About this project
Thanks for checking out my Kickstarter project! If you have any questions after watching the video and reading below, please feel free to send me a message or post a question.
What are the AirTracks?
The AirTracks is an inflatable slider system, meant to replace the weight and bulkiness of metal sliders. Going on hikes and trying to get onto airplanes with a traditional metal slider is neither fun nor easy. The AirTracks takes the silky-smooth movements of a metal slider, and shrinks it down to the size of a small lens. This makes it extremely easy to go place to place without having to worry about airport security, carrying cumbersome gear on hikes, or damaging your expensive metal slider. Plus, you can always keep a 5-foot slider tucked inside your camera bag, so you'll have it whenever it's needed!
How were the AirTracks developed?
I've been an avid hiker my entire life; hiking in China, all over Brazil and South America, countless places in the US and lots of places in between. Since getting into videography, I've found it's been extremely difficult, obnoxious and cumbersome to carry around a long length of metal with me wherever I go, and thus the AirTracks were born. It's basically as simple as that... as the old saying goes, "Find a problem and fix it."
Where to use the AirTracks
The AirTracks were made to be taken almost anywhere. A few examples include:
- Indie film-making
- Product shots (both in the studio and on location)
- Stock videos (this is HUGE! Film in places traditional sliders can't go. A lot of people make their living off stock videography / photography!)
- Hikes, backpacking or camping
- Freelance cinematographers
- Air Travel
- Real estate videos
- Snowboard terrain parks and other extreme sports
- So much more... the list is limitless!
How to use the AirTracks
As soon as you're ready to shoot, un-clip the dolly from your bag and pull out the tracks. Within two breaths and a few squeezes of the built in hand pump, you have a 5-foot dolly ready to use wherever you are. The weight limit for the AirTracks is 8 pounds. That's a lot in the world of DSLR's, because the average camera / lens set-up weighs in at around 3 pounds. (Go-Pro Cameras and cell camera phones weigh even less!) And if it's a pretty windy day, the grommets around the edge allow you to hold it down with tent stakes. As soon as you're finished, twist the mouth valve to instantly release the air, roll it up and you're on your way. The AirTracks were made to get dirty, so once you get home just spray it down with a hose and they'll be dry in no time.
What will the money be used for?
The funds raised will go towards making two molds: one for the inflatable tracks, and one for the plastic dolly. The rest of the materials, such as the wheels, ball bearings, tripod screw, etc, can be purchased right off the shelf, but we can't move forward without the two molds. Every dollar helps, so thank you so much for your support!
Based on manufacturing costs, we're offering the AirTracks to our awesome backers at $100 less than what they will retail for after funding ends.
We're offering two main rewards; the complete AirTracks kit, and the kit with a Manfrotto Ball Head. Included in the kit is:
- The 5' long inflatable tracks
- The plastic dolly
- Tripod screw (3/8")
- Two carabiners to clip the dolly to the outside of your backpack
- Small stuff sack for storing the inflatable tracks
The second option is to select the reward with the Manfrotto Ball Head. We're not marking up the price on these a cent, instead we're just trying to make it easier for those who don't already have a ball head.
Again, thank you so much for checking out this project and for your support!
Risks and challenges
The AirTracks has been a project nearly two years in the making, and we've certainly had our fair share of challenges to get where we are now. It took seven different revisions from 5 manufacturers until we finally nailed it with what you see here.
In the film, we used prototypes made by hand, which takes too much time and is fairly expensive. To go into production, we're going to have a mold made so multiple AirTrack units can be made at once, very quickly. The company we're working with has been nothing short of amazing in guiding us through prototyping and the next steps to take after our project is funded. They're even willing to track the progress of the pledges, and start the molding process as soon as we're funded (possibly before the Kickstarter time runs out) in order to better meet the March shipping deadline.
We shot the film with an aluminum version of the dolly, as it was out of our price range to start manufacturing the plastic models. Plastic products involve a process called injection molding, where a mold of the dolly is cast out of steel, and injected with plastic. The mold itself is what's cost prohibitive, it takes weeks to laser and hand cut, and in the end it can weigh anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of pounds. We're working with a local company that knows we're a Kickstarter-backed project, and they've been extremely helpful in teaching us the ins-and-outs of plastic production. The wheels, ball bearings and tripod screws have already been sourced, so we're absolutely confident that the plastic dolly can be made without any problems whatsoever.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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