Warehouse Product Photography W/ Camera Rig

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Posted in TechnologyPhotography

Introduction: Warehouse Product Photography W/ Camera Rig

So I'm unsure if this will help or if anyone can give advise based on their experience. I work for an asset management company that re-markets used/refurbished electronics equipment. One of the many issues we've had has been the lack of resources on improving our product photography. Most of the equipment I've researched is not intended for our conditions and the equipment is super out of reach for us. I decided to take this project on as I do have a little experience with product photography. I felt it was a great time to educate myself and my team in the process. My team and I are always looking for a way to improve the process as it's part of a Kazien culture we are trying to build.

Our challenges:

  • Limited space
  • Must be in our warehouse as it's part of a process
  • Reducing photography and editing time
  • Control lighting
  • Must be on wheels as we change the floor layout.

Goal:

  • Increase productivity
  • Have a person take shoots with little to no understanding of the photographing process.
  • Reduce Editing time

So with the background set lets start with my unorthodox approach to this build.

Step 1: Material

With our limited resources I started dreaming up on how to construct a photo booth. As part of the current photo area I had used a network rack post we had in our warehouse. I assembled this by using to network post back to back. I would hang a workshop fluorescent lighting fixture on one post and on the other I taped wax paper to diffuse the light. I had two posts on each side and another workshop light hanging from the top with more wax paper, it wasn't pretty but it did the job.

Lighting

I started researching the lighting and I decided to use LED lights as it's cheap, took a small footprint and I could easily use a computer power supply to power all the lights.

Frame

At the time I was really big into woodworking and I thought of making the frame out of wood. After letting the idea soak in my mind I started realizing on how much wood I would need and how heavy it would be. I've been wanting to get into metal work but if I did my girl would kill me, so after talking to a co-worker they suggested using the network post as it would be lighter. I agreed with them and I had to start thinking how to configure it out.

Camera Rig

One of the main reason for constructing this project was to fix a issue with our photos. When I looked at a computer or laptop category I notice that all of our photo a tilt to them which was annoying and wasn't professional. I figure I hand my team a tripod but they felt it got in the way and weren't using it, it obviously slowed the process which is not what we want. My thought around this, is to create a overhead camera rig that can easily place the camera to the side. We'll place the product on a lazy susan and add a clickers to the camera to free up the photographers hands. We have to figure a way to stop the slider to make sure the product and the camera are centered. The idea is to quickly place the product set the camera in place press the clicker on one hand and on the other rotate the product on the lazy susan.

Step 2: The Build

Frame

I'll be using the metal network post on the sides and top, it would look like a box. The network frames are 7ft tall and 21" wide; the width wasn't cutting it and I decided to make it 30" wide. The frame would be 84" tall and 84" wide and 30" in depth. If figured the frame would be to light and I decided to use wood for the base, I cut the wood and router the wood to slide on the metal frame. This would weight down the frame; I used the same idea for the corner joints on the frame. The frame had screw holes so it was prefect to screw the lights to.

Lighting

I needed to figure out how to place the LED and I found acrylic plastic sheets that slide between the grooves of the network post. I laid out the LED lights. (I don't know much about electricity so thanks to my co-workers they were able to give me a better understanding about it.) I laid out all the LED's and had a co-worker wire it together just to make sure everything was done right. All the lights are 5000K and they cost about $20 which took the bulk of the budget.

I added light behind our table at the bottom of the screen to give the effect of " continues white background" I also connected it to our power supply.

Background

We use a white background in our photos and we happen to have 6 projection screens attached to a frame. The screens were attached to the frame with buttons so I toke one frame and removed all the screens off just in case the screen needs to be replaced later on. The projection frame also helped square the frame.

Camera Rig

The linear ball bearing

The camera arm, I've been trying to figure out a way to make the camera arm without spend any cash. I found a video about ARTICULATED MAGNETIC CAMERA MOUNT . I have the carbon fiber tubes and the magnetic even though I may not need it. I would only have to purchase the balls and the housing for the balls.

Step 3: Still a Working Progress

We purchased nylon fabric on amazon for $12 and cut it to size. I attached the fabric using double sided tape; it work better than expected.

Once we started taking test photo shoots we noticing a few issues:

  • Photo Yellowing due to warehouse lighting
  • Hard shadows from warehouse lighting
  • Table to screen shadows - we added lighting under the table hitting the screen to fix the shadows

The warehouse light which was another color temperature was affecting the shoot. I attached a photo of the shoot and you can see the yellowing of the warehouse light as well as the hard shadows.

I've been wanting to work with a stepper motors which we have in the warehouse so I decided to create a "motor extension piece". This will be to extend a piece of fabric or something to block the warehouse lighting from coming into the photo-booth. The extension would extend about 30", this would help control the filtration of the warehouse lighting. I have a feeling I would have to adjust the sides of the extension, if anyone has any ideas it would be helpful.

To-do list:

  • Camera rig
  • Extended roof
  • HDMI monitor for camera
  • Photo booth finishes

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