360° rotation photography – Under lit turn-table!

360° rotation photography – Under lit turn-table!

So … you think that 360° rotation photography is cool … but too much work?
Let’s see if we can find a shortcut!
Problems we have to overcome: how to rotate the products and how to light them?

Usual “remedies” – place them on a turn table in a light box and light them up!

Two drawbacks – large light boxes are expensive, not so comfortable to work with because you have access only from one side and … you will have to do a lot of pen-work in order to cut-out the objects and have them on a pure white background because even with the best lighting setups you will still have shadows just under or around the product.

The solution that I had to devise is … simple. Underlit turn-table!

List of things needed:

A sturdy swivel plate “lazy Mary”
4 Adjustable furniture legs
Plywood
Large white plastic pot (or you can paint it white later on) (50+cm in diameter)
Multilayered pipe
Clear Plexiglass
Thin white plastic (Starflex Backlit pvc)

First –  the turn table: Cut out 2 circular pieces of plywood one slightly smaller than the other (mine are 50cm and 40 cm)
Being a 360 composite you will need to think about how many frames you will have to get in order to meet your client’s requirements :) More frames will give you a smoother motion but will increase the size of the file and it will take more time to finish.
I usually choose between 12, 24 or 36 frames so, if these numbers will be OK for you as well, divide the diameter of the big plywood piece by 12, 24, 36 and with a marker mark the divisions using different colors/shapes.
All you’ll have to do later on will be to rotate manualy to the desired markings using the point of reference inserted in the static, smaller plywood.

Drill a hole in the small piece. Sandwish them together on the swivel plate – you attach the plate first to the small plywood and using the drilled hole you can screw the bigger plywood on the other side. (you will know what I mean when you’ll have the 2 pieces in front of you :D
Attach the furniture legs and on a side of the little plywood attach a “reference point”.

You now have a turn table strong enough to hold a human model on it! :)

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In the middle of the turn table insert nut for wood.

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Cut the plexiglass just a bit bigger than the diameter of the plastic pot. Cut the Starflex Backlit material to cover the Plexiglas.

Cut out a large hole in the side of the pot and a small one on the bottom – the big one will help you change the intensity of your strobe inside without the need to remove the plexiglass cover and the small one will allow you to insert the power supply for the strobe.
Attach the pot to the turn table using the nut.

The strobe inside can be positioned very easily using some multilayered pipe (plastic pipe with metal insertions). Because they are very rigid but still malleable and there is a size that fits perfectly in the strobe’s mounting hole, I find no reason to buy expensive flex arms anymore! :D … And another tip … if you can live with a steel pipe in your studio … there is no need to buy boom arms as well – there is a size that fits in the strobes as well! :D

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And … voila … you have a under-lit turning table for your 360° rotation photography that can be used for normal underlit shoots as well! :)

Place it in the light box I described in my previous post, cover as much as you need, place your strobes around and … your life is much easier now! :)

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Enjoy! :)

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