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Interview: using the 360° media in the fashion industry by Terry Gates

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Highly acclaimed fashion / beauty photographer Terry Gates uses image stitching technologies to create mind-blowing 360° campaigns for prestigious brands such as L’Oréal Matrix, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Sass and bide. Terry granted us an exclusive interview to talk about his work and share his view about immersive media:

Hi Terry, can you introduce yourself and your work?
Hey, I’m an Australian photographer based in New York. I’ve been working in the fashion/ beauty industry for the past 13 years. The last 5 years or so I have been translating that work into the 360 degree space. You can see my work at www.terrygatesstudio.com.
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Using image-stitching technology in the fashion industry is quite unusual, how did you get that idea?
It was when panorama apps first started showing up on mobile phones. I was messing around with Microsoft’s Photosynth, it was amazing, you could just keep adding photos together until you covered the whole 360 degree space. I know most phones have that as a default now, but back in 2012 it wasn’t that common. I was instantly obsessed. This led me to research and experiment in finding the the best way I could adapt it to my fashion related work.
Who are your customers and what are your arguments when you sell them a 360° campaign instead of a more traditional photo session?
I have created a series of campaigns for L’Oréal Matrix, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Sass and bide and an editorial for Madame Figaro (they printed an extracted still image on the cover and 12 pages in the magazine.)
There are multiple benefits for a campaign of this nature. I feel like it has a lot more to offer than a standard campaign that a client or consumer is used to seeing. For example, you can extract the still photos from the 360 and print them like a regular still campaign. If you need higher quality you can also shoot stills separately at the same time. You get a web/mobile experience.
Additional options also include linking directly to products, building an immersive world around the brand’s story and making video and still content for social media.
Can you tell us more about your last project?
My latest project was a Campaign for Saks Fifth Ave, called the ‘Grand Showcase’ and featured 4 different models wearing outfits from 17 different designer’s latest collections. Each version of the model was linked to a page where you could purchase the designer’s ensemble. The Campaign was featured on their website and as part of their mail-out catalogue, two 180 degree images were used in an accordion style fold out.

You have created a 360° video with a traditional camera by stitching videos shot at different times. Can you give us more details about your workflow?
I would say that the workflow is very similar to the one for shooting stills, the only difference is that it’s stitched with a combination of Autopano Video and Autopano Giga instead of Autopano Giga alone. I will usually shoot a still version and a video version with the exact same set up and just switch between video and still mode on the DSLR.
I import the videos into Autopano Video, stitch them and edit the stitch with Autopano Giga. I treat the still version as an entirely separate project , doing it’s own stitch in Autopano Giga. For this project the shot of the downwards/floor was handheld (not a great idea for video) and caused some problems. I used the still frame that Autopano Video creates for stitching and I converted it to a video using photoshop. I imported the new video and started over with a fresh Autopano Video project. From Autopano Video I rendered the video to a prores .mov file.
Next I worked on the still version. I wanted to make a color treatment that I could use on both still and video to keep them consistent, this led me to create a 3D color cube (you can learn more about them and download a couple for free on my Gumroad page). Using adobe media encoder I added the .cube to the video and downsized to 4k. This gave me a high res graded mp4 which I put into handbrake to further encode. Handbrake had some extra encoding options that weren’t available in Adobe’s Encoder. From there I put the finished video into Panotour Pro, built the files and uploaded them to my web server. Here’s the finished version:

What do you think about Autopano Video? Was it easy to stitch together videos shot at different times?
This was my first time using Autopano Video 3 and I found it really easy and intuitive to use after previously working with all the other Kolor tools. It’s actually more precise using a single camera as you don’t have much parallax to deal with. The main problem with not shooting all videos/stills at the same time is consistency.The projects I shot with Matrix have had around 50 people on set. So if you are shooting over a long period of time you need to keep everything as consistent as possible. Furniture usually gets moved unintentionally, lighting changes, etc… So you want to keep everything as controlled and consistent as possible. A good post always comes in handy too. The light actually changed quite a bit in one of the source videos for this project as a cloud passed. Autopano Video / Autopano Giga exposure/color tools helped to even this out a great deal. I was really impressed with Autopano Video 3 and can’t wait to keep using it.
How do you think the 360° industry will evolve in the upcoming years?
I think immersion will become more and more common. I’m really excited about the overlap of 360 with VR/AR that I have been experimenting with Unreal Engine. I think future-wise the 360° industry will become more and more accessible, and people will realize the potential, seeing just how beneficial it can be, not only for the client but also to the consumer.
Thanks Terry!
Quick tip: how to add “rotating objects” to your virtual tour?
On the first virtual tour on the top of this page you might have noticed that clicking on a model opens a picture that can be rotated to see the model from different angles. There are two ways to add such effects to your Panotour Pro virtual tour:
Use the Website Box plugin
To use this technique you need to have a 3D object player running on your website. Then add the “Website Box” plugin to your tour by double clicking on it in the plugin library. Customize the style of your spot and the appearance of the website box and simply add a hotspot to your tour that links to the page where your rotating image is stored and voilà!
Use the “SpinningImage” plugin
This free plugin developed by Michael Brüning will allow you to display rotating images over your tour without opening another website. Simply download the plugin, install it and add it to your virtual tour. Set the preferences and create a spot style for your spinning images. Then add a hotspot to your tour where you want the spinning image to be displayed!
Disclaimer: All graphics on this page are the sole property of Terry Gates.
1Comment
  • Stephen Dyer | Oct 9, 2017 at 2 h 07 min

    Great post, Terry Gates certainly knows his stuff. It would be most helpful if Kolor could do a tutorial on installing a 3D object player and adding the Website Box plugin to a tour. Also a tutorial on Terry ‘s workflow using Autopano Video and Autopano Giga would be good.

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