360 degree Object Movies

360 degree object movies are a series of images of a revolving object joined together in a circle. Moving the computer mouse sideways and up and down makes the object spin around. Neat, eh?

The technology has been around since the early '90's within Apple Quicktime but was more of a curiosity than an oft-used technique. Again the problem was one of media delivery. So spinning object movies or QTVR (quicktime virtual reality - that's marketing man speak if ever I heard it) remained in the doldrums until the advent of online shopping and broadband. Object movies are now common for many websites, for example, clothing. Nowadays they are Flash-based which is a more common browser plugin format and faster to load.
Just as with tours you can have nodes and hot spots respectively. Animation with the movie is possible, see the Lego crane for an example.

Object movies are eminently suitable for products. We happen to have done several cars, most of which I can't find anymore.

My involvement began with the Apple QTVR Authoring Studio software. A mate who ran a advertising agency and I were really interested in the technology and puzzling over not only how to use it but also how to make money out of the knowledge and use of QTVR movies. We finally convinced Honda Cars to commission me to shoot their new super secret sports car, the S2000, for a CD to be distributed to their customers pre-ordering the car.
Having sold the idea to Honda the ad agency went completely overboard, and not content with just a spin around they wanted a fly-over the car as well. I had to work out how to do this as, whilst you can easily do it with video It just doesn't work like that in QTVR.
It was such a high risk venture for them that they wouldn't hire an expensive car studio so I ended up designing and building a massive moving set to shoot the car and utilising 1100 feet of scaffolding and huge white reflectors and silks all in an empty 3000 sq ft warehouse.
In at the deep end it took a week to think how to do it all and spec'ing it out to the film studio silk makers and scaffold hire company at Pinewood Studios. Arriving at the warehouse were a scaffold truck, a two- ton turntable on a truck, two VW van loads of kit, and a large Volvo full of kit and three of us. We spent a few days as riggers and lighting gaffers and gaffers then in great secrecy the car was trucked in.
Honda had flown the prototype car in for us as apparently there were only three in existence and these were being flown around the world to show the dealers in each county. Despite our wishes to the contrary it had been sprayed with seven coats of lacquer! It was like a bloody mirror!
We took four days to shoot it at six different heights, moving up in a parabolic arc over the car to preserve the perspective. Every change of level it took three hours to reposition the camera to match the previous level. every partial rotation (and there were a great many) meant moving the silks and reflectors but matching the previous lighting as well. I'm particularly proud of having spec'ed this all out, we used every bit of kit but wanted for nothing. Phew!
Working with an early digital SLR was fun but I'm very glad we were. Film would have been an even worse nightmare.
Finally we put the shots together and bloody hell, it worked! Which was good as the car had been flown out. So we went home tired but happy.
The result was shown to the Honda Europe heads at a Heathrow hotel and, I am told, their collective jaws dropped open. No one had done this fly over QTVR before and it was, for 1998, impressive. So, a UK, maybe world, first.

Just move the mouse around the photograph and enjoy.
These are in Quicktime movie format so you need that installed in your browser. If you haven't got it, download it here.

Click on the pictures on the right to see each movie.
They take a while to download and will open in a separate window.

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