Polepod: The worlds first totally pocketable tripod that transforms the hiking, ski, or tent poles you already have into a rock-solid tripod.
What you can do with a smartphone mounted to a tripod that you can't do handheld:
Create DLSR-like long-exposure shots:
Amazing HDR shots
And of course, the family shot your kids won't let anyone else take! (Or that is missed because no one is around, or that is muffed by a nice, but incompetent, helper.
What is that funky shape on top of the polepod? How do I adjust the polepod to fit my poles? What makes it stable? How do you know whether you can trust me to execute this project?. All these questions and more will be answered in this short video
What you get with each package
As mentioned in the video, all packages will give you access to a short instructional video showing you what apps to purchase and how to use them on your i-Phone to produce time lapse, long exposure, and amazing HDR photos.
The early adopter and meat and potatoes packages:
The basic polepod consists of the base (right) and camera mount (left). These are prototypes. Yours will be produced through injection molding and thus be prettier. The material will be nylon, which will make your polepod pretty much indestructable. I'm also including some 86 lb. test rope, ground stake sized to fit snugly in the polepod, and instructions on how to tie bulletproof knots. This will allow you to conveniently use the polepod with only 2 poles as shown in the video.
The polepod is totally usable on it's own, but a ballhead to get the position of the camera just right is a nice thing to have. Try it without, you can always buy one of the many ball heads available out there, or upgrade below.
Everything else, except the Enchilada with Poles:
The Giottos MH1004 ballhead (left) allows you to position the camera exactly where you want it. There are lots of ballheads out there, but I like this one for its compact size, ease of use, and ability to handle my DSLR. I'm also including the smartphone adapter shown in the video, which should handle pretty much any smartphone.
Enchilada With Poles:
The poles I have chosen are the same as used in the opening of the video. They are entry level adjustable hiking poles that should fit just about anyone. Walk into REI and you can spend a great deal more money for not much more functionality. Hiking poles are great, for the following reasons:
They improve safety by giving you 2 more support points on uncertain or sketchy terrain
They engage the whole body, reducing fatigue and impact in the legs, knees, and feet (They save me on downhills, a totally different experience without them.)
You can make a great tripod out of them with an innovative new product called polepod!
More background can be found here (I am not affiliated with this group):
At least 10% of all profits will go to Watoto children's villages in Uganda. Why? The need is incredible, and the vision is on very long-term sustainabilty by making a conscious effort to raise the future leaders of Africa. Take a look at the video, they are doing amazing work.
Way better than a gift card. I think any kickstarter project makes an awesome gift. I've tried to make it easy for you to gift a polepod. Simply right click on the picture below, save it, print it, and stick it in a card. It's a unique gift, and a lot more fun than just about anything else I can think of. And if the project is not funded, go out to dinner together, on you - it's a win-win, folks!
They'll love it
Risks and challenges
There are four main risks in product development - product risk, timing risk, budget risk, and manufacturing risk
1) Product risk: Does the Polepod do what it says, and is it usable? I think most of this risk is behind us thanks to a robust prototype phase. But, the collaborators will help fill in some blanks to make any last minute design tweaks that may be necessary before production tooling is purchased.
2) Timing risk: In product development, things usually take a bit longer than you think. I've tried to pad my schedule, but you never know. Worst case, your pole pod is delivered a bit late.
3) Budget risk: This risk is mine, not yours. Projects have a habit of costing more than you think they will, but I have solid numbers for tooling and part cost. Bottom line is I'll do whatever it takes to make the project happen.
4) Manufacturing Risk: The Polepod will be produced with a process called injection molding. I have significant experience designing large, complex plastic parts that have been injection molded (About $1,000,000 in tooling released to date for designs I have been responsible for, see youtube video.) These parts will be manufactured by a top notch supplier that also makes components for companies like Graco. I have tooling and piece-part cost and high confidence in the supplier, so I think manufacturing risk is actually pretty small.
In order to produce the Polepod economically, injection mold tooling will need to be purchased and a first production run financed. My funding goal is actually less than half of what this will actually cost. I'm willing to "bootstrap" the rest because I think I'm a good designer and a bad marketer. I believe this product will thrive on word of mouth once YOU use it and others see how well it works!
The polepod threaded connector is (1/4"-20). This is the standard size for virtually any camera accessory. The three pole configuration with hiking poles can hold at least 20 lbs. While I haven't tried it, (I don't own a super-big camera) I think a medium size DSLR with a respectable telephoto lens would be no trouble. I recommend that the other configurations (2-pole, tent poles) be limited to standard DSLR cameras or smaller. Aftermarket adapters are available to hold ipads, ipad minis, and other tablets. While I haven't tried them, (I don't own a tablet) I feel confident that the polepod would handle these with no problem.
You might see these advertised as "monopods." The main use of these (IMO) is to steady a camera (while holding it) for situations requiring "a little" longer shutter speed than you can produce handheld. In theory, you can poke the tip of the pole into the ground and leave it unattended, but in practice this requires that you have "just right" soil conditions and can still be pretty unstable. Definite risk of it falling over and damaging your equipment.
With respect to photo quality, I've taken plenty of shots with this configuration (up to an hour time-lapse, and 15 second stills) and I'm not able to detect any motion in the shot. Full disclosure, in very high wind conditions this might be different.
With respect to falling over: As a rule of thumb, the tension in the rope is about equal to the weight of the object on top of the tripod. So, a 2 lb. DSLR will put about 2 lbs. of tension on the rope. In practice, using the ground stake provides plenty of holding power. I've even uesd a carabiner to clip the rope to a camelbak on the ground, which was more than enough to hold up my DSLR. The supplied rope is 86 lb. test, so you have huge margin there, and the rope is tied securely to the polepod and the ground stake so that it can't slip free. The only real way to knock it over is to run into the rope itself.
Everything in Enchilada, plus a set of entry level hiking poles. If you don't own hiking poles, no time like the present! They turn hiking into a whole body workout and take stress off the knees and feet, particularly on down hills. And, they provide stability on sketchy terrain. I don't hike without em'
The collaborator: As soon as the project is funded, you will be express shipped a prototype whole enchilada polepod package AND a prototype for the next NV8 Design product, both lovingly produced in my shop. We'll talk about your first impressions and I'll do my best to incorporate your input. You will get production versions as well.
Gotta have it now: If you miss out on the collaborator, as soon as the project is funded you will get the whole enchilada in prototype form. Contrary to what you have been told, rapid prototypes still aren't cheap! Of course you will get the production version polepod when it is available.