The only follow focus controlled by a trigger. Virtually silent, it offers both true Run & Gun capability and cinematic focus movement. Read more
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on February 13, 2014.
About this project
Rebooted campaign with lower reward costs and goal (and new stretch goals)! http://kck.st/1bQN0Ao
We set out to create a follow focus system that allows precise control of your focus while remaining in complete control of your rig and doesn’t require a second person to get the perfect shot, allowing true RUN and GUN shooting for indie and commercial filmmakers! We call it the Silencer.
A Pro Look and Simple to Use : Our goal when designing the Silencer was to make it simple to use. To accomplish this, we decided to use a trigger for the focus control; It reminded us of a video game joystick we've used for years, and we knew that anyone could pick it up and feel comfortable using it. Even someone with no experience could use the Silencer's trigger, know exactly what they're doing, and have fun with it!
We also wanted the Silencer to provide flexibility. We engineered the trigger control so that it can be mounted on any handle style or any round object and have precise function: The ultimate flexibility!
To allow users to easily and comfortably control the speed of focus, we precisely calibrated the pressure sensitivity of the trigger. We designed it so if you just lightly touch the trigger, it will spin the ring slowly and give you an incredibly smooth focus pull. If you pull the trigger all the way, it will reach a remarkable speed, and it will stop as soon as you let go. Every level in between is crafted specifically so you can achieve the exact speed of focus you desire.
Motor Rail and Belt System: We developed the motor rail and belt drive system to address existing design issues with other systems, including the bulky size of their gear drive, the distracting, loud noises they produce and compatibility issues with other gear.
Addressing these limitations required an outside the box solution like the Motor Rail System. This design provides the flexibility to fit any kind of rig. The Silencer motor delivers more power at a fraction of the sound levels compared to the standard servo motors used in other follow focus designs. In addition, the drive motor is enclosed in the rail and located in the rear of the camera. This makes the system quieter than other systems during operation; it's virtually silent.
Our engineers decided the belt drive is the best solution for this follow focus since there is maximum flexibility and it is very easy to setup. This motor rail is a perfect fit for our Tri-Rail Quick Release System. The combination of our motor rail and the Tri-Rail System consolidates the follow focus into a silent, compact, and sleek system.
Proudly placing your camera on a pedestal: Fitting all the technology and equipment into a compact system was one of the biggest challenges to making the Silencer. We wanted to offer camera operators a smooth, sleek and professional looking system that they would be proud to put their camera on.
We designed an elegant control platform, the unit that houses the main electronic control system, to compliment the camera beautifully. It's as if you're placing your camera on a pedestal.
Another cool feature is that the platform is a mount on its own. That way you can place it on a flat surface like a table or a floor and it will hold the camera as steady as a tripod.
The control platform is made to be simple, sleek, and efficient. In the rear of the platform are the on/off control, trigger/motor ports and the external charging port. The battery door is also accessible from the back, so you can switch out batteries in seconds and then continue operating the Silencer. Each port and control is clearly identified using laser marking.
The Silencer & Trigger easily mount to all rigs.
System Flexibility: The system works in three different setups, which allows you to mount it on any rig that you want to use.
The Center Mount takes advantage of the middle rail of our Tri-Rail Quick Release System. This setup uses the tension pulley, mounted on either outside rail, to tighten the belt on the focus ring and motor pulley. This setup keeps the outside rails free for other equipment.
The Side Mount places the motor rail in one of the two outside locations and uses the tension pulley to tighten the belt on the focus ring and motor pulley.
The Floating Mount completely separates the motor rail from the normal rail locations. The motor rail is securely mounted using two motor rail supports that pivot to tighten the belt on the focus ring and motor pulley.
Since our triggers can mount on any handle, you can also get multiple triggers to leave on every rig; that way you can set up your camera, plug in the pre-mounted trigger, and you're ready to go. We also offer a low profile quick release, which lets you easily take the entire Silencer / camera combination and quickly change rigs.
Also, if you need extra room at the bottom of the system, the Silencer Control Platform can be removed and mounted on the rails using the rail mount included with the Silencer Pro Systems.
A system for everyone: Silencer Lite, Silencer Pro, & Silencer Pro Zoom: We wanted to offer the lite version with all of the basics to enable beginner filmmakers to take advantage of the benefits of the Silencer. The Silencer Lite kit includes the Trigger, lite rail system, motor rail, two 6” polished rod extensions and caps, Li-ion battery pack and charger. The Silencer Lite Control Platform can mount on any 15mm rail system or anything that accepts ¼”-20 screws.
The Lite system offers a lower level of pressure sensitivity and maximum motor speed as compared to the Pro version, but still gives entry level filmmakers the same perks of the Silencer System, which is years ahead of any other system on the market; don't forget, even with a lower price, you can shoot on your own!
The Silencer Pro System offers an advanced electronic control system that delivers a precise power curve which provides increased trigger sensitivity and higher ramping acceleration to quickly move to and from multiple focus points. The Pro kit offers the most steady and repeatable control on any rig.
This kit comes loaded with all the options! Includes the Pro Control Platform, Motor Rail, optional floating motor mounts, Trigger Control, Tri-Rail Quick Release System which offers 3 rig setups, drive belt, drive pulley, belt tension pulley & mount, 6” red rod extensions & caps, ring band, control platform mount and additional mounting hardware. That's a ton of awesome gear. If you're looking for a system to add production value to your projects, the Silencer will deliver!
The Silencer Pro Zoom; The Pro Zoom gives operators the option to plug in two triggers and two motors, one set for precise focus and the other specifically optimized for zoom control.
This is all built into one compact, sleek control box. Increased trigger sensitivity offers the ability to use slow, smooth zooms or quick zooms just by pulling the trigger. Having two triggers for zoom and focus is going to put you in complete control of your camera.
Tested on set:
We went through extensive testing of the Silencer to make sure its ready for on set use. Towards the end of testing, the Silencer was used on the short film The Money, which consisted of only a single continuous shot.
The story was told heavily with focus, and the Silencer performed perfectly. The director, Christopher Steinberger, comments, "I definitely couldn't have made this film without the Silencer."
How far we've come:
We've been through five prototype / conceptual stages and improved the electronics over the course of a year. The original idea started as a simple motor driven focus system on a stock rail system. Each phase we implemented some major improvements from the trigger control system, aluminum motor rail, tri-rail quick release, and the last major improvement was the pedestal electronics enclosure with onboard battery.
-- Production and Delivery -- During our Kickstarter funding campaign, we'll be letting people know more about the Silencer, launching a major marketing campaign, conducting surveys, updating FAQ's and keeping in contact with everyone. As soon as we know it’s funded, we will be in contact with our approved vendors and get the ordering process started. We have already done multiple prototypes and many hours of film shoot testing. We have fine-tuned the performance and the mechanical design in order to produce the most advanced and easy to use follow focus available.
The manufacturing of these systems and fulfillment of rewards will happen in four Stages:
Stage 1: Final Design Completion – We have done extensive testing of the current design and working prototypes that are representative of the finished products. We will be taking surveys, FAQ’s and other feedback from you guys, the backers, in order to complete the final design tweaks. We want to make sure we give you exactly what you want.
Based on our level of funding we will go straight to production tooling and we will incorporate the changes encompassed in our achieved stretch goals. (4 to 6 weeks)
Stage 2: Manufacturing – Our circuit boards will be fabricated and assembled to our specifications by a U.S. assembly house, and then tested using our stringent test program developed during the prototype stages. Hardware components will be CNC machined, die casted, polished and hard anodize finished.(Approximately 6 weeks for die cast tooling & 4 weeks for all CNC manufacturing)
Stage 3: Assembly – All manufactured components including circuit boards, drive motors, machined components, & die casted parts will be evaluated upon arrival. Once parts are approved we will commence assembly of the units.
After assembly, all units will again go through our testing process to verify the electronics, trigger units, and motor assemblies meet our test plan specifications. We plan to do the assembly in Syracuse, NY. We will build the assemblies based on volume. The Earliest and Early Birds get priority completion. (4 to 6 weeks total for assembly)
Stage 4: Shipping and Delivery - As units are completed, they will be promptly packaged with all the included items. Once they are completed, we will ship orders with all included items for that specific reward. Orders will be shipped with Early Birds receiving first shipment, respectively. (Approximately 2 weeks depending on quantity of orders)
Domestic and International Patents Pending on the Silencer System and the Tri-Rail Quick Release Systems.
-- STRETCH GOALS -- Our main funding goal is the minimum required to get the first Silencer Systems built and out in the field helping filmmakers tell their stories. We have many other additions in mind for future upgrades and products. As we get additional pledges the following options and upgrades will happen:
12 Volt adapter ($70,000) We will offer an upgraded electronics package for the Silencer System that can be used with either the onboard Li-ion battery pack OR a 12 volt battery pack.
Add Additional color options ($93,000) We will offer a SELECTION OF COLORS to anodize the aluminum components of your Silencer and Tri-Rail Quick Release System.
If we reach this goal, we will do a survey to decide which additional colors to make available.
19mm Rod Option ($126,000) We will add an option for the 19mm rods which means we will offer: the Silencer System compatible with 19mm rods, 19mm motor rail,19mm Tri-Rail Quick Release System, and 19mm Red Threaded Rods & Caps. We'll also add a 19mm option available as an optional reward for any contributor that selects a reward that includes a Silencer Pro.
Risks and challenges
Thank you for your support! If we can’t meet our goal then unfortunately the Silencer concept will not be available for filmmakers! BUT we believe in this concept so much that we have battled through the costs of prototyping, development and patents prior to bringing it to the Kickstarter community. We are very confident in our concept, design and our manufacturing supply base to deliver this technology and make this the product we believe it is: A game changer!
The design process included a group of engineers with over 120 years of manufacturing and mechanical / electrical design experience. There could be some minor unknowns going into production but we feel very confident in our ability to address and resolve any issues that may arise.
We are very excited to bring this product to market and allow filmmakers the ability to do what they love but now with much more capability. Thank you for joining us on this adventure.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I’d like to see some stable test footage from the silencer racking between objects at different distances. Any delay between trigger pull and focus action?
Yes. The motor is very strong and works well with stiff lenses.
No. The motor is strong however we have a clutch system that will slip once the lens hits the end of the travel. This clutch is easily adjusted depending on the lens stiffness. This allows use of complete travel of the lens. Photos and more information to come.
We may offer an option for gear arrangement or belt drive. We are working out the details of this.
It's a Li-Ion battery;
We used the unit on set for 4 days. The battery didn't need recharge. So we left the system run continuously and it ran for 4.5 days.
All parts and accessories will be readily available following the successful Kickstarter campaign on our website. During the campaign we will be posting the spare belts, batteries, and additional triggers for multiple rig setups on the FAQ's with the additional support levels.
We are using a LI-Ion battery pack which lasts a long duration of use. However we do have on our stretch goal for power cable and upgraded electronics us power source such as your 14v battery.
Yes the Silencer platform and the Tri-Rail system accepts ¼ - 20 hardware used on standard Quick releases.
No you can use the side or floating mount on any 15mm rail system.
It can be applied to any style rig with 15mm rails.
No but the trigger will fit any handle on the market.
Check this video of the silencer motor later today. In this you can hear how silent the motor is as compared to the servo driven systems. http://youtu.be/sE6_eTDZDM8
We will be offering longer cables for the crane/jib use once Kickstarter is successful. These will be listed on our website.
A wireless version is on our list of long term plans for 24shots and the Silencer.
Silencer lite weighs 1lb 12 oz. The Silencer Pro weighs 2lb 2.8 oz.
- (30 days)