Many companies take static photos of their products in a traditional photo shoot format, by turning the product from the front, to the sides, to the back to capture those images. There’s also a range of product video styles, such as a host using the product and talking about it, such as Zappos, to a more cinematic approach that shows the product in use, such as LL Bean. Another trend is interactive 360 product videos, which feature the product on a solid background as it spins, and the user can click and drag the video to view different parts of the product.
A start-stop turntable is a wonderful tool to help take all of your static product images. It also sets you up with the content you’d need for a product video or 360 spin. Arqspin’s StartStop turntable is a 12 inch motorized table that can hold up to 150 pounds, and you can set it up in a couple of ways. First, you decide how many images you want to take along one entire revolution of the table, then, you determine how many seconds to wait between images. The turntable also comes with a remote control.
Here’s how to use this turntable to capture your product images and video.
Before you get started, decide what kind of camera you want to use. Most people think that to achieve high quality product photos, they need to use a DSLR. DSLR cameras are much more versatile than smartphone cameras, and they have interchangeable lenses. Because of their large lenses they can capture sharper images with a shallower depth of field. That being said, DSLRs are expensive and might be overkill for some product photography purposes. The benefit of using a smartphone is that many smartphone cameras nowadays come with high resolution sensors that can operate very well in properly lit settings, which takes us to our next point.
For a white start-stop table, set your studio up with a white background. You can use a large piece of white background paper, hang it from the wall, and let it curve as it comes forward to create a space to place your turntable. This curve, sometimes referred to as a sweep, will help eliminate extra shadows and hard lines in your photos, creating images that need very little or no post production work. Lighting is also a very important part of your setup. Time and time again people say they don’t know how to use their camera or they can’t capture beautiful photos, and usually this dilemma could have been fixed by proper lighting. A very good lighting kit is the Elinchrom D-Lite 4 Kit. It includes two lights, tripods, and attachable diffusion panel. A lighting kit like this can set the stage for high quality product photography with any camera.
Once your start-stop turntable is placed on your well lit, white surface, place your object on the center of the turntable. Sometimes people have a hard time finding the center, so if you need some help, use a ruler to find it. You can put a very light pencil mark on dead center if your products are big enough to cover it up anyways.
On your turntable, choose how many images of your product you want to take per revolution. With the Arqspin table in particular, you can choose to take 4, 6, 12, or up to 72 images. Then decide how long you want the turntable to pause between movements, from 1 second to 30 seconds. Adding a delay will allow you to use a photography setup with flash bulbs that may need a few seconds to recharge before they are ready to take the next photo.
If you’re using a DSLR, you can set its intervalometer with the same settings as the turntable in order to create a series of high-resolution images. For a smartphone, there’s apps available, like Lapse It, that would enable you to capture a set of images according to a schedule.
Using the photos
Once you’ve captured the product photos with the start-stop table, you’ll have a series of high resolution images that show all sides of the product. These images can be put directly on your product page to give shoppers a full view of what they might be buying.
Another way to use these images is to make a 360 degree video. This can be done in a couple of ways. One way is to import all the images, in order, into software like Adobe Photoshop, and create an animated GIF. Depending on how many images you took, the video will be smoother or choppier. For example, if you use 72 images the GIF will produce a smooth rotation of the object. If you use only 4 images, it will be much more choppy. A GIF can be integrated into product pages in a number of ways, and will play or loop when the shopper clicks on its thumbnail. One pitfall of the GIF is that it doesn’t offer great file compression. A GIF consisting of 72 images may easily become too large to be useful. Also, GIFs are not interactive.
Another exciting way to use the images captured with the start-stop turntable is to create interactive 360 experiences. This is what Arqspin does. You simply upload your photo set to Arqspin.com and the resulting “spin” can be embedded into any e-commerce website alongside traditional product photos. The viewer is optimized to load fast and provides intuitive and interactive controls. Visitors to your website will be able to click on the spin and drag it from side to side in order to study the product from all angles.
The benefit of having this type of rich interactive media on your e-commerce website is that it gives potential customers the ability to more fully view and interact with the product, making them more likely to buy. According to Google Shopping, life-like imagery of products attracts the right kind of shoppers, and gives them confidence to buy because they can more clearly see the features, design, and quality of your products. When it comes to 360 product videos, Google’s metrics have shown that consumers interact four times longer with 360 product videos than conventional product photos alone.
The National Retail Federation has also found that products with a 360 degree spin feature have conversion rates from 10 to 30-plus percent higher than products without the feature. They also report that studies have shown 360 degree spins also reduce return rates because customers can get a better view of the product they are purchasing.
To stay competitive in such a fast-pace online retail market, high quality product photos and videos have become the new norm. A start-stop turntable is an excellent tool to capture high quality product photos and help create impactful product videos.