you can simply throw a product on a table. There's all sorts of rigging that is often involved in keeping products upright and also it's not uncommon that you have to shoot products mounted upside down and the base tripod mount can really help with this (note that it's an extra option that you would need to select during checkout).

    See how we actually had to drill our turntable on one project to be able to hang it upside down, or see this recent guide on 360 product photography by Jose Soriano with a similar example.


    D-26's extra 12v power input gives you the ability to shoot pretty much anywhere by powering the table via a power bank and this means lots of flexibility. While you probably have an AC outlet in your studio and an extension cable as needed, sometimes you may need to travel to a client or even shoot outside, and the 12v input can be a game changer. We have been shooting on location on a few occasions (example) and finding an AC outlet was not always easy.

    Not to mention, D-26 comes with an over the shoulder carrying case which is a nice touch by VIVAT.


    While we haven't used D-26 ourselves yet, at $349 it seems to be an excellent deal if not just for your on-site projects, if you already have something similar.

    VIVAT is running a 20% promotion on D-26 and D-70 which is live until July 31st. Use code webrotate-20 at checkout to apply the discount. Plus you get 20% off on WebRotate 360 Product Viewer, if you get both.

  • How to Convert a 360 Video into Interactive 360 Product View

    There are multiple ways to produce imagery for 360 product views:

    1. Professional 360 product photography using still images.

    This usually involves a specialized 360 product photography turntable with a stop-motion action, a camera, and turntable control software that runs either on desktop or some mobile device that synchronizes the turntable motion with camera trigger. This is how most of the e-commerce 360 product photography you see everywhere is produced. Note that you don't always need a turntable as other options exist (e.g., "walk-around" 360 object photography, 360-degree camera array).

    2. 360 product photography using video recording.

    This is where instead of capturing multiple still images one by one, we record a video of an object as it spins on a turntable or by simply walking around our subject. The latter is how auto dealerships often produce 360 product views of their cars.

    3. 3D product modeling and rendering.

    Here a skillful 3D designer creates a photo-realistic representation of an object in 3D design software by assembling a 3D product model from a number of polygons, meshes, textures, materials, etc. Once a 3D model is created, it's rendered as a sequence of 360-degree images by animating the rotation of a virtual camera or the object itself. Here's one such example: 360 product view in Blender. It's also one of the services we offer at WebRotate 360 and it's gaining popularity as more and more companies start their product design by first creating quality models of their products in 3D.

    4. 3D object scanning or Photogrammetry.

    This method usually involves some combination of the first three options. The key here is that there's a specialized equipment that can scan a product using multiple cameras and/or a laser and then a combination of "scanned" 3D data and photographic images is processed further in 3D software to produce a photo-realistic 3D model of an object. The model can be then rendered as a set of images and loaded into WebRotate 360 Product Viewer. This option is very time consuming and produces mixed results. We see this mostly used for preserving historical artifacts.

    Let's talk about 360 product photography using video recording, i.e option #2.

    The major benefit of 360 product videos is the speed of image production as it's much faster to record a video vs waiting for the turntable to finish its stop-motion action as discussed in #1. There are also lower hardware requirements as you don't need a specialized turntable and can get a way with a cheap motorized display stand (there's a bunch on eBay). This comes at the cost of image quality as the imagery in the video is not as sharp as with still photography in #1. Still, it's a very popular option with our users.

    One of the popular questions we get here is how one can take a 360-degree video of a product and make it an interactive 360 product view they can integrate online. Even today we're gearing up to help a jewelry client who has an existing catalog of 7000 videos of their products in 360 degrees and they want to make it interactive!

    The answer is that we need to extract still images from the video first. For this exercise we will use this 360-degree product video of a diamond. It's 43 seconds long and was recorded in 4K. The result of the video conversion will look like this:

    Demo video to 360 product view conversion (120 images).

    1 There are different software options for extracting individual image frames from videos (example for macOS). For advanced options, we recommend FFmpeg that you can download for free here for either Mac, Windows or Linux. Let's download Windows version and extract it to our desktop.

    Download free FFmpeg tool for your OS.

    2 We will also download VLC video player as it works everywhere too and will allow us to quickly note the timestamps in the video for the interval with a complete 360 spin.

    Download free VLC player to track timestamps.

    3 Let's fire up VLC with our video and note that the start of our spin is at 0 seconds and the end is somewhere at 38 seconds with a slight overlap to give us some flexibility to synchronize the sequence once it's loaded into WebRotate 360 software.

    To prepare for the next step, we also need to agree on the number of images that our interactive 360 product spin will be comprised of. For jewellery, there's a tendency to go with a higher number of images per 360 view to get that smooth spin even at the expense of slower loading times and longer production times. And so for our demo diamond we chose to go with 120 images which means we need to extract about 3.16 images per second (i.e 120 / 38).

    Demo 360 video makes a full loop at 38 sec.

    4 Now we can run FFmpeg by pasting this command in cmd or PowerShell on Windows (or Terminal on macOS), where --ss is the extraction start time, --to is the end time where we want the extraction to stop, and fps is the number of frames per second to extract. We also tell it where the video is on our hard-drive and where we want the images to get extracted, making sure to extract in PNG format to not lose any quality. For this exercise, the individual images will be named according to this format "image-%04d.png" (i.e., image-0001.png, image-0002.png, etc).

    C:\Users\Me\Desktop\ffmpeg.exe -ss 00:00:00 -to 00:00:38 -i C:\Users\Me\Desktop\ -vf "fps=3.16" C:\Users\Me\Desktop\out\image-%04d.png

    5 Once images are extracted, we create a new project in WebRotate 360 SpotEditor and possibly remove a couple of odd frames at the end or beginning of the sequence that are overlapping.

    Remove any overlapping 360 images.

    6 After necessary edits are applied to viewer dimensions, image crop, drag speed & direction, etc, we can publish the project to test locally. As our input images were PNGs, it's important to select JPG format on the Publish form to ensure our images are compressed and lightweight.

    Publish 360 product view to your hard-drive and test.

    7 Once we are happy with the local preview, we can upload it online using PixRiot to give us the final URL or embed code we can share or integrate elsewhere using WebRotate 360 Product Viewer plugins or APIs (see user guide).

    Upload to WebRotate's PixRiot for fast delivery.
  • Industrial 360 Product Photography. Shooting Forklift Trucks in 360 Degrees by Klaes Image Productions

    Hello Everyone! This is Bill Klaes of Klaes Image Productions in Seymour, Indiana. We specialize in video production and commercial photography. Here's my short report on one of the projects I have been recently involved with.

    I needed to shoot a Toyota Forklift to be a WebRotate 360 presentations. The large fork truck required a 50’ camera-to-truck distance to be shot with a standard lens. Before the truck was driven in, a weighted C-stand was put in the center of the room and a 50’ rope was attached. Using a piece of chalk on the other end, a 100’ diameter circle was drawn on the floor. A long piece of 1” flexible PVC pipe was taped on the chalk line. A piece of tape was placed at each shot location.

    You'll have to do your own math to determine the chord length, based on the diameter and number of shots you want to make the 360 product view. There are on-line calculators to get through the high school geometry problem. But, if you want 36 shots, there will be 36 equally spaced pieces of tape at 10-degree angles, each piece of tape secures the PVC circular track and indicates when to make each exposure.

    Note the grooved wheels sitting on the blue pipe. They are hard rubber, 4" diameter, 1.5" wide, with a groove for 1" pipe.

    Two grooved wheels were purchased off Amazon and replaced 2 wheels on my tripod spreader. The 2 grooved wheels go on the circular track. The third tripod wheel goes inside the track. Each time the lead wheel hits a tape mark, a shot is taken. Keep pushing and rolling and clicking for 36 shots.

    The Nikon was tethered to a laptop on a cart, which traveled around the truck with the tripod, giving a preview of each shot.

    Even on the smooth concrete floor, the alignment of the 36 shots would be unacceptable for smooth rotation in WebRotate 360 Product Viewer.

    You may get a better view of the alignment rod with the ball in the first image of the post.

    So again, a low-tech alignment solution. A 2 ft. rod was pushed into a bright yellow tennis ball. Using a cardellini clamp and c-stand knuckle, the rod was attached to the fork truck’s overhead guard at the physical center (front to back, side to side). The rod is long enough to elevate the ball to make it visible in all 36 shots.

    In Photoshop, the 36 files were loaded into layers. Using gridlines, the tennis ball on each layer was aligned to a common point. The image was rotated if the rod was not straight up and down. The rods on each shot were also aligned on top of each other.

    The truck had to be cut out in Photoshop, so a roll of seamless white paper was hung between 2 light stands on wheels. It traveled behind the truck to facilitate cutting out. It also helped cut the clamps under the tennis ball away from the overhead guard.

    All layers have been aligned via Photoshop guides using the rod with the ball, which was then removed along with the background.

    The resulting 360 spin is remarkably smooth, and my Toyota guy is very pleased!

    Update [Jun 13, 2022]: While I can't share a final 360 product spin for the exact truck in the images, here's a low-resolution preview of another forklift from the same project that was photographed and processed using the same workflow:

    Quick low-res 360 view from one of the shoots using the same setup.

    By the way, before getting onto the real project I did a few tests, starting with this simulated run using a toy forklift which helped securing this project with Toyota, consisting of 70 forklift trucks:

    PS: every minute detail couldn't be covered in my short report but I'm happy to answer any individual questions!

  • Infinity Cove Studio for 360 Degree Car Photography

    Studio Owner: TRU Veiculos Ltda. Porto Alegre - RS, Brazil (Ezequiel Piacini - cofounder, Mario Guilherme Mercado - cofounder)

    It's not very often that we get a chance to see our users getting involved in massive 360 product photography projects like the one we discussed today with Jose Carlos Ramalho of ZAER Imagens Aereas located in Joinville, Southern Brazil. To see examples of his studio work, including WebRotate 360 views of cars that were shot in the cove, head out to ZAER's impressive portfolio page.

    Here's a brief summary of what Jose had to share:

    What would you like to tell us about your business?

    We started ZAER Imagens Aereas in 2014 with the goal to provide our clients with high quality still and interactive real estate photography (received Google Trust Agency Certification a couple of years ago). We have been expanding our services into aerial imaging, interactive 360 car views and small 360 product photography.

    What were the high-level requirements for the 360 car photography project?

    In August 2018 we were hired to advise our client TRU Veículos Ltda located in the city of Porto Alegre (the State of Rio Grande do Sul) on the construction of a 360 car photography studio with very specific requirements to photograph exterior and interior of vehicles in 360 degrees.

    The studio was to be constructed in the space of 8 x 8 meters and a minimum height of 4 meters. The objective was to photograph cars of various sizes including sedans, SUVs, and pickups. It is important to note that it's a very innovative, pioneering project in South America for this purpose.

    How long did it take to build the infinite cove studio?

    All in all it took about nine months from the moment we were contacted by the client to the final hand-over. We did a lots of research and testing before starting on the construction. By the way, the studio was built on client's premises so we also did all the knowledge transfer for their operations team to be able to shoot cars in 360 on their own. It was quite an experience! I have been in photography business for 30 years and shot a few 360 product views but there was still quite a lot to learn on this project.

    Was the turntable custom-designed for this project?

    Yes, it was designed for this specific studio and was built by a contractor. To give you an idea, the turntable is 4500mm in diameter and can safely withstand up to 4 tons of load. It's designed to stop at 10-degree increments and trigger the camera after 3 seconds of each stop.

    Anything you can tell us about your photo equipment for this project?

    It's relatively low-key.. here's the list of the main components:

    • Sony a6000 for both interior and external photography
    • Sony 16-50mm for exterior and Samyang 7.5mm fisheye for interior
    • Customized horizontal arm to allow centering the camera between the front seats
    • Automated rotor for spinning the arm at 90-degree increments inside a car
    • Studio lighting has forty LED tube bulbs 2400mm / 6000K that are installed about one meter above the diffuser tent made of nylon fabric .
    How fast can you shoot a 360 view of a car and how many images per spin do you use?

    For exterior its 36 images total and we can shoot a car in under 8 minutes.

    Anything else you can tell us about the camera and workflow for the interior views?

    So as I said it's the same camera we use for the interior shorts which is Sony a6000. The lens is Samyang 7.5mm with Nodal Ninja adapter plus the rotor that is controlled from an app. The system shoots four images in RAW at 90 degrees intervals with the bracketing set at -2, 0, +2. The images are then downloaded using Adobe LightRoom where they are reviewed and exported in TIFF. We use PTGui Pro to transform the images into an equirectangular spherical image which we then transfer to Photoshop for small fixes and touch-up. The last step is publishing an interactive 360 interior view using Panotour Pro.

    Many thanks to WebRotate 360 for also being part of this project!

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