Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
DEVICE AND METHOD FOR PHOTOGRAPHING OBJECTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2023/285963
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a device (1; 2) and a method for photographing objects wherein a fully enclosed, darkened photography shooting booth (101; 102) is created by completely covering a supporting structure (31; 32) with a soft cover (41; 42) of darkening type, a platform (51; 52) supporting the object is positioned at least partially within the photography shooting booth (101; 102), a camera assembly, comprising at least one camera (11; 12), at least one lighting device (21 : 22) and a background panel (61; 62) is positioned within the photography shooting booth (101; 102), wherein the background panel (61; 62) is opposed to the camera (11; 12), the supporting platform (51; 52) is interposed between the camera (11; 12) and the background panel (61; 62), and wherein the motion mechanisms (151; 152) are designed to achieve a rotary motion between the camera and the supporting platform (51; 52) for photographing the object in a closed circular path.

Inventors:
GAMBERONI STEFANO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2022/056417
Publication Date:
January 19, 2023
Filing Date:
July 12, 2022
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
PHYSEI SA (CH)
International Classes:
G03B15/06; G03B17/56; G03B37/00
Foreign References:
EP2909576B12017-12-06
US20130222684A12013-08-29
US4236795A1980-12-02
CN206957285U2018-02-02
CN205382733U2016-07-13
EP0961161B12003-12-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PASQUINO, Fabio (CH)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. Device (1; 2) for photographing objects comprising: at least one (41 ; 42) soft cover that can be coupled to a (31 ; 32) supporting structure to define a (101; 102) photography shooting booth; a camera assembly comprising at least one camera device (11; 12) and at least one lighting device (21; 22), suitable for being positioned within the photography shooting booth (101; 102); a platform (51 ; 52) supporting the object, suitable for defining a supporting plane for the object within the photography shooting booth (101; 102); motion mechanisms (151; 152) suitable for defining a relative rotary motion between the camera and the object for the photographic shooting of the object in a closed circular path; the device (1; 2) for photographic shooting is characterized by a soft cover (41; 42) of darkening type, and capable of completely covering the supporting structure (31; 32) to define a completely closed and darkened shooting boot (101; 102); wherein the camera assembly comprises a background panel (61; 62) opposed to the camera (11; 12), a supporting platform (51; 52) interposed between the camera (11; 12) and the background panel (61; 62); wherein the motion mechanism (151; 152) can define a rotary motion between the background panel (61; 62) and the supporting platform (51; 52).

2. Device (1) for photographing objects according to claim 1, wherein the supporting platform (51) is adapted to be positioned at least partially inside the photography shooting booth (101), and wherein the motion mechanisms (151) are operatively connected to the supporting platform (51) and can rotate the supporting platform (51) with respect to the camera.

3. Device (2) for photographic objects according to claim 1, wherein the motion mechanisms (152) are connected to the camera assembly and can rotate the camera assembly with respect to the supporting platform (52).

4. Device (1; 2) for photographing objects according to one of claims 1-3, wherein the background panel (61 ; 62) has a lower portion with an area greater than or equal to the area of the upper portion, wherein the lower portion and the upper portion are defined with respect to the centreline plane, parallel to the supporting plane.

5. Device (1; 2) for photographing objects according to one of claims 1-4, wherein the background panel (61; 62) has a trapezoidal conformation with a major base positioned on the supporting platform (51; 52).

6. Device (1; 2) for photographing objects according to one of claims 1-5, wherein the background panel (61; 62) is bent to define a portion of circumference around the cover (41; 42) and around the object.

7. Device (2) for photographing objects according to one of claims 1-6, wherein the camera assembly comprises a positioning device that can change the relative positioning of the camera assembly with respect to the supporting platform (52), while maintaining spacing with respect to the plane of the supporting platform (52); wherein the positioning device comprises an actuator and a control unit, and wherein the control unit identifies the current position of the camera assembly and calculates its ideal position, and wherein the actuating device can move the camera assembly from its current position to the ideal position.

8. Device (1; 2) for photographing objects according to one of claims 1-7, wherein the supporting structure (31; 32), the positioning device and the camera assembly are dismountable and/or portable, and wherein the supporting structure (31; 32), the positioning device and the camera assembly be made using tubular elements and tubular elements of polygonal section.

9. Method for photographing objects that comprises the following steps: define a fully enclosed and darkened booth (101; 102) by completely covering a supporting structure (31; 32) with a soft cover of darkening type; (41; 42) prepare a platform (51; 52) supporting the object within the photography shooting booth (101; 102); form a camera assembly, comprising at least one camera (11; 12) , at least one lighting device (21 : 22) and one background panel (61; 62) within the photography shooting booth (101; 102), wherein the background panel (61; 62) is opposed to the camera (11; 12); the supporting platform (51; 52) is interposed between the camera (11; 12) and the background panel (61; 62); use of a motion mechanism (151; 152) to create a rotary motion between the camera and the supporting platform (51; 52) allowing the photographic shooting of the object in an enclosed circular path.

10. A method for taking photographs of objects according to claim 9, comprising a step that changes the positioning of the camera assembly with respect to the supporting platform (51; 52), while maintaining the spacing with respect to the plane of the supporting platform (51 ; 52) by means of a positioning device that carries out the positioning modification phase, comprising the following sub steps: identification of the current position of the camera assembly by a control unit; calculation of the ideal position of camera assembly by means of the same control unit; movement of the camera assembly from the current position to the ideal position by means of an actuator.

11. Method for photographic shooting of objects according to claim 10, wherein the sub-step of calculating the ideal position of the camera assembly comprises: identification of the projection of the object on the supporting platform (51; 52) from the vertical point of view of the current position of the camera assembly, calculation of the barycentre or weighted centroid of the projection corresponding to the ideal position.

Description:
DEVICE AND METHOD FOR PHOTOGRAPHING OBJECTS

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of devices for photographing objects. Likewise, the present invention relates to the field of methods for photographing objects.

The present invention relates specifically to a device for photographing objects in hemispheric or 360° mode.

In a further aspect, the present invention relates specifically to a method for photographing objects in hemispheric or 360° mode.

Background Art

In the field of photography, the term hemispheric photography, i.e., 360° photography, refers to a number of uses of photographic footage which are different from each other although obtained with the same technique and results. One can, for example, identify the uses of Spherical Photography, for a spherical view of the object; and for Virtual Reality Photography, for a virtual but realistic view of the object.

Each 360-degree Photograph is displayed on an electronic screen as a single photograph, but it is actually the sum of several shots taken separately, and then joined together.

In particular, the photographic capture of objects for 360° photographs, i.e., hemispheric, requires that the object be in relative rotational motion with respect to the photographing device. The final result of the sequence of mounted images is acceptable to the processing of the human eye if the object is placed in the exact centre of the circumference on which the camera was located during the shot. Among the most common solutions, a turntable is used to achieve relative rotation of the object with respect to the camera. The object is placed on top of the aforementioned turntable and moves around the same rotation axis as the turntable, thus keeping the camera in a fixed position. Therefore, to ensure acceptable processing of the footage, the object must be positioned with the best possible accuracy, with respect to the rotation axis of the turntable.

An alternative solution is to move the camera, thus allowing the object to be arranged in a fixed position. In this way, the camera makes a circular motion around the object and, to ensure acceptable processing of the footage, the object must be positioned with the best possible accuracy with respect to the rotation axis of the camera.

U.S. Patent No. 9256974(B1) describes a device of the above type, wherein 360° photography is achieved by rotating the camera around a central point within a desired range of motion. The multiplicity of frames collected during the movement is used by employing a centring reference and a cropping pattern for each frame. The centring reference is an interocular distance of the photographic subject so that a vertical centreline, established at a midpoint of the interocular distance, be laterally centred by the cropping pattern. The resulting images can be displayed on an electronic screen to define a Virtual Reality Photograph. In this way, such a device allows a 360° Photograph to be taken, although with the obvious limitation related to the need of identifying a centring reference for each object and, in particular, the interocular distance, actually limiting the possibilities of photographic capture.

French Patent Application No. 3066283(A1) describes a device for filming an object and reconstructing its external three-dimensional image. The device comprises an annular structure surrounding a supporting structure for the object. The annular structure is formed by assembling tubular modules, each housing a camera and its control circuit. The eye of each camera is oriented toward the object. The wiring of the cameras passes through the annular structure formed by the modules to reach the central unit housed in the supporting of the tubular assembly. This device, therefore, allows a number of images to be obtained, but the costs associated with its implementation and use are high.

It is also possible to employ appropriate photo booths, suitable for defining a photographic device, open, partially open or closed so that the object can be taken inside a booth.

Chinese Patent Application No. 109656091(A) describes a device for capturing three-dimensional images, which has a platform to hold the object to be photographed, a camera, a guiding device to guide the camera and perform a circular motion around the platform, and a soft cover to filter the light. The guiding device is equipped with a device to adjust the height of the camera. The platform, the camera, the guiding device and the adjusting device are all positioned inside the photography shooting booth, covered by a soft cover. The above device requires only a camera and its manufacturing costs are low. The relative position between the object to be photographed and a light source does not change during image acquisition, so there’s no messy effect of lights and shades, and the resulting photograph can be good. However, the quality of the shot may be altered by the illumination from outside the shooting booth, therefore, in order to obtain a number of images with consistent illumination quality, the light on the outside must be controlled as much as the internal illumination.

In addition, in all above solutions, the object positioning is facilitated by the indication of the positioning point both on the turntable, in the case of rotation of the object, and on the table top or platform, in the case of camera rotation.

The indication of a positioning point can be obtained adding a laser pointing to the vertical centre or using digital tools that display the persisting image of the previous photographed object on a computer connected to the camera.

In any case, the user must still be able to position the object as accurately as possible and ensure that the positioning is maintained throughout the entire shooting time. There are also error-measurement tools that rely on laser and sonar techniques to detect the profile and position of the object and determine its optical centre to get a centred photo. These solutions need a complex sequence of measurements that typically require a complete rotation of the object, in order to measure the distance of a number of points with respect to the sensor, subsequently processing the data obtained.

Therefore, it would be desirable to have a device for photographing objects that could minimize the above drawbacks. In particular, it would be desirable to have a device for photographic imaging of objects that could guarantee accurate imaging.

Summary of the invention

The purpose of the invention presented in the following paragraphs is to provide a device and a method for photographing objects, which can minimize the above issues.

Specifically, it is the purpose of this invention to provide a device and method for photographing objects that ensures high photographic quality, thus remaining simple and inexpensive when it comes to its implementation.

The purpose of the present invention is achieved by a device for photographing objects, according to the attached claims.

The device for photographing objects comprises: at least one soft cover suitable to be coupled to a supporting structure to define a photography shooting booth; a camera assembly comprising at least one filming device and at least one lighting device, suitable to be positioned within the photography shooting booth; a supporting platform suitable to support objects within the photography shooting booth; motion mechanisms suitable for creating a rotary motion between the camera and the object, in order to be able to photograph the object in a closed circular path; the device for photography shooting is characterized by the fact that the soft cover is darkening and capable of completely cover the supporting structure; it can thus create a fully enclosed and darkened photography shooting booth wherein the camera assembly comprises a background panel opposed to the camera, the supporting platform being interposed between the camera and the background panel, and wherein the motion mechanism can define a relative rotary motion between the background panel and the supporting platform.

The full covering of the camera allows it to be shielded from outside light in such a way that the photograph is not altered during the rotation imposed by the rotating device. The background panel defines the backdrop of the shots taken.

According to one type of implementation of this invention, the motion mechanisms are operationally connected with the supporting platform and can rotate the supporting platform with respect to the camera.

According to a different type of implementation, the supporting platform can be mounted, at least partially, in the photography shooting booth, and the motion mechanisms are operationally connected to the camera and can rotate the camera with respect to the supporting platform.

Therefore, either the supporting platform or the camera assembly can rotate. According to one type of implementation, the background panel has a lower portion with an area greater than or equal to the area of the upper portion. The lower portion and the upper portion are defined with respect to the centreline plane, parallel to the supporting plane.

According to one type of implementation, the background panel has a trapezoidal shape with its major base corresponding to supporting platform. Such a conformation of the background panel makes it possible to shoot large objects even from small distances and at wide camera angles, thus reducing the size of the camera when photographing objects according to this invention.

In one type of implementation, the background panel is bent to define a portion of circumference around the object.

The bending of the background panel allows the bottom surface to be optimized in relation to the small size of the device.

According to one type of implementation, the camera assembly comprises a positioning device designed to change the positioning of the camera assembly with respect to the supporting platform, while maintaining the spacing with respect to the plane of the supporting platform.

According a second type of implementation, the positioning device comprises an actuating device and a control unit, which identifies the current position of the camera and calculates its ideal position, while the actuating device can move the camera from its current position to the ideal position.

This allows making centring adjustments with respect to the camera.

According to one type of implementation, the supporting structure and/or positioning device and/or camera assembly are dismountable and made of a number of tubular and/or polygonal section elements.

Therefore, the possibility of disassembling the device allows optimizing space and transportability.

According to a further aspect, the purpose of the present invention is further achieved by a method for photographing objects described in the attached explanations.

The method for photographing objects comprises the following steps: defining a closed and darkened photography shooting booth by completely covering a supporting structure by means of a soft, darkening cover; arranging a platform to support the object within the photography shooting booth; arranging a camera group, comprising at least one camera, at least one lighting device and one background panel within the photography shooting booth; the background panel is opposed to the camera, the supporting platform is interposed between the camera and the background panel; realizing a rotary motion between the camera and the supporting platform for photographing objects in an enclosed circular path by means of motion mechanisms.

Therefore, the method used by the present invention allows photographing objects within a camera that is completely shielded from external light, where the background panel defines the backdrop for the photos.

According to one type of implementation, the method for photographing objects comprises a step wherein there is a change in the positioning of the camera assembly with respect to the supporting platform, while maintaining the spacing with respect to the supporting platform by means of a positioning device. The positioning phase comprises the following subphases: identification of the current position of the camera group using a control unit; calculation of the ideal position of the camera group using the control unit; movement of the camera from its current position to the ideal position by means of a positioning device.

According to a second type of implementation, the sub-step that calculates the ideal position of the camera group comprises: identification of the projection of the object on the supporting platform from the vertical point of view of the camera group, in its current position, calculation of the barycentre or weighted centroid of the projection corresponding to the ideal position. The method of the present invention makes it possible to optimize the position of the camera assembly with respect to the position of the object to be photographed, thus minimizing the error during relative rotation.

Description of the figures

These and additional features and advantages of the present invention will be evident from the description of the types of implementation, explained by way of example and not limited to the attached figures, wherein:

- Figure 1 shows a front perspective view of a device for photographing objects, according to a first type of implementation of the present invention;

- Figure 2 shows a front perspective view of the device for photographing objects shown in Figure 1, wherein the cover has been removed;

- Figure 3 shows a perspective view from above of the device shown in Figure 2;

- Figure 4 shows a detail of the front perspective view of the device for photographing objects as shown in Figure 2;

- Figure 5 shows a front perspective view of a device for photographing objects, according to a second type of implementation of the present invention;

- Figure 6 shows a front perspective view of the device for photographing objects as shown in Figure 5, wherein the cover has been removed;

- Figure 7 shows a front plane view of the device for photographing objects as shown in Figure 6;

- Figure 8 shows a detail of the front plane view of the device for photographing objects as shown in Figure 7.

Detailed description of the invention

Here follows a detailed description of the device for photographing objects, subject of the present invention. In particular, the device will be described with reference to the method for photographing objects, subject of the present invention. The device for photographing objects, subject of the present invention, is shown in the attached Figures, wherein Figures 1-4 describe a first type of implementation, and Figures 5-8 describe a second type of implementation: Further forms of implementation are also possible and will be at least partly described in the following pages as variations of the above types of implementation.

Device 1 for photographing objects illustrated in Figures 1-4 defines a camera 101 wherein the object to be photographed (not illustrated) is to be inserted. In this regard, device 1 comprises a supporting structure 31 and a cover 41, suitable to be used together for this purpose.

In the type of implementation described herein, the supporting structure 31 is tubular, i.e., it is provided with a number of tubular and/or polygonal sections connected to define a self-supporting structure. Specifically, these elements are fixed at one end of the supporting plane, and the opposite end is fixed to define the supporting structure 31. As shown in the attached Figures 1-4, the tubular and/or polygonal-section elements have an elongated form, with a straight portion, fixed to an end of the supporting plane, and a bent portion, fixed to the other end, thereby defining a bell-shaped, or umbrella structure when in use. Different shapes are also possible according to additional types of implementation, which are not shown here.

In this way, a tubular structure of the above type allows the weight of the supporting structure 31 to be optimized. In addition, a dismountable structure allows optimizing overall dimensions and transportability. Likewise, it is possible to realize a dismountable supporting structure with a different shape than the tubular one.

The soft cover 41 is completely covering and darkens the supporting structure 31, to define the fully enclosed and darkened photography shooting booth 101. Such photography shooting booth 101 is, therefore, defined by the volume of the soft cover 41 and by the dimension of the supporting structure 31 when positioned on a supporting plane. According to the conformation of the supporting structure 31, the soft cover 41 will, therefore, determine a bell-shaped booth 31, similar to an umbrella.

Working in the completely enclosed, darkened booth 101 brings the important advantage: in a dark environment, unaffected by outside light, the power absorbed by artificial lights is significantly lower than in an open-air environment, where the light could filter through and affect the captured image.

The solutions already known do not use fully enclosed covers and are affected by external light when photographing objects. To achieve optimal lighting, having to counteract the effects of external light, they require very intense artificial illumination. In this photographic devices, the electrical power absorption for illumination constitutes the largest part of the absorbed power, which is higher the more intense the artificial illumination, and can be measured in watts. The power required by such device for photographic shooting of objects of the known type ranges from 250W to 500W.

With the use of a completely closed cover, as shown in this invention, the power absorbed for illuminating the object to be photographed is reduced, and significantly lower than the power required by the devices of the known type, since it does not have to actively counteract external light. Consequently, for what concerns the present invention, the power required for photographic shooting of objects is limited to a range between 25W and 100W.

The low power requirements further allow device 1, subject of the present invention, to be powered using simple batteries, which makes it fully portable. Figure 1 shows a front perspective view of device for photographing objects 1, according to a first type of implementation of the present invention, wherein the soft cover 41 is mounted on the supporting structure 31. Such an arrangement does not allow the elements within the camera booth 101 to be seen, i.e., camera 101 itself.

The aforementioned covering 41 is removed in Figure 2, which shows a front perspective view of device for photographing objects 1, as shown in Figure 1, and in Figure 3, which shows a top perspective view of the same, as shown in Figure 2.

Therefore, Figures 2 and 3, allow us to have a view of the booth interior of camera 101 and the positioned components of device 1, as described below, more in detail. The photography shooting booth 101 comprises a supporting platform 51, on which surface the object to be photographed is positioned. The supporting platform 51 is not solidly coupled with the soft cover 41 and supporting structure 31 but can be positioned, at least partially, within the photography shooting booth 101, allowing it to be removed. Specifically, as described in the first type of implementation, the supporting platform 51 is positioned entirely within booth 101. This arrangement is normally made by centring the supporting platform 51 according to the size of camera 101, as explained in the more detailed description below.

In the first type of implementation described, the supporting platform 51 is defined by a circular supporting plate that creates a supporting surface where the object to be photographed can be positioned. The supporting plate is separated from the supporting surface by means of suitable mechanical means 151, mounted on supporting platform 51, and allowing it to rotate with respect to the camera, as in the more detailed description below.

The size and conformation of the supporting platform may be changed according to the design or portability requirements of the camera, with the only limit that at least one portion of it, i.e., a surface of it, be inserted in the photography shooting booth. According to further types of implementation, the supporting structure could be fixed, as shown in the description of the second type of implementation of this invention.

In addition, the shape and size of the supporting platform can be changed according to design requirements.

Another essential part is the camera assembly, which comprises at least one camera 11 and one illumination device 21, suitable to be positioned within the previously described photo booth 101. In particular, the first type of implementation comprises a single camera 11 and two lighting devices 21, thus reducing the production and assembly cost of device 1 for photographing objects, but other types of cameras and/or lighting devices can also be provided.

The latter preferably comprises a couple of LED strips that allow for more manageable lighting in terms of colour and temperature, as well as a reduction in weight, power consumption, and space occupation of the lighting devices. The LED strips are positioned vertically, aligned with respect to camera 11. Specifically, the LED strips are fixed on two parallel tubes, positioned to the left and right sides of camera 11. It is also possible to employ lighting devices of different type or change the arrangement of the lights with respect to the camera. The same camera assembly also comprises a background panel 61 opposed to camera 11. So, as shown in the attached Figures 2-4, the supporting platform 51 is interposed between the camera 11 and the background panel 61, that is on the two opposed sides of the camera 101. In this regard, in the case of the use of a plurality of camera devices and/or lighting devices, this opposing arrangement will be satisfied by the presence of at least one camera device and/or lighting device actually facing the background panel, although not aligned with its axis of symmetry or barycentre, if any.

The background panel 61 has a lower portion with an area greater than or equal to the area of the upper portion; the lower portion and the upper portion are defined with respect to the centreline plane, parallel to the supporting plane. In particular, the background panel 61 should preferably be of rectangular shape, with a base of same dimension as the supporting platform 51. Specifically, the background panel 61 shown in Figure 2 is bent to define a cylindrical portion, with same circumference as the cover 41 and around the object to be photographed, i.e., around supporting platform 51. This bending allows for the optimization of the background area in relation to the small size of device 1.

The background panel, according to further types of implementation, may have different shapes, preferably trapezoidal with the major base positioned on the supporting platform. The trapezoidal shape of the background panel makes it possible to shoot large objects even from small distances and with large camera angles, thereby reducing the size of the device for photographing objects according to the present invention.

The practicality of using a device for photographing objects i.e., a 360-degree photographic set, is the greater the smaller its overall size. A well-known problem in the industry is that a photography set becomes very bulky if the object to be photographed is not minuscule.

A classification of the practicality of different solutions can be made according to theoretical total volume (size) of the camera set, measured in cubic decimetres of space required to position the camera lens and obtain an image with a backdrop of uniform colour.

The uniformity of the background is given by the background panel with respect to the object to be photographed.

The theoretical volume is described as a parallelepiped of which the base is the background panel and the width is the distance of the panel from the camera. The object to be photographed is interposed between the background panel and the camera. Given the size of the object to be photographed, the distance of the camera will be greater the smaller the angle of the photographic lens used.

The size of the background panel, if it is of flat and rectangular shape, is larger the wider is the angle of the photographic lens.

Having said that, it is possible to simulate the volume of the object to be photographed, e.g., an object having the shape of a 100x100x200 mm quadrangular prism, photographed both resting on its minor base (vertical position) and on its side (horizontal position).

The following table summarizes the results in two extreme situations, using flat rectangular background panels.

If we consider the shape of the backdrop panel comprised in this invention, the total size is reduced to less than half and makes it possible to use wide-angle camera lenses with significant cost savings. The elements of the camera group are positioned on special supporting elements separate from the supporting structure 31, while operating with it. The supporting elements make it possible to separate and distance the elements of the camera group from cover 41, while still being inserted in the photography shooting booth 101, as previously described. In particular, the aforementioned supporting elements are also made, as described, with tubular and/or polygonal section elements, preferably removable, but they could equally be made with elements of different type, comprised fixed ones.

In addition, device 1 for photographing objects comprises a positioning mechanism 151, suitable for creating a rotary motion between the camera group and the object to be photographed. In the present implementation, the positioning mechanism 151 is suitable for creating a rotary motion between the camera group and the supporting platform 51, so as to photograph the object in a closed circular path. In particular, the positioning mechanism 151 is adjusted to create a rotary movement between the background panel 61 and the supporting platform 51; or between the camera 11 and the supporting platform 51; or between the lighting device 21 and the supporting platform 51.

In this regard, the full coverage of camera 101 allows it to be shielded from external light in such a way that it does not need to modify the shootings during the rotation imposed by the rotating mechanism. At the same time, the background panel 61 will be the backdrop of the shots taken.

In the first type of implementation, the positioning mechanism 151 is connected with the supporting platform 51 and can cause the rotation of the supporting platform 51, with respect to the camera group. So, the position of camera 11, lighting device 21 and background panel 61 are defined in advance by the user and remain in the photography shooting booth 101. While, the supporting platform 51 is positioned in advance by the user within the photography shooting booth 101 and then moved in rotation around a predefined rotation axis to define a movement with respect to the camera group. The movement imposed on platform 51, therefore, also puts the object to be photographed on the same supporting platform 51 into rotation. As described above, supporting platform 51 is, therefore, separated from the supporting plane, this separation being achieved by means of the aforementioned motion mechanism 151, interposed between the supporting plane and supporting platform 51.

The supporting elements of the camera group are connected to a central connecting element 110 by means of suitable clamping elements 115 made to adjust the distance of the camera 11 and the lighting devices 21 from the central axis of the photography shooting booth 101, and allow the lighting devices 21 to be moved outward, thus facilitating the entry and positioning of the object in camera 101. The polygonal supporting tubes are to be preferred, so that their freedom of movement is structurally limited when the connecting clamps are loosened.

In order to enable better use of the central connection element, this must be aligned with respect to the axis of rotation of the supporting platform 51. Such alignment may be achieved manually, for example by means of a pointing device 150 positioned in the central connecting element 110, pointing the light beam perpendicularly, in the direction of the supporting platform 51. The latter, to allow simplified alignment, may be provided with a barycentric position-marking element, to be aligned with the light beam.

In the following paragraphs, the use of device 1 for photographing objects will be discussed with reference to the method for photographing objects described the present invention.

Therefore, the method for photographing objects described in this invention comprises the creation of the above-mentioned, fully enclosed and darkened photography shooting booth 101, completely covering the supporting structure 31 by means of a soft cover 41 which is of darkening type. The next step of the method for photographing objects according to the present invention comprises positioning a supporting platform within camera 101.

A camera group is positioned within the photography shooting booth 101. The camera group, as described, comprises at least one camera 11, at least one lighting device 21, and a background panel 61. Background panel 61 faces the camera, the supporting platform 51 is interposed between the camera 11 and the background panel 61.

Therefore, the method used in this invention allows photographing objects within a photography shooting booth 101 completely shielded from external light, and wherein the background panel 61 defines the backdrop of the shots taken.

Using a positioning mechanism 151, a rotary movement is created between the camera and the supporting platform 51, in order to photograph the object in a closed circular path.

Figure 5 shows a front perspective view of a device 2 for photographing objects, according to a second type of implementation, always part of the present invention. Device 2 is, likewise, illustrated in Figures 6 and 7, and in detail in Figure 8. Device 2 for photographing objects shown in Figures 5-8 describes a photography shooting booth 102 withwherein the object to be photographed (not shown in the Figure) is to be inserted. Device 2 comprises a supporting structure 32 and a cover 42, suitable to be coupled for this purpose, creating an umbrella structure, similar to that described above for the first type of implementation, and, for this reason, no further detailed.

Figure 5 shows a front perspective view of device 2 for photographing objects, according to a second type of implementation of the present invention, wherein the soft cover 42 is positioned on a supporting structure 32. Such a cover does not allow the elements within the photography shooting booth 102, i.e., camera 102, to be seen. The aforementioned cover 42, however, has been removed in Figure 6, which shows a front perspective view of the same device for photographing objects 2 shown in Figures 5. In Figure 7, the same device is shown in a front view as in Figure 6.

Figures 6 and 7, therefore, allow us seeing the interior of the photography shooting booth 102 and the components of device 2 positioned there, as described in more detail in the following paragraphs.

Shooting booth 102 comprises a platform 52 supporting the object to be photographed, positioned on it. The supporting platform 52 is not solidly coupled with the soft cover 42 and the supporting structure 32, but it can be positioned, at least partially, in the photography shooting booth 102, thus remaining removable. In particular, in the second implementation described, the surface of the supporting platform 52 is only partially inserted within the photography shooting booth 102. In this second type of implementation, the supporting platform 52 is defined by a cubic supporting structure, even though alternative shapes may be used. The supporting platform 52 could, therefore, be external to the device subject of this invention, as it is identified in the plane where the object to be photographed lies, which could also be a simple floor. For example, in a dimensionally increased version, the object could be a person wearing clothes or an object that cannot be moved easily. The top surface of the structure is the supporting surface where lies the object to be photographed.

The size and conformation of the supporting platform may change according to the design or portability requirements of the camera, provided that at least a portion of it, i.e., one of its surfaces, lies within the photography shooting booth.

According to further types of implementation, the supporting structure could be of the movable type, as it has been shown and described above in the first type of implementation of the present invention. In addition, the shape and size of the supporting platform can be modified according to design requirements.

Another essential element is, therefore, the camera group, which comprises at least one camera 12 and at least one lighting device 22, suitable to be positioned within the photography shooting booth 102, and similar to those described in the first type of implementation, to which reference is made, and therefore not further detailed. The camera group also comprises a background panel 62 opposed to the aforementioned camera 12. So, as shown in the attached Figures 6-8, the supporting platform 52 is interposed between the camera 12 and the background panel 62, the latter being positioned on two opposing sides of the photography shooting booth 102. In this regard, in the case of use of more than one camera and/or lighting devices, such facing arrangement will be satisfied by the presence of at least one camera and/or lighting device effectively opposed to the background panel, although not necessarily aligned with its axis of symmetry or barycentre. The background panel 62 has a lower portion having an area greater than or equal to the area of the upper portion, wherein the lower portion and the upper portion are defined with respect to the centreline plane parallel to the supporting plane. In particular, the background panel 62 should preferably be of trapezoidal shape, with a major base positioned on the supporting platform 52, that is, on its surface. Such trapezoidal shape allows taking photographs of large objects, even from small distances, thereby reducing the size of the device 2 described in the present invention. Specifically, the background panel 62 shown in Figure 6 is bent to define a circumferential shape corresponding to the cover 42 and surrounding the object to be photographed. Such bending allows for the optimization of the background area in relation to the small size of device 2.

The background panel, according to further forms of implementation, may be of different shapes, as described in the first type of implementation. The elements of the camera assembly are positioned on special supporting elements separate from the supporting structure 32, while being coupled to it, as described in the first type of implementation to which reference is made.

In addition, for photographing the object in a closed circular path, device 2 comprises a motion mechanism, suitable for creating a rotary movement between the aforementioned camera and the object to be photographed, the latter being positioned on the plane of the supporting platform 52. In detail, the motion mechanism can create a rotary movement between the background panel 62 and the supporting platform 52, between the camera 12 and the supporting platform 52, and between the lighting device 22 and the supporting platform 52. Such rotary motion is simultaneous for the above elements.

In this regard, the complete coverage of the camera 102 allows it to be shielded from external light in such a way that the photographs will not be altered during the rotation imposed by the rotational mechanisms. At the same time, the background panel 62 will define the backdrop of the photos taken.

In the second type of implementation, the motion mechanism 152 is connected with the camera and is suitable for moving the latter with respect to the supporting platform 52.

In this case, the weight of the object to be photographed is not an obstacle, since the movement is relative to the camera assembly, while the object and its supporting platform 52 stay still. Other solutions with a rotating supporting platform have weight limitations with respect to the object to be rotated.

So, the supporting platform 52 is placed in advance by the user within the photography shooting booth 102, thus defining one of its surfaces, and maintains a fixed position with respect to the photography shooting booth 102.

In contrast, the position of the camera 12, the lighting device 22, and the background panel 62, i.e., the camera group, are previously defined by the user and then moved around a predefined axis of rotation to create a movement with respect to the supporting platform 52. Therefore, the movement imposed on the camera group, puts all the elements into rotation, while keeping the object to be shot in a fixed position, on the supporting platform 52 of the fixed type.

Finally, device 2 for photographing objects according to the second type of implementation comprises a positioning device designed to change the positioning of the camera assembly with respect to the supporting platform 52, while maintaining the spacing with the plane of the supporting platform 52.

The use of device 2 for photographing objects can refer to the method for photographing objects previously described and referred to in the present invention.

Therefore, the method for photographing objects in the present invention comprises the step of creating the above-mentioned photography shooting booth 102, completely closed and darkened, by completely covering the supporting structure 32 with a soft cover 42, of darkening type.

Next, the method for photographing objects subject of the present invention comprises the step of arranging a supporting platform within the photography shooting booth 102.

A camera group is positioned within the photography shooting booth 102, wherein the camera group comprises, as described, at least one camera 12, at least one lighting device 22, and one background panel 62; the background panel 62 faces the camera, the supporting platform 52 is interposed between the camera 12 and the background panel 62.

Finally, a rotary motion is carried out between the camera and the supporting platform 52 in an enclosed circular path by means of a motion mechanism 152. Therefore, the method described in the present invention allows for taking photographic shots of objects within a photography shooting booth 102 completely shielded from external light, and wherein the background panel 62 defines the backdrop of the photos taken. An appropriate positioning mechanism can also be employed to position the camera with respect to the supporting platform 52.

In connection with the presence of the positioning mechanism of the camera assembly, the method for photographing objects according to the present invention comprises the possibility to change the positioning of the camera assembly with respect to the supporting platform 52 by means of a positioning mechanism, while maintaining the spacing with respect to the plane of the supporting platform. The positioning step comprises a number of sub-steps described in greater detail in the following paragraphs.

In a first sub-step, an identification of the current position of the camera group is carried out using a control unit.

In a second sub-step, the calculation of the ideal position of the camera is carried out using the same control unit.

In a third sub-step, the camera group is moved from the current position to the ideal position. The camera group can be moved in its entirety by the simultaneous movement of camera 12 , camera 22, and the background panel 62.

A number of activities, listed below, are involved when calculating the ideal position of the camera group.

The first activity relates to identifying the projection of the object to be photographed on the supporting platform 52, from the current vertical position of the camera group. The object to be photographed can, in fact, be photographed from above with an auxiliary camera placed on its vertical, in correspondence with the axis passing by the theoretical rotation centre of the camera group.

The second activity is related to the calculation of the barycentre of the projection corresponding to the ideal position. With a single image taken and its subsequent processing, it is possible to determine the barycentre of the object and the extent of the error to be corrected. If the object is on a regular surface, the image taken from above represents the projection of the shape of the object onto the supporting platform 52. The shape outline thus determined represents the input to the software that determines the barycentre, or, according to a different modality, the software processes the image by determining which parts are most relevant to define the shape to be considered for determining the barycentre. The shape of the object thus determined will be the input for the software that defines the barycentre, referred to as a weighted centroid. In fact, the software will also be able to weight the outline of the image, so as to give less importance to parts of the outline that may not have the same relevance in the calculation of the traditional barycentre (for example, in the case of a teaspoon protruding from a cup, when in fact it is the body of the cup that must be centred).

The positioning mechanism is interposed between the supporting structure 32 and the motion mechanism 152.

According to one type of implementation, the positioning mechanism comprises an actuating device, preferably an electric motor, and a control unit that identifies the current position of the camera assembly and calculates its ideal position, and wherein the actuating device can move the camera assembly from the current position to the calculated ideal position.

In this way, the correction of object centring errors with respect to the camera assembly can be carried out in a quick and simplified way, without any intervention by the user.

According to the method for photographing objects described by the present invention, if an actuating device is available, the sub- step of moving the camera assembly from the current position to the ideal position can be carried out by at least one actuating device.

Thus, the device for photographing objects, subject of the present invention, guarantees high quality of photography and, at the same time, is of simple and inexpensive implementation. Similarly, this method for photographing objects, subject of the present invention, allows easy and effective operation for quality shots.

In addition, the ability to automate centring makes it possible to solve the problems of measuring the centring errors to be corrected, speeding up correct positioning between the camera and the object to be photographed.