Introduction: 360 Photo Kit for Smartphones

About: I wrote the "SpinPhoto" app to make some 360 photos and wanted to share it for others to use.

If you are interested in new smartphone photography accessories - this kit allows you to capture artistic animations of rotating objects. Its perfect for showing objects on social media.

The effect is best seen to be appreciated - see the first 5 seconds of the video (mobile users can see it here).

It uses a smartphone app that is totally free, and some inexpensive hardware.

Step 1: Gather the Equipment

You will need:

  1. A modern Android smartphone (like the Samsung S4, Nexus 5, HTC M8, or newer).
  2. Search for and download the "SpinPhoto" app from google play, (all one word).
  3. Any automatically rotating turntable (search for "Display turntable" on Amazon, small turntables cost £3, larger turntables big enough for people cost about £70).
  4. A mini tripod (search for "Smartphone tripod" on Amazon).
  5. Something to make a nice background such as white paper or a black flannel.

I wrote the smartphone app myself - if people like it I'll keep improving it.

Step 2: Capture Your Rotating Object

  1. Put your object on the center of the turntable.
  2. Measure the time taken for your object to rotate once, and enter this into the settings of the app.
  3. Use the tripod to hold your smartphone camera in a suitable position.
  4. Push the record button on your smartphone and wait for the progress bar to complete.

Note: You can use the "pinch gesture" on the touch screen to zoom in on small objects.

Step 3: Adjust Animation Settings

After capture you must wait for the video to be processed, there is a small icon in the notification bar to show that processing is in progress. When this icon turns to a "tick", look in the notifications bar and click on this icon to edit the video.

Click "Customise".

The menus in the app let you adjust settings such as the brightness and contrast (which can help to remove white or black backgrounds), and object rotation speed and acceleration.

To share on social media as a short video clip, click "save" on the Video menu.

Step 4: Share on Social Media

On the app's capture screen, click on the icon of the last captured image in the top left corner of the screen.

Locate your "SpinVideos" folder, your new video should be in that folder and you may share it via:

  • Facebook
  • e-mail
  • Google hangouts
  • and many more.

Step 5: Optional: Interactive 360 Photos

You may also save your animation as a sequence of still images that can be displayed in a website. This enables users to interact with the object to look around it.

The option to do this is in the "customise" menu called "Save for interactive web page". The still images and html demo code are saved onto the phone ready to be transferred to a web developer.

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