About this project
FUZE Ti's New Smartslate:
Redesign and improved based on feedback from those who have used the first slate (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/466895479/fuze-ti-steel-slate/), the new timecode generator can be used by itself or coupled with clapper and panel. It is also designed to lower the initial fund needed to get everything made. For our Kickstarter, one complete slate will start at $600.00 USD and standalone display generator at $450. After the campaign is complete the retail price will become $699.99 USD and $499.99 respectively. Check out our website for more photos and information on related products at http://www.FUZETi.com.
All of the attached photos are of the prototype and as such the texture of the 3D printed enclosure is pretty rough. The final injection molded product will have a smooth finish.
- Timecode generator supports frame rates of: 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 29.97DF, 30, and 30DF
- Drift between devices is less than one frame (~35ms) every 24 hours
- Sync from other timecode devices (Runs on internal clock after jamming)
- Jam or run off of an external timecode generator
- Worry free rain or shine with Water Resistance (IP 55)
- Standard 5-pin timecode input/output
- 1/4" TRS timecode input/output
- Easy to adjust display brightness knob
- 16 hour run time with display continuously lit on maximum with 4 AA batteries (Batteries not included), or run indefinitely off of an external power source DC 5-16V.
- Display can be removed from panel and clapper for standalone operation.
- Solid wood clapper sticks makes a clear and sharp snap with your choice of color, black & white, or natural wood front.
- Solid and sturdy construction. The front panel is made of steel and powder-coated with white dry-erasable surface. The display module is black injection-molded ABS plastic and houses the electronics.
Extra sealing upgrade will allow you to take the display into shallow waters. Included will be a sealing cap for the 5-pin Lemo port. We won't be able to test up to IP67 rating with 3D printed parts, so final rating will not be available until production models are made.
Products available after Kickstarter Campaign:
- Convenient LED front lit panel
- Larger user swappable slate panel for front boxes
What is timecode?
Timecode is used to identify every frame of video or motion picture, and as a time marker for audio. It is a standard set forth by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) that allows different devices such as cameras and sound to share a common time-stamp for every frame on all related media.
Why is timecode important?
When shooting with multiple cameras or if you are recording sound on a separate device, syncing up all the devices with timecode can save you time from having to manually match up all the media in post-production.
Who uses timecode?
Timecode slates are commonly found on television and film productions of all sizes. In the past only the very high end and expensive equipment were equipped with timecode input and output. Today, we have tons of high end and yet affordable equipment with the ability to jam timecode used in both large scale feature productions to low budget shorts and music videos. It doesn't matter if you're shooting with the newest Red or Arri cameras or affordable DSLRs, any production can benefit from the use of timecode.
How do I use timecode?
The best use of timecode is to jam it directly into a camera or sound recorder that has a timecode input. For the equipment that do not have such input, you can record the LTC timecode into one of your audio track that can later be decoded in post. The slate's digital readout of the timecode will at least give you an accurate reference for any camera.
Once the production is finished, every frame and every audio file will have a correlating timecode stamp you can view in many NLE editors and DAWs. Some of these software can automatically sync up all footages from multiple cameras and audio files by matching up the timecode embedded in each file.
How does this compare to other timecode devices such as Ambient slates, Lockit Boxes and Denecke slates?
The FUZE timecode generator uses a temperature compensated oscillator. The clock has a tolerance of +/-1ppm, capable of achieving an accuracy of less than one frame drift over a 24 hour period. Operating at temperatures from -10 to 60°C while maintaining a stability of +/-1.5ppm. Right on par with Ambient and Denecke devices. The projected 10-year tolerance of our clock is +/-3.5ppm, a mass improvement over the typical +/-10ppm temperature-compensated quartz crystal over 10 years.
The Video below shows the old prototype in comparision with the Denecke and Ambient. While the physical design of the current prototype has changed drastically, the timing electronics has remained exactly the same and unaffected.
Is it durable? Extreme weather?
Stress tests so far include baking in the car that went up to 150F mid day and a low of 90F, as well as tossed in the freezer. Both test still kept timecode within 1 frame over 24 hours with one running at normal room temperature or 75F. Ran low temperature test with the display at the dimmest setting in 18ºF temperature compared to one running at 70ºF. After 12 hours we've drifted just under half a frame compared with the one running at 70ºF. The batteries lasted about 18 hours before display became too dim to be useful.
The standard unit do not need extra protection against heavy rain or spray of water. It comes with weatherproof (IP55) as standard. Further sealing upgrade is available and will survive shallow submersion in water.
How much development is there left to do?
The prototype is already a complete and working product. We have already achieved the most important feature of a highly accurate clock and worked out all the mechanical design.
We have almost everything needed to build the production units from suppliers to manufacturers set and ready to go. The only supplies we still need to work out is the color print for the clapper sticks, basic operations printout, and the packaging. First batch is expected to ship about 6-8 weeks after the project is funded.
What your pledge will pay for:
The funds raised by this kickstarter will pay for all the components and manufacturing of each unit. The biggest cost of the manufacturing process is the non-recurring engineering cost such as tooling for the mold and fabricating the front panel.
Everyone who contributes to this project will receive updates throughout the entire production progress. We will also post videos, available only to Kickstarter supporters, to show you the actual manufacturing process. We will visit and interview some of the companies involved in making the printed circuit boards, plastic mold injection, assemblies, testing, and more!
If this Kickstarter is successful, we will send out a survey about one month following the campaign asking for your shipping information. We will ship each unit based upon the date you joined our Kickstarter campaign.
We are proud to have this entirely made and assembled in the USA.
Shipping cost is pretty steep even in my own opinion. I've been keeping an eye on the cost from various carriers for the past several weeks and the average seems to be $100 for a single slate to most of Europe and China. I do wish myself that there was a more economical shipping rate but this was the best I could muster.
Join our social networks!
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FUZETi
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/fuze-ti-llc
- Google+: https://plus.google.com/+FuzetiLLC
Special thanks to...
Major thanks to my family and friends for their continued support through the development of the slate. Special thanks to Adrian Zaw, Bao Quang Pham, Daniel McCoy, Kenneth Ho, Kyle Portman, Helen Kim, Nate Votran, Lily Pham, Nam Luong, and Sourita Siri for being part of building this Kickstarter campaign.
You can still check out the first attempt at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/466895479/fuze-ti-steel-slate
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge for this project is living up to the trusted standards and reliability that Ambient and Denecke have established in the film industry. Current side by side testing shows that our slate is just as accurate with less than one frame drift over 24 hour period. Based on the specs of various components used in this slate, we are confident the accuracy will be consistent through every unit when produced in volume. We will ensure accuracy with quality control and extensive testing of each unit before they are shipped out.
The second challenge is building and testing every single unit in a timely manner. The prototypes took 2 hours to assemble per unit, and went through several days of testing. We have plans and a solid idea on how to reduce the time required for each unit while maintaining the same level of quality control. Once production actually begins, we will have to adapt and overcome any unforeseen issues that may arise. With most of the suppliers and manufactures local to California, we will be able to quickly diagnose and quickly remedy those issues. We will also hire a technician to help put out slates at a steady pace.
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