360 photography for African American History Museum

Here’s an another interesting find – a gallery of studio images from the hemispherical 3D photo-shoot by Almont Green at the museum of African American History in Boston. Just click on the image above to see all of the awesome details at his improvised studio. You see, the hemispherical multi-row photography is a much trickier process than our standard 360 degree spins that you would usually see on the ecommerce websites. And shooting multi-row photography for a major museum is even more challenging since the items cannot be removed from the site and the setup has to be built right there at the museum. Not to mention the responsibility of having to move these items back and forth..

In this great example, Almont approached the problem by building his custom photo rig with multiple cameras attached to a curvy poll as well as a manual 360-degree turntable. The system captures what we think is 8 rows of 360 degree images (by the number of attached cameras) and each row seems to be composed of 36 images total, judging by the manual markings on the custom made turntable that you see in some of the photos.

So each individual camera is fixed at its precise angle that was calibrated using the center of the turntable and the hanging weight. Then all of the cameras are triggered (hopefully at once) to capture 8 rows of images for each step of the turntable. The rig looks very light and well-built and seems quite portable. I’m still wondering whether the continuous lights used hot halogen bulbs or the cool daylight ones as there’s a lot of them there and and it can make the work quite uncomfortable if it’s the hot bulbs.

Also note how Almont arranged the two rows of lights on each stand where one row just shoots straight at the background and the other lights up the object – this is a really portable setup unlike what we used here for shooting on location with a bunch of soft boxes which is a pain!

All in all this is a masterful execution. The only thing we could recommend would be automating the manual rotation with one of professional robotic 360 photography turntables as they can save a lot of time even with the nice assembly that Almont had in this setup.