FlashPipe is a new kind of flash diffuser. Designed and made in the USA, using thermo plastic material. Light, foldable, affordable.
It can happen, folks! I won't give up and I ask that you don't either. Please spread the word if you know of anyone who might be interested. I believe there are people watching and waiting to jump in and now is the time! Remember high pledgers: you can always turn around and sell them. Capitalism is alive. :-) Thanks everybody!
New Packaging Design Will Bring Down Manufacturing Cost! Please be sure to read updates #10 and #11. A redesign that involves less packaging will reduce the cost about 40%.
New incentives have been posted.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my FlashPipe project. This is something I've wanted to do for quite a while now and I'm excited as it finally starts to take shape. I've been able to accomplish a lot of the preproduction on my own up to this point, and I've had some help from close friends. Thanks HancockMedia.net and thanks, Travis! But now I need your assistance in getting it over the hump and letting the momentum take it the rest of the way. I can't do it without you.
I've been a professional photographer for about 30 years now. And whenever I shoot events, or weddings, or editorial assignments, I find that sometimes I need to use on-camera flash. I prefer natural lighting, but you don't always get that luxury. When you do have to or chose to, it usually looks better to use soft, diffused lighting. This is especially true when shooting people. There have been a lot of products out there to accomplish this and I've tried several, but I've found that in one way or another they tend to be lacking. Either they don't work effectively, they're bulky or awkward in use, difficult to mount, or they're just too expensive. And most occupy too much space when not in use. Some just look ridiculous and I wouldn't want one on my camera rig. Appearance does count for something when you're around your clients.
I began to experiment with shapes and materials in searching for a solution that worked better. I wanted something that above all, created nice light. It also needed to be fast and easy to get on and off my flash, wouldn't weigh it down, didn't cost a lot, and was durable. And, if I needed to take it off momentarily or when I was done using it, I didn't want it taking up a lot of room in my pocket or camera bag.
After lots of thinking, drawing, making prototypes, and finally finding the perfect material (a tough, translucent thermoplastic) I had a refined design that was simple, straightforward , and effective... the FlashPipe. Currently there are two versions: the Wedge and the Convertible.
****Please check Update #7 on the Updates page for some sample photos....
The Wedge is an open top design that diffuses the light 360 degrees around the camera but allows for a "wash" to bounce off the ceiling in environments that allow you to do so. Additionally, its frontal reflecting area reflects some light forward. The open top also allows the Wedge to be used as a diffused "snoot," throwing undifused light to illuminate far away objects in the frame when the head of the flash is tilted down 90 degrees. This is useful, for instance, when you see someone across the room or at a podium and you want to light them, but not blast the foreground with harsh light. You may need the strength of raw light to illuminate them at a distance, but don't wish to hit others who are in your frame (or not) with raw flash light. After capturing that shot, tilt the head back up for normal diffusion. Quick and easy.
The Convertible has a flap on top that can be fully opened or closed or left at an angle in-between. This gives the photographer the option of completely diffused light with no chance of raw light spilling anywhere. In environments that don't offer a light colored ceiling for bounce or when that's not desired, it's more practical to keep the FlashPipe closed. The flap can be opened completely to allow for ceiling wash when it is desired. Or, it can be partially opened at a 45 degree angle giving a soft forward fill bounce while at the same time diffusing the light in all directions.
They'll come already cut to the right size and shape for a particular flash model. They're pre-scored for easy folding into the three dimensional shape they become. Impressions in the material indicate where to place the hook and loop adhesive backed dots. It's a simple process of defining the creases, placing the fasteners, and then folding the FlashPipe into shape. Done!
Then you just slip the grippy silicon rubber band around the head of your flash and slide the FlashPipe over it. The resistance between the two materials holds it snugly in place. It stays put, but it's easy to remove when you want to. Simple, huh?
The first production run will target Canon and Nikon owners since there's such a large base of existing users. Two sizes will accommodate both company's most popular models. Any brand flash within those dimensions can also use FlashPipe, of course. And as demand calls for it, other sizes will be released. There are future designs that will be introduced later, once the project is up and running. One imminent model already prototyped is a cylindrical version that will fit flashes with round reflector dishes such as the Quantum Q-flash or Norman and Lumedyne flashes. There are several other ideas on the drawing board, too. Stay tuned for more...
Price? Very affordable and competitive. In fact, it's much less than almost all the other diffusers out there and FlashPipe is the better solution, IMHO. Ok, not so humble. The goal is to sell them for $24.95 or less. At that price, it's a no-brainer. Currently a large portion of the cost is in printing and packaging. But at higher production volumes the economies of scale will kick in and should allow for a retail price that's a little less. Even at a $25 price point, it's way less than competing products that start at $35 and go past $50. It's a great value.
Up to this point it's all been self-funded and I haven't had to sell a kidney. I've spent a small fortune filing for patent protection, making prototypes, purchasing the domain name (I got in a bidding war), designing packaging, and buying shipping supplies. I'm about tapped out. I still need to fund the first production run, which means getting tooling dies made and finalizing the manufacturing parameters. I need to get the packaging inserts printed, get help designing the website, and then complete the patent process. (Just the U.S. patent alone will cost over $10,000 when all is said and done. And international patents will cost $30,000 to $40,000.) Yikes!
It's so close to happening, but I need your help to get it across the finish line and make any last minute tweaks This is where YOU come in and I can't do it without you. Once the product is out there and selling, then I can use any profits to file for international patents and start selling it in Europe and Asia and elsewhere. Right now I'm concentrating on the USA. By the way, it's manufactured here and will employ fellow Americans. Printing is done here, as well. We're using recycled materials as much as possible for all components, including the shipping materials, and everything is recyclable. Packaging is simple and minimal. FlashPipe itself is efficient in it's use of materials and durable, offering a long service life. What's not to like?
My only other alternative funding method would be to get pregnant and sell the baby. I don't want to be forced to to that. And I'm a guy, so it might be really difficult. So if the idea sounds interesting to you and you want to help, I would really, greatly appreciate your contribution. It'd be cool if 10,000 people gave a buck, but I set a 30-day time frame and I don't know if it can attract that much attention that fast. So, I've created several levels of participation with incentives along the way. From an indebted and sincere thank you, to a nifty black silicon wristband with white lettering (soon to be the fashion accessory), to actual FlashPipe products. Check it out and see what you feel you can do. Thank you so very much for your time and your donation. I'll keep you posted all along the way. And remember: you could be saving a baby's life.
*Just a note about contributors outside the USA. I can ship anywhere as long as a postal person can reach you. I thought I wouldn't be able to ship overseas due to patent filing complications, but I was mistaken. I budgeted $5 apiece for shipping, so any amount over that to mail to anyone outside of the States would need to be collected from all you groovy international types. Thanks!
Thanks, everybody! Thanks, KICKSTARTER!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $9,999 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on May 16, 2012.
Apr 16, 2012 - May 16, 2012 (30 days)
Pledge $1 or more
Your contribution is a vote of confidence and will serve to give us an idea of the potential marketability of FlashPipe products. A sincere and humble thank you is immediately bestowed!Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $5 or more
2 backers All gone!
Our heartfelt gratitude, your name added to the list of sponsors on the website once it's up and running, and a few assorted FlashPipe stickers.Estimated delivery: May 2012
Pledge $5 or more
This replaces the $5 previous incentive. I'm going to have plenty of wristbands available, so why not give you one too?Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $10 or more
1 backer All gone!
I big wet kiss (figuratively) as well as our gratitude, your name added to the list of sponsors, and a nifty FLASHPIPE silicon rubber wristband.Estimated delivery: May 2012
Pledge $15 or more
Congratulations! You're the owner of a new FlashPipe diffuser. You'll get a few stickers, a wristband so you can shamelessly advertise for me (don't hold your breath waiting on a royalty check), and you'll get a FlashPipe of your choice.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $25 or more
50 backers All gone!
All of the above and your choice of one FlashPipe diffuser from the initial production run. These will not be prototypes, but the real deal from the first 1000 made. Ok, I may keep one for myself. That leaves 999 for you. I'll sign it if you'd like and one day it could be worth gazillions on eBay! Just indicate which of the two current designs you'd prefer.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $30 or more
This replaces the previous $25 reward, but now you get TWO FlashPipes because the new packaging has greatly reduced the cost of manufacture. Read UPDATE # 11 for more details, please.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $50 or more
24 backers All gone!
You guessed it! At this level of contribution you get all of the above, but both a FlashPipe Wedge design and a FlashPipe Convertible design, (unless you'd rather have two of the same). The best of both worlds and the envy of every other photographer on your block!Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $60 or more
This replaces the previous $50 reward, but now you get FOUR FlashPipes of your choice. The redesigned packaging cut so much off of the cost of production that I can now double the number of FlashPipes in the incentive. Read UPDATE #11 for more details.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $100 or more
3 backers All gone!
All of the above, but with four FlashPipe diffusers to keep, give away, or sell. You get listed on the web site in a "special thanks" section of the donor's list, the FLASHPIPE silicon rubber wristband and four diffusers.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $101 or more
This level incentive replaces the previous $100 level. Because of new, more efficient packaging changes the FlashPipe can be made less expensively. So now it's even more of a value. You'll get EIGHT FlashPipes of your choice now, instead of four.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $1,000 or more
1 backer Limited (9 of 10 left)
Congratulations! You're instantly a my best friend ever (but we won't be taking vacations together). You'll now get 100 FlashPipes bulk packed in a box to do with as you please. Use them as party favors, put your company logo on them and market yourself or your business. Use them as product giveaways at your next convention (are you listening Canon and Nikon?). Turn around and sell them if you want. Cha-ching! No promises, but I'll see if my manufacturer can laser inscribe your name or logo along with the FlashPipe logo on the front of each piece if it doesn't make the price per piece skyrocket. And, yes, you get a bunch of silicon wristbands too. Crybaby. :- )Estimated delivery: Jun 2012