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Amazon Granted Exclusive US Patent For Photographing Against White Background

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posted on May, 28 2014 @ 10:12 PM
a reply to: Jennyfrenzy

Seems to me that professional photographer associations should be wailing loudly and making the patent office look like utter drunken fools for pulling such a stunt.

posted on May, 28 2014 @ 10:17 PM
Groucho and Aleister go berserk and break the law again.

posted on May, 28 2014 @ 10:39 PM

So this is interesting, on March 18th the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent to Amazon covering a specific method to achieve the common photographic technique of capturing an image of a subject against a plain white background.
No, that is not exactly what the patent is for. The background can be any color, the main part of the method is in the use of a transparent table on which the subject is positioned and the arrangement of lighting.

The elevated platform is configured with a top surface made of a material that can include, but is not limited to a plastic, such as Poly (methyl methacrylate), which is commonly known as "plexi-glass," and/or any other materials that possess a degree of transparency as well as reflectivity. Such a material produces an effect in images and/or video of the subject such that a reflection of the subject appears beneath the subject but where the top surface of the elevated platform blends seamlessly into a true white background.

It should be appreciated that a background of any color may be chosen and due to the positioning of the various elements in the studio arrangement, light emanating from the background reflects off of the top surface of the elevated platform, into an image capture device positioned according to the disclosure, and causes the top surface of the elevated platform to appear the same color as the background

It's mainly an improvement on greenscreening, since any color can be used and allowing the entire subject to be visually isolated from any background (or support).

Prior art solutions for achieving such a result for capturing images and/or video of objects set against a true white background include solutions that often involve some type of image retouching, post processing, “green screen” techniques, or other special effects and image and video manipulation to achieve the result of an object set against a true white background. Accordingly, as will be described herein, embodiments of the present disclosure provide a studio arrangement in which an object can be photographed and/or filmed, and the images and/or video captured by the camera achieve the effect noted above without any image manipulation due to the particular arrangements of the subject, camera, lighting and background.

Speaking of greenscreens; here's a patent for putting a grid on a greenscreen. Brilliant idea. But not quite as innovative as this one.

Here's another patent for a particular method of lighting for photography:

edit on 5/28/2014 by Phage because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 29 2014 @ 02:36 AM
a reply to: Jennyfrenzy

Wonder who will patent leaving a little colour in B&W photo's..!?!

I won't be stopping using the White BG, and let Amazon try and sue me or claim ownership of my work...!!

posted on May, 29 2014 @ 06:58 AM
a reply to: Phage

Thanks, Phage.

Nice to see some sanity brought to an insane sounding patent.

The Univ photographer was rather incredulous yesterday as I showed him the thread.

posted on May, 29 2014 @ 10:26 AM
NOTHING about this makes sense...
Shooting against a white background has probably been done even before the idea of Amazon existed..
It is a well known, used & appreciated technique..
and no advertising company would want to hire a photographer who can not provide 'quality' shoots.

for still life & product photography, it is ESSENTIAL to shoot on a reflective surface, just so that what you are shooting appears natural...
you know any object creates a shadow? and seeing the shadow makes the image closer to seeing the actual visual representation.

this world is going insane.

posted on May, 29 2014 @ 11:06 AM

edit on 5/29/2014 by 3n19m470 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 29 2014 @ 12:26 PM
a reply to: Jennyfrenzy

Common Sense - Amazon photo patent prompts Internet uproar

But this herd of critics is missing the main point: the patent is not just about the color of the background. The patent filing describes the specific technique and lighting placement needed to achieve a "near perfect" seamless white backdrop, including a slight reflection, in a single shot.

Photographer Ken Rockwell explained the discrepancy in a May 27 blog post. He calls it a "very clever" technique that "saves loads of time making studio shots" by eliminating the need to add or adjust the reflection using Photoshop or other programs.

If photographers don't shoot subjects just right, he explains, they need to spend time creating a fake reflection in postproduction. The new method speeds up the process, allowing photographers to eliminate postproduction time and therefore work more cost effectively.

Critics have also been pondering the point of the applying for a patent that will be nearly impossible to enforce. This point is fair -- unless studio photographers start to advertise that they're copying the technique. If they do that, Rockwell pointed out, they "might be hearing from Amazon."

posted on May, 29 2014 @ 12:57 PM
a reply to: Xcathdra

Ken Rockwell is just another money making machine who really doesn't know what he's talking about.
you won't be able to get through one of the pages on his site without him throwing his kids in your face & asking for money.
for a few years he spoke everything positive about nikon & for a few more years he's on the canon bandwagon, bashing the same products he once glorified.

there isn't much amazon can do about it & yes it confers to a specific type of shooting with a specific light placement & reflectors etc...
but still, why the hell does amazon want to patent something like this??

posted on May, 29 2014 @ 09:52 PM
The patent lays the groundwork for a technique, which is not really that well documented. That lets you have a trade secret using regular equipment, but how it is placed, manipulated and developed is patent-able.

Even with great equipment, novice photographers have a real challenge producing white background images, just try it to find out. I would say the patent as shown is borderline trivial, but the experts at Amazon that use it are the real key.

posted on May, 29 2014 @ 09:54 PM
a reply to: letmeDANz

but still, why the hell does amazon want to patent something like this??

To make money...licensing, etc.

posted on May, 30 2014 @ 12:57 PM
a reply to: trollz

Then why patent it if you are not going to start suing a bunch of people over it?

posted on May, 30 2014 @ 08:21 PM
I'm no lawyer, but this really seems like something that should be easy enough to get tossed due to prior art. Use of things like soft lights and backdrops is as old as photography itself.

Seems the patent office has failed to do their job yet again, so it'll be a matter of somebody bringing it to a case to get it fixed.

posted on May, 30 2014 @ 09:50 PM
There is no patent on common sense, DON'T WORRY, YOU CAN USE IT AMAZON, YOU WON'T GET A LAWSUIT!!

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