Diamond-TV offers a video alternative to 3D animation for 360 views.
Previously if you wanted to show 360° views of diamonds online the only option was 3D animation, something that has drawn criticism from shoppers for portraying unrealistic images, but now cameraman Guy Hartley has set up Diamond-TV to offer retailers an alternative.
As online has become the main route to retail for many consumers, even if this is purely for research before a purchase, the debate of how best to display diamonds online has become a hot topic of discussion.
In the fast-moving world of fashion retail, product videos have become de rigeur, and it would make sense that to give a true product experience online jewellers should follow suit.
It was exactly this explosion of the popularity of video clips on the websites of fashion retailers such as Marks and Spencer, as well as the growth of sites such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer, that promted former TV shopping channel cameraman Guy Hartley to set up Diamond-TV, a company that specialises in taking 360° videos of jewellery products.
Online shoppers are now completely au fait with viewing online content and in reaction many companies have invested huge resources in embedding videos alongside stills to create content-rich sites that drive sales. In addition, the inclusion of video content has been used to drive Google rankings.
“The success of these outlets is based on showing the customer the actual item and offering them the closest experience as possible to actually being in store,” says Hartley. “It was clear to me that if this could be translated into a similar experience for jewellery customers, then it would give jewellers a huge advantage in showing off their products.”
However, Hartley says that the challenge was making sure that the standard of the videos was high enough to successfully show off diamonds. He says that previously some jewellery retailers have relied on 3D animation to show off diamonds, but this, according to him, suffers from two major drawbacks: it is expensive and it also attracts customer complaints that the item bought doesn’t look like the animation, whereas he says that video ia very close to reality.
While Hartley claims to compete on price with 3D animation services, its prices are by no means cheap. Diamond-TV videos start at £500, but Hartley says that the 360° high definition videos are “of such high quality that they are the next best thing to being in store with the product itself”.
During his time as a TV shopping channel cameraman Hartley built up experience filming jewellery, but he has also brought another expert into Diamond-TV, his father Paul Hartley, a jewellery photographer who shoots for major UK and international retailers and jewellery manufacturers.
The father-and-son team run Diamond-TV from a secure, high-tech studio in London and the duo say that the combination of TV skills and photographic experience in the jewellery industry that they believe sets Diamond-TV apart.
The studio is equipped with a Sony solid-state Full HD broadcast quality camera, specialist lenses and fluid head motion, as well as Apple workstations with a professional editing suite to ensure that the industry standard video is viewable on PCs, iPads and smart phones.
Hartley says that using high definition videos of an item creates customer confidence that they are seeing an accurate representation of the product and cements the trust that is so important to online retailing, particularly in the jewellery industry.
“We feel that web videos are the next great advance to online retailing and to that end Diamond-TV offers a phenomenally cost effective solution,” he says. Packages start at £500 for up to eight standard clips that feature three rotating views on an acrylic stand, edited together into a web-ready clip. There is a set up charge of £100 for the first clip and then each subsequent clip is charged at £50 per item.
While this is the basic package, Diamond-TV also offers a deluxe option that includes highly technical, real-time camera moves and focus effects that are combined to produce special showcase clips for special pieces. The extra time and complexity involved make these clips slightly more expensive at £95 each with an initial set up charge of £125 for the first clip. “Both of these options are competitively-priced and allow jewellers a choice to suit their needs,” says Hartley.
Web video opens up a whole new way of marketing jewellery. As well as offering superior views of jewellery designs online it also works well with social networking. Clips can be posted on a dedicated YouTube channel or hosting sites such as Vimeo, Twitter and Facebook. Websites that feature videos also tend to be picked up by Google and promoted higher in their rankings.
And it would seem that Diamond-TV has already succeeded in converting some of the jewellery industry to its way of thinking having signed up Lorus Watches, Mallory of Bath, Bass Premier, Swag, Winterson Pearls and Marmalade Jewellers.
This article was taken from the September 2012 issue of Professional Jeweller magazine. To see a digital version of the issue click here.