Longest (Bolex) Kickstarter Update Ever!
Longest (Bolex) Kickstarter Update Ever:
I have been talking for a little while about the “Big Camera Update” and this is it. I’m going to tell you about where we are now, where we are planning to be soon, and our best guess as to delivery date, as well as some exciting news about features and accessories!
Where we are now:
Today I received a report from our new project manager. As expected, it’s a good news / bad news situation. Our original delivery estimate was overly ambitious. Changing product specs took more time than anticipated. We built a strong team, created a great work environment with good communication, but again, took more time than expected. The good news is he thinks we have a great team assembled, we are over many of the big hurdles, and we have just about everything, and everyone, in place to complete the project. Now it's time to work hard and push through to the end.
Where we are planning to be soon:
After talking with the entire engineering staff for the past three days, Vahesan (our project manager) developed a timeline that he believes we can stick to. We hope to have all finalized board designs done and spun (the term for making a new board) by the end of September. At the same time we will be finishing the firmware and other software elements. As soon as we get them all together we will spend about a week thoroughly testing, during which time we will make regular KS updates. The build will take 3 weeks, and we’ll have completed cameras by the end of October. He says this is still an aggressive timeline, but one he feels we can accomplish.
I want to rest aside any fears that if we are spending time working on accessory projects we must not be concentrating 100% on the camera. I want to assure you this is not the case. We are working on lenses, website features, and other cool stuff, but the people working on these are completely independent of the engineers working on the camera itself. In no way does the simultaneous development detract from camera resources or delay the camera in any way.
Cameras should arrive on doorsteps by early November. We will do everything we can to get them to you by then, and earlier if possible.
New Bolex Super 16mm C-mount lenses:
In the follow up Kickstarter survey, lenses were by far the most popular potential accessory project, so we’re giving them to you!
There are a lot of lenses already out there on the market, both new and vintage, ranging in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Some potentially usable industrial lenses are as inexpensive as $10.
So what can we add to the mix that’s new? A set of C-mount lenses that create incredibly sharp images specifically intended for the S16mm film plane, that are easy to use, and are more affordable than most full frame or vintage lenses. Simple right? This was actually a huge challenge, but I think we came up with a good solution: fixed focus, fixed aperture, prime lenses.
Why fixed focus? In a way all lenses are fixed focus lenses, because all lenses are created with a perfect distance and f stop in mind. Some people call this the "sweet spot". When you adjust the focus or the f stop away from this point you are throwing light around inside the lens and creating diffraction. This causes a general softness to the image, so lens makers spend a lot of money eliminating it as much as possible. Our approach eliminates this diffraction completely, and lowers the cost of the lens. We estimate that each of our lenses will cost $100 to $150 apiece.
If you think about it, many shots in a film are standard setups; shot / reverse shot, OTS, two shot, wide, and so on. So we created lenses that give you these shots quickly. Our lenses will have large clear markings that dictate the focus range of each lens and the F stop. To use them you simply place the camera the proper distance from the subject, make sure the ISO is set appropriately and you're ready to shoot. This doesn't mean that you won't need other lenses, but it means that to get your standard coverage you can get an easy to use set of 6 incredibly sharp lenses for only $600.
There is a great history of fixed focus lenses for motion picture cameras. Many 8mm cameras like the Kodak Brownie were equipped with a turret of fixed focus, fixed aperture lenses that allowed filmmakers to quickly switch between lenses while shooting. And yes, we are planning a turret mount for these lenses!
To someone who is used to shooting video on a DSLR this approach may sound worrisome. With DSLRs you have to be very exact with your settings. With the D16 we have a lot more wiggle room. A 1/2 stop difference might make or break a shot on a DSLR, but might be hardly noticeable on a raw format camera like the D16.
New Crank Feature:
One of the most exciting pieces of news is our new crank feature. We thought for a long time about all of the different effects you could create with the crank, speed ramping, simulated roll-outs, and so on. The challenge was we didn’t want to delay the camera by using up valuable engineering time to build these effects into the camera. Recently we realized that if we recorded the movements of the crank into metadata we could apply many of these effects in post, giving you a LOT more flexibility. Basically it's the idea of raw carried through even to the crank functions.
Your footage will have metadata for every frame that describes how you were moving the crank while you were filming. It's like getting to have a complex frame by frame spline that is created during recording and then can be assigned to any image filter you choose in post. So you can add filters that respond to what you were doing on set. For example, if you crank the handle when you want the image to be more grainy, you can go into our software and set the filter to a grain pattern and it will automatically add grain based on how fast you were turning the crank while filming. This can work with flash frames, roll-outs, jitter, color bleeds, and any number of other filters. Pomfort, the company developing our software, believes we can have this feature live at launch time! If you have ideas for filters you would like to see, we would love to hear them!
Exclusive Website section:
We are happy to announce a new website feature just for camera owners! We’re going to be launching a private video hosting section of our site, so D16 owners have a private place to upload anything from test footage to finished projects and get feedback from other camera owners, while keeping the videos private. A place where camera owners can work through problems or ask advice without worrying about outside scrutiny. This will also give us a space to run contests, post instructional videos, host guest filmmakers, and exclusive events for camera owners. We hope this will help foster a diverse community of professionals and people wanting to learn about filmmaking. We already have many intelligent discussions in our forums and we would like to see that blossom into something useful and fun for everyone who owns a Digital Bolex.
As you can see, there are a lot of exciting things going on here at Bolex land! Again we sincerely apologize for the delay in the delivery schedule, and we will do everything in our power to minimize it. I'm very interested to hear from you all, especially about the idea of a new set of Bolex lenses, new camera features, and the new website content!
Thank you all for reading and supporting us, we can’t wait to get these products into your hands and see what you all do with them. Some of you have been telling us about some of the projects you plan to make on the D16, and it is very exciting! There is no better encouragement and inspiration for us than to hear about your plans for this gear, it is after all why we are doing this :)
The Kodak Brownie...
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Mar 12, 2012 - Apr 11, 2012 (30 days)
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Our everlasting gratitude and email updates on our progress with the camera development.Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
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The Digital Bolex Coloring book, with an Illustration of the new camera so you can have your coloring page in the next commercial! (international buyers please add $2 for shipping)Estimated delivery: Apr 2012
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A DVD copy of our Digital Bolex Short films and commercials (international buyers please add $5 for shipping)Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
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An official Digital Bolex T-shirt, this design will be limited to kickstarter. OR a Blu-Ray copy of the Digital Bolex Short Films. If you choose the Blu-Ray it will be delivered in July. (international buyers please add $5 for shipping)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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An 11" x 17" fine art full color Screen Print Poster, of the Bolex storybook, final page. (international buyers please add $10 for shipping)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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An 18" x 24" fine art full color Screen Print Poster, of the Bolex storybook, Pages 5 and 6. (international buyers please add $20 for shipping)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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A 24" x 36" fine art full color Screen Print Poster, of the Bolex storybook, First 2 pages. (international buyers please add $25 for shipping)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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A custom made leather camera case made by Saddleback Leather Co. that has the Digital Bolex logo on it, and a T-shirt or Blu-Ray disc. (international buyers please add $25 for shipping)Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
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All of the Above! All of the prints, the camera case, the Blu-Ray Disc, and of course our gratitude! (international buyers please add $55 for shipping)Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
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OK this is it, at this pledge amount you get 1 of 100 Pre-sale Digital Bolex Cameras with serial numbers between 1 - 100. This is an $800 savings under retail price! (Sorry No International Buyers at this time)Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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For the serious collector! A Pre-sale Digital Bolex Camera with serial number between 1 - 100 and all of the above! All of the prints, the bag, the Blu-Ray Disc, and of course our gratitude! (Sorry No International Buyers at this time)Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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A business starter. We will help you launch your new company or create custom co-branding opportunities with your brand and the Digital Bolex brand. Message us for more info if you're interested in this reward.Estimated delivery: Jul 2012