About this project
STRETCH GOAL #1 - unlocked!!!
We will install a magnetic sensor on all Hercules in the reward level $149 and up (need large wheels on Hercules to clear magnets on the ground or track)!!! Please see update #2 for detailed description.
STRETCH GOAL #2 - unlocked!!!
We will incorporate stop motion feature in all Hercules with magnet sensor upgrade (reward level $149 and up)! Please see update #5 for more information.
Pre-order Shutter Trigger Upgrade - add $30 to your pledge amount
The shutter trigger automatically synchronizes the camera's shutter to actuate in between the Hercules' movements. This new function will bridge the connection between our product and your camera, turning The Hercules into a true shoot-move-shoot camera system. Please read update #7 for more information.
Sliders and motion control units give you precise, motorized control of camera moves and create stunning time-lapses. Unfortunately, conventional systems are heavy, complicated to use, and can cost thousands of dollars. The time and skill required to set up a conventional motion control system prevents people from using them whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.
Our team of electrical engineers, software developers, and filmmakers set out to create a very portable, low cost product that was capable of creating the beautiful shots of motion control units. The result is The Hercules.
The Hercules was designed to be small but powerful. It easily fits into a shirt pocket and can be assembled in seconds. The Hercules runs smoothly over any flat surface so it doesn't need a slider track. This gives you incredible, low angle shots that are not limited by track length.
PRODUCT FEATURES AND SPECS
- Product Weight: 4 oz/110 g (Hercules with curved wheel bracket)
- Max Camera Weight: 20 lbs/9 kg (using optional cheese plate for support)
- Max Continuous Speed: 1 inch/sec or 2.5 cm/sec
- Index Distance for Time-Lapse: .01" - 1.0" / .25 mm - 25 mm
- Index Cycle Time for Time-Lapse: 1 sec. - 60 sec.
- Power: 1 AAA battery
- Battery Life: up to 1.5 hrs for continuous move/up to 5 days in time-lapse mode
The Hercules is very versatile and can produce a great variety of shots such as breath taking motion controlled time-lapse shots, stunningly smooth linear moves, curved shots, and panoramas.
The Hercules is able to achieve its wide variety of shots by using changeable brackets. From the inline wheel bracket to the curved wheel bracket to the 360-degree panorama bracket, The Hercules can easily produce a variety of shots in seconds. It does all of this while being powered by a single AAA battery!
Curved Wheel Bracket
When attached to the curved wheel bracket, The Hercules becomes an essential tool not just for film makers but also professionals, from real estate agents to online retailers, who want to capture beautiful videos of their products where ever they go.
The Hercules drive unit can be easily attached to the panoramic base to create panoramic photos, panning videos, and time lapses. The panoramic base contains two components, the base containing a ball bearing and the clamp to hold the drive unit, that can easily be disassembled and fit in your pocket.
The Hercules Track is made from extruded aluminum that is both light and attractive. Both ends are supported by four adjustable feet so you can create smooth videos anywhere. The 20 inch track weighs about 1 pound and has universal threaded holes on 3 spots along the track for mounting to a tripod.
Cheese Plate, Large Wheel Set, and Free-Rotating Drive Wheel
For heavier cameras and lens, adding the cheese plate to The Hercules allows the payload to be distributed evenly among the three wheels for better traction. It enables the camera lens to point to any direction independent of The Hercules movement (similar to a gun turret on a tank).
An additional, large diameter wheel set can be swapped with the standard wheel set in a few seconds using the thumbscrews that hold the wheels in place. The large wheel set effectively doubles the speed of The Hercules should you choose to move the camera faster. Additionally, the track and swivel base only works with the large wheel set on The Hercules.
The drive wheel on The Hercules is attached directly to the shaft of the motor inside the body, and therefore it cannot rotate by itself. The free-rotating drive wheel can be used in place of the drive wheel to allow the dolly to move without the aid of the motor, turning it into a traditional, manual dolly.
USE WITH ANY CAMERA
The Hercules was designed with both professionals and amateurs in mind. From smartphones to professional cameras, The Hercules works with almost any camera on the market that has a universal camera thread mount.
TIME LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY
Using The Hercules' intuitive one button control, you can choose between 5 different cycle times for your time-lapse shots ranging from 1 to 60 seconds while the motor can be programmed to index from 0.01 to 1 inch in either direction. This provides a wide range of speed to capture that perfect time lapse.
With structural components machined from aircraft grade aluminum, The Hercules is not only attractive to look at, but it is incredibly strong and durable. Components dimensions are precisely controlled during manufacturing processes to ensure proper fit for every device.
We paid attention to every detail when we designed The Hercules, all the way down to the wheels. The wheels are made of Delrin, almost as strong as aluminum, and have smooth rubber tires for no-slip traction as well as ball bearings to reduce rolling resistance.
The brain of The Hercules is a microcontroller that works in conjunction with a motor driver and power management circuitry to maintain a stable power source for consistent motor speed.
The PCB design has gone through several iterations to achieve a very small footprint that is required to fit inside the aluminum casing.
The Hercules has been designed, built, and tested. This product is ready to go into large-scale production and we have already sold a small quantity to very satisfied customers. We are looking to the Kickstarter community to help us meet minimum manufacturer's quantities. By contributing to our Kickstarter, you will be purchasing at a low, low price a product that is ready for production.
BUILT BY A TEAM OF EXPERTS
The Hercules was designed and built by a team of engineers and filmmakers who were looking to create a product that could be used by professionals and amateurs alike. Working from Southern California we have strived to create an easy to use, fully functional motion control system in the smallest and lightest possible package.
THANK YOU! We greatly appreciate your interest in The Hercules. By contributing to our Kickstarter, you will be enabling anybody with a camera to be able to create incredible footage. Please help spread the word about The Hercules on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and help us get this incredible product into the hands and pockets of people all over the world. Please view the rewards below...
#1. You will receive Kickstarter pricing on Hercules products if you decide to buy after March 2016.
#2. Hercules with panoramic base
#3. Hercules with fixed wheel bracket
#4. Hercules with curved wheel bracket and a set of large wheels
#5 & #6. Hercules with curved wheel bracket, set of large wheels, panoramic base, free-rotating drive wheel, and cheese plate
#7 & #8 & #9. Everything from reward #5 plus a 20" linear track, a ball head mount, and a smartphone clamp
Risks and challenges
As with any electro-mechanical product, there are risks associated with producing a sophisticated device such as The Hercules. Supporters should feel very confident that we have spent the past 6 months product testing The Hercules by professional videographers and filmmakers.
We performed a prototype build as well as a preproduction build using a small quantity of units. By doing so, we worked out the manufacturing bugs that doomed so many projects on Kickstarter.
The risks associated with this product is greatly reduced by the steps we have taken prior to full scale manufacturing.
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