Postcards from a Geek: San Francisco is an art project brought to you by Marcel Munro and Murray Ellis, where unique photograph postcards are created to document the famous and not so famous parts of San Francisco with the goal of getting you to smile when receiving a custom postcard made just for you.
As we tour San Francisco, we’ll be taking extremely high quality photos of different places and printing them on thermal printers as we go. Then we will mail them off from the nearest post office straight to you. The end goal of this project is to kickstart our photo book production of “Postcards from a Geek: San Francisco” which is a collection of the postcards sent to you and other supporters. The creation of this artistic book has been a dream of ours for a while now.
Whenever we traveled, there were those in our lives, mostly family and friends, who were absolutely thrilled to not only hear about our trips, but also to receive something from the trip. Often a postcard and a personal message meant the most. The sudden surprise of getting a message and a beautiful picture in the mail goes a long, long way. However, we found that when we were in different cities, the same postcards were available in store after store; there was simply very little variety in postcard images.
We found ourselves returning home from amazing trips, with amazing photographs, while those we love ended up simply with a cookie cutter postcard that hundreds, if not thousands of other strangers got. So, we started doing research, there must be a way to get the best of both worlds, capture amazing shots and send our family and friends meaningful postcards. There was! Using our technical knowledge of printing and macro RAW image modification, and printing on the fly, we figured out a way to rapidly print postcards on the road from our cameras, leading to thrilling postcards, and even more thrilled family and friends.
Awesome! Anything more than postcards?
Oh yes! As mentioned before, the real end goal of this project is a coffee table photo book. We believe the real story for the coffee table book is that all images used were postcards sent to actual people, and in this case actual kickstart users such as you. These books are carefully designed to continue the postcard theme throughout, and to give you a very well-rounded view of the city by the bay, San Francisco.
What gear are we using?
Great Question! We're using 24 megapixel cameras, with multiple lenses ranging from 10mm to 400mm. We also will be carrying a ton of batteries, memory and tripods of different sizes to match the cameras, as well as thermal printers, postcard stock, pens, stamps, and much, much more, close to 80 pounds of gear.
Samples of previous postcards:
What are the postcards about?
The postcards are simple, yet very complex (in a geeky way). The postcards are printed on a thermal printer on true postcard stock. This means that the card stock is glossy on one side and matte on the other. On the glossy side, your one of a kind image will be printed. Using a thermal printer means that the image is water resistant, and in our tests, held up extremely well to USPS mailing. On the matte side will be your custom message, your name, address, stamp and postmark from San Francisco. This side will be hand written and therefore the importance of the matte side (no ink smudges). We’ll also let you know where we were when we took shot, so you know exactly what you’re looking at.
There are 2 types:
1. Limited Edition Postcards:
Limited numbered postcard
Only 10 other people in the entire world will ever receive the same postcard
A personal message will be written on the card
The postcard is mailed from a location near to the shot, so you'll get the local postmark.
The location of the photograph
2. Unique, One of a Kind Postcards:
Only one ever printed and sent to you (one of one)
A personal message will be written on the card
The postcard is mailed from a location near to the shot, so you'll get the local postmark
The location of the photograph
What are the books about?
The book will be amazing! It will feature 100 photos that were actually printed and mailed off. This 8.5x11 book is our real pride and joy, and we hope it will be yours too. Each photo is carefully selected, and documented as to where it was taken. In the front of the book is a map of San Francisco, with an index to where each photo is taken, acting as a quick table of contents. In the back is a large Special Thanks section, thanking our Believers, Owners, and Guardian level supporters.
There are 3 kinds of books:
1. Digital version of the book. The full featured book, featuring all 100 images, all credits, and details in a PDF format for a digital device.
2. Early print of the book. This early print of the book is a soft cover print of the book, and features all the photos in the final book.
3. Hardcover book. This is a limited print of the book. It will be signed, and numbered.
Wait... we're giving away the rights to some prints?
Yes, this is the ultimate thank you. We will be handing over the rights to some of the prints at some pledge levels. We're hoping this will be a great way to reward those who have helped us reach our dream. You will own the images completely, as if you took them yourself!
How will the funding be spent?
Most of the funding will go to the book production, postcard printing supplies and postage. This trip is happening regardless, we would simply like you to come with us. We have never been able to do this before due to the cost of book production, but with your help, we can finally meet our dreams.
Stretch goal! Your postcard as a high resolution wallpaper! (Update #5)
The Geeks have been talking about stretch goals and we've come up with the following: If we hit 150% of our funding goal ($3750) we will turn each one of your postcards into a digital wallpaper for your PC, Mac and Mobile Devices. Around the same time you receive your postcard, you will also receive a personalized link to download your custom wallpaper.
Why are we doing this? We know that some backers will be sending their postcards to others, but would like to see or keep the photo that was taken. So, this is purely a big THANK YOU for your awesome support!
As an example, go over to www.m2mtours.com/download/ and download our Sausalito sample wallpaper for your use right now. Send your friends and family over there to show them what they're missing!
Your pledge now goes further! (Update #2)
While Postcards from a Geek was in deep development, between emails and meetings, an event occurred in Connecticut that would define 2012 and the political structure and conversations of 2013. As we watched the events of Newport and Sandy Hook Elementary unfold Murray and I felt like many, not knowing how to help.
Last night after much discussion about the budget and logistics, we're happy to announce that your pledge now does more. Every $8 and up pledge will enable us to send the families of the Sandy Hook tragedy a unique postcard. These postcards will be just as unique as yours and will be messaged in a similar way. Also, your name will be inscribed as the sponsor of the card, along with Postcards from a Geek.
We understand that this might not be ideal for each one of our pledging members, so you will be able to opt out of this charitable offer at the end of the Kickstarter funding.
Risks and challenges
Since this is a multiphased project, it certainly has complexities, risks and challenges.
The photography and printing of postcards on the run: This is difficult to do, but something we're very comfortable doing. We not only have the gear (DSLR's, lens, tons of memory, batteries and tripods), but we also have mobile thermal printers.We also carry backups for the gear in case anything breaks on the trip. We have done similar projects several times, just not on this scale (normally for family), but are confident in being able to scale correctly.
Sending Postcards: We've tested different paper stocks and printers to confirm that we are using only the best technology, and to make sure that the postcard you get is robust enough to make it through the USPS system.
The development and print of the book: Anyone that has printed a book before knows it's not easy. We've been looking over the last 3 months at different printers, their quality vs. cost vs. timing. We have looked at samples and have even designed the layout already. There is always the potential for printing to take longer than it should, but we've done everything we can get all the planning and prepwork done up front early.
Early Adopter: A custom one of a kind postcard mailed to you. This will be numbered 1/1. No one else will receive this postcard! This postcard, as with all our postcards, will be mailed to you as we walk the streets.
Postcard Fiend: A custom one of a kind postcard mailed to you. This will be numbered 1/1. No-one else will receive this postcard! This postcard, as with all our postcards, will be mailed to you as we walk the streets.
Best of Both Worlds: 3 limited edition, numbered postcards, mailed to you. These will be numbered 1/1, all three will be different. You will also receive the Digital PDF Book of "Postcards from a Geek: San Francisco".
Limited Book: 4 custom one of a kind postcards mailed to you. These will be numbered 1/1, all four will be different. You will also receive a signed numbered (1 of 60) hardcover book of "Postcards from a Geek: San Francisco".
PostART: 4 custom one of a kind postcards mailed to you, as well as a 13x19 inch print of each postcard. You will also receive a signed numbered (1 of 60) hardcover book of "Postcards from a Geek: San Francisco".
Believer: 2 signed numbered (2 of 60) hardcover books of "Postcards from a Geek: San Francisco". You will also receive 12 custom one of a kind postcards mailed to you. These will be numbered 1/1, all twelve will be different. As a huge thank you, you'll also receive the rights to 3 of the postcards you received! Also, special thanks in the book for all to see! New addition to this pledge level: We are also including 2 limited prints. These are signed, and personally messaged 13x19 inch prints of 2 postcards you received (you pick which two).
Owner: 2 signed, personally messaged, numbered (2 of 60) hardcover books of "Postcards from a Geek: San Francisco", with your name in the "SPECIAL THANKS" section of the book for all to see. Also you'll get 2 Digital PDF versions of the book.
Plus you'll receive 12 custom one of a kind postcards mailed to you, and as a huge thank you, you'll also receive the rights to all 12 of the postcards you received! New addition to this pledge level: We are also including 4 limited prints. These are signed, and personally messaged 13x19 inch prints of 4 postcards you received (you pick which two).