360 Product Photography vs 360 Product Video

Understanding the Difference between 360 Product Photography & 360 Product Videos

At Iconasys, we specialize in do it yourself 360 Product Photography and 360 Product Video solutions. These solutions are software controlled and enable users of any skill level to create professional grade results in house fast and efficiently. We often hear the terms 360 Product Photography and 360 Product Video used interchangeably and while they both produce similar visuals – an all-encompassing 360 product spin view, they do vary quite differently from one another. This article discusses the difference between 360 Product Photography and 360 Product Video.

360 Product Photography vs 360 Product Video

Top Level Overview: 360 Product Photography vs Video

360 Product Photography – Capture a sequence of individual images at over a 360 rotation. The 360 product image set is then composed into a 360 Product View player file (available in multiple formats – most common being interactive HTML5). Benefits of 360 Product Photography Include:

  1. Interactive – Users are able to click and drag the product to view from any angle they desire
  2. Deep Zoom – Since we are using images, we can use high res. Images behind the scenes and provide viewers the ability to zoom up close
  3. Self host you own files – Don’t always need a 3rd party host for the output. Users can host their own 360 views on their own website servers
  4. Smaller file sizes – A 360 product view with 24 frames at 500 x 500 pixels is < 1MB
  5. Customizable – All 360 Product View features are customizable (ex. player buttons, spin rate, level of interactivity etc..)
  6. Better online shopping experience – Providing customers the ability to interact with the product images has proven to increase conversion rates, duration of stay on a page and decrease customer returns.

360 Product Video – A video recording of an object as it rotates in 360. Video format is based on the type of video format the users compatible camera shooting (typically .mov). Video files do not support user interactivity. They simply auto play. These can be hosted using any video host (ex. YouTube). Benefits of 360 Product Videos include:

  1. Compatibility: These can be easily hosted then embedded into websites and eCommerce platforms and marketplaces
  2. Quick: Capturing 360 Product Videos typically only takes seconds.

A Deep Dive into 360 Product Photography:

360 Product Photography vs 360 Product Video 02

360 Product Photography is the preferred choice among online retailers looking to better visually communicate products in the online space. It is a great option for eCommerce Product Photography and even recently, we have seen Amazon start integrating 360 Product Photography into their product pages.

The process of 360 Product Photography requires users to photograph a set of images of an object as the item rotates. Users can define the number of frames to capture per 360 image set – the more frames shot over the 360 view, the smoother the transition between frames when rotating. We often see users shoot between 36 – 90 frames per 360 rotation. Capturing the 360 image set is done by placing the object on a rotational platform, often a turntable or lazy susan and ensuring that each image captured over the 360 rotation is done at evenly spaced intervals. For example, if user wishes to shoot 36 frames, an image will need to be captured every 10-degrees of the rotation. Common Turntable Types include:

  • Motorized Photography Turntable – a 360 photography turntable that will spin at a smooth and consistent rate
  • Manual Photography Turntable – a 360 photography turntable that will be required to be positioned manually. These manual turntables often have guide markers around the circumference of the turntable to help with correct and consistent positioning (ex. Iconasys 18” Manual Product Photography Turntable)
  • Shutter Release Photography Turntable – a turntable with built in Shutter Release port. These turntables are a bit more advanced than standard motorized turntables as they have the ability to be pre-programmed to capture X images per 360 rotation and will often work in a turn, stop, snap workflow, with Snap being triggered by a Shutter Release command at each 360 shooting angle.
  • Computer Controlled Photography Turntable – These are the most advanced 360 product photography turntable option and will allow users to control turntable through a software application. They can trigger camera in form of Shutter Release or in more advanced cases, trigger camera wirelessly or via USB. We often see computer controlled turntables being the most professional and accurate option for 360 product photography due to the electronics, components and software application driving the turntable.

Iconasys offers a wide range of 360 Photography Turntables that fall under the Manual, Shutter Release and Computer Controlled Categories. Our Computer Controlled Photography Turntables support automated image capture via either the Iconasys 360 Turntable Controller Software or Shutter Stream 360 Software. For those who already have a photography turntable, Iconasys offers Shutter Stream 360 Product Photography Software which integrates with a long list of cameras and will automate the 360 product image set composition, capture, editing and 360 View Creation when working with any type of turntable.

A Deep Dive into 360 Product Video:

A 360 Product Video is simply a video record of a product as it rotates. To create these, it is fairly straight forward – users place an object on a rotating turntable then start/stop record after a full 360 rotation (or any degrees of rotation based on user preference) has been captured.

Equipment/Tools that are required to shoot a 360 Product Video include:

  1. Motorized Turntable: A motorized turntable with a consistent spin speed/rate is suggested for creating 360 product videos. Consistent speed will be helpful to ensure smooth rotating videos. Users might find some benefits to use a turntable with a variable speed control – in the case they wish to speed up or slow down the rotation speed of the product video.
  2. Camera: Camera device can be in the form of a mobile phone, professional grade camera (DSLR or Mirrorless) or a video camera. An important considerations for what camera is best for your 360 product videos requirements come down to product type/size. For example, if shooting jewelry, you will want a camera you can mount a Macro Lens to. Also for small objects that you need to get close up or shoot with ample depth of field, a camera with higher resolution video record (4K) will be beneficial.
  3. Tripod: You will require the camera position to be fixed when shooting a 360 product videos. A good quality tripod will help to ensure camera stabilization during the video record
  4. Lighting: When considering 360 Product Video quality, lighting is critical. It can often be more tricky than standard still product photography lighting as you need to ensure the object is well lit at every angle. To create professional quality 360 product videos, users want to consider consistent, High CRI continuous lighting. Iconasys offers many product photography lighting kits that will be perfect for video requirements as well
  5. Video Capture Software (optional): It can be beneficial to be able to trigger camera video record start/stop via an external device rather than physically starting/stopping record on camera (this would cause camera shake).
  6. Video Editing Software (optional): Should post production be required, a video editing software will be needed. There is multiple Video Editing software options available. These range from video editing applications (that can be found for free) to professional video editing suites. The best option for you will be based on the level of post-production required in your 360 Product Videos.

Iconasys offers a range of tools for the automated creation of 360 Product Videos that include Software and Turntables. Iconasys solutions also automate custom defined video capture.

360 Product Photography vs 360 Product Video: Image Capture

There are some big advantages to 360 Product Photography over Video when it comes to the Image/Video Capture process. These benefits include:

  1. Image Resolution: The majority of cameras record videos at standard HD resolution. That is 1920 x 1080 pixels. This resolution, especially in the case the product being shot doesn’t fill the entire frame requiring crop (ex. moving camera back from subject to obtain greater depth of field).
  2. Camera Settings Control: In addition to higher resolutions, you will have more control over camera settings to shoot correct exposure. These settings include for example:
    1. Using a slower Shutter Speed (slower than 1/30 sec.) which is required if using a higher aperture value
    2. Lower ISO value (ex. always shoot at lowest ISO value to get best quality results)
    3. Higher Aperture to obtain greater depth of field
  3. Image Quality: Based on factors listed above, users can expect better quality images when shooting still frames vs. video
  4. Focus Stacking: Shooting small objects that require a Macro Lens? You will likely have a hard time getting your product fully in focus from front to back? 360 product photography focus stacking is an option for those who require clear, in focus 360 product images.
  5. File Size: Video will capture on average about 30 fps (frames per second).
  6. Stop Motion: 360 Product Photography allows users to add additional product movement in between frame capture (see 360 example)

360 Product Photography vs 360 Product Video: Editing

The editing process is a common ‘next step’ after capturing either 360 product photography and 360 product videos. While this can be a tedious and time consuming process, it doesn’t have to be as there is options for both video editing and batch 360 product image editing that can really streamline processes. Now saying that, sometimes more advanced editing is required which can be near impossible for 360 Product Videos. Think of an example of a scratch on the pair of sunglasses you have just shot. With individual product images, this can be cleaned up very easily in seconds however with 360 product video, it would require a very skilled video editor hours to fix this. Editing still images in a 360 product image set will be faster, easier and support more editing features/functionality vs. video editing (ex. automated background removal, achieving pure white backgrounds etc…)

360 Product Photography vs 360 Product Video: Composition

There is likely no need for any sort of 360 Product Video composition as this is already in a player file that can be easily uploaded to any video sharing site (ex. YouTube) or directly embedded in social media channels and websites. A drawback here is, if self-hosting, 360 Product Videos can get very heavy in file size and can often bog down sites. In the chance you wish to shoot 360 product videos, we do suggest using a 3rd party video host.

For 360 product photography, the 360 image set needs to be composed into the 360 player file. There is multiple options available for 360 Product View composition (the most popular being this 360 Product View Creator Software) that will support various 360 view formats. Common 360 product view formats include:

  1. Interactive HTML5
  2. 360 Animated GIF
  3. Standard MP4 Video

The most popular option is the interactive HTML5 as it supports user interaction (click and drag, deep zoom, interactive hotspots, additional 360 product view features etc..). The Iconasys 360 View Creator supports all format options listed above and also includes an interactive MP4 option that has the same features & functionality as the HTML5 output however compresses the file size by about 70% – meaning faster 360 product view load times.

These 360 Product Views after customizing and composition are then output and will need to be hosted (self host or use 3rd party such as the 360 Stream Server from Iconasys) and/or embedded into websites for customer viewing.

360 Product Photography vs 360 Product Video: Conclusion

Both 360 Product Photography and 360 Product Videos offer a better way to communicate visually in the online space. While the more popular option is 360 Product Photography – due to the advanced level of viewing and interaction provided – these can take more time to create (provided no advanced video editing is required on 360 product videos). Image quality & resolution also will prove to be better when shooting a set of still images in 360 product photography vs. video. Saying that, the nice thing about 360 product videos is the wide availability of video hosting sites and ease of integration into websites and eCommerce marketplaces.

About Iconasys

Iconasys is a leading provider of professional grade still and 360 Product Photography/Video solutions. Since launch in 2014, Iconasys has gained the trust of over 7,000 customers globally including some of the worlds biggest brands (Apple, Nike, Microsoft, Adidas, Chanel), retailers (Amazon, Wal-Mart, Macy’s) and professional photographers. Our solutions range from stand alone product photography software to complete 360 Product Imaging Solutions that include software, turntable and lighting. All Iconasys solutions are designed for users of any skill level and will make high quality image/video production fast and efficient.

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