Posted on Jul 28th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (jjGames)
Posted under retro, gaming

View inside 3 camera photo light box with no item

JJGames.com sells used video games for retro systems like NES, SNES, PS2, etc. Some of the items are 30+ years old and each one has a slightly different condition. Many of our customers are game collectors and they really care about the condition. The best way to show the condition is with high quality photos.

Taking photos can take quite a bit of time though and we have 500-1000 games coming through the warehouse per day. A fully manual process takes about 50 seconds per game (take three photos, upload to servers, and update database with photo info). With 1000 games, it would take 14 man hours per day to take all the photos.

How could we give customers photos they wanted, but not spend so much time taking them? We developed a multi camera light box and wrote a program to take multiple high resolution photos at the same time. Here's how you can cheaply create your own!

This setup takes ~5 seconds per item. 10x's more efficient than the manual method.

The code and box design process (and the various iterations that didn't work) took roughly 30 hours. So the project recouped the time investment with about 3 days of photo taking.

We're sharing how we built the light box and we've open sourced the multi photo software so you can do it too.

The light box we built only cost $10 for LED lights and $15 for the plexiglass, everything else was free and lying around the warehouse.

It works very well for smaller items like video games, but the same concept works with larger items too with a larger light box or camera mounts and no light box.

- Paint the inside of a box white - This bounces light off the walls to eliminate shadows
- Buy a sheet of anti-glare plexiglass - This is really expensive at framing stores, but I found it cheap on eBay
- Cut a thin strip out of the cardboard half way up both sides
- Insert plexiglass into holes you just made
- Tape USB light strips on sides of plexiglass - We used double sided tape and two lights pointing up and two pointing down.
- Buy high resolution webcams - You want webcams that can take 1920 x 1080 resolution video
- Place webcams in the light box where you want them - Use can use your computer's camera preview tool to line-up the cameras correctly
- Take lots of photos

Underside of photo light box with game on plexiglass

Multi camera photo station hooked up to computer running multi-photo program

Below are some photos taken with the light box and software. The source images are 1980 x 1020 resolution but they only uploaded here at 1600px.

Head on over to https://www.jjgames.com/blog/ to check it out!

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Do I spy, with my little eyes, a pair of Logitech C920 webcams in your lightbox? The shape gives away the Logitech, so I'm curious what model you're using.
Trade secrets handed out like candy. Watch out, competitors are going to creep up on you one day. >Smiley

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