About this project
**UPDATES!! Stretch goal announced!**
With our Kickstarter having reached over 100% funding with a few days to go, we're wondering if we can reach for the stars and go for $20k. Well, we think we can do it. Why? Because we know you'll be excited about our plans for mobile device integration. Watch this excerpt from our latest update for more!
Be sure to check out our full video in the updates section. We've also added a video demo of the ergonomics.
Now back to your regularly scheduled program.....
What is the Logger's Lunchbox?
The Logger's Lunchbox (patent pending) is a pain-and-suffering alleviation mechanism that we've been fondly calling "the rest of the DSLR."
It's single device that combines intuitive audio handling, preamplification, metering and monitoring with a unified battery power system for everything. Banish the battery dance!
- A 14v BP-U60 battery mount
- Hot-swappable industry-standard 4 pin XLR input for any external power source
- 2 XLR audio inputs and 2 balanced line outputs
- Switchable phantom power
- Menu-free audio leveling and metering
- Rugged 1/4" headphone jack and volume control
- Accessory power outputs in both 2.1 and 2.5mm standards
- Welded stainless steel construction
Meet The prototypes
Prototype 1.1, or, "the guts" was the first working prototype, and is the mother of this project.
Prototype 2.3: Studio
This is the studio enclosure prototype. It mounts underneath the camera and is mainly for tripod shooting.
The box has five distinct sides. The operator interface side is at an angle to make more room for knobs and metering. It also helps keep the size of the box small. Also, the XLR plugs are conveniently aimed away from the operator so as not to interfere.
Prototype 3.1: Run-N-Gun
This model boasts all of the features listed above with the addition of sturdy ENG (electronic news gathering) ergonomics. It has a few other features as well:
- On-handle mounting for camera accessories
- An internal speaker that is automatically interrupted when headphones are connected
- A fast attachment method for wireless receivers
- An available adapter for V-mount or gold mount batteries (not pictured)
- ENG-style ergonomics and tripod adaptability (not pictured)
It's shown in both its stainless steel birthday suit and matte black finish, but will ship for this Kickstarter in black. We just like showing off the steel because it's shiny.
The Logger's Lunchbox connects to your camera through a single cable system. The power requirements are encoded in these camera-specific cables.
We've developed these cables for:
- Canon 5D Mark III, 5D Mark II, 60D (LP-E6 battery type)
- Canon T5i, T4i, T3i and T2i (LP-E8 battery type)
We're working on cable systems for the following cameras but don't anticipate having them ready for this Kickstarter. We'll get there soon enough, though.
** Update 4/29: The Kickstarter is centered on the Canon DSLRs listed above. Compatability for the following cameras is under development, we haven't extensively tested them yet.
- Nikon D7100
- Panasonic GH4
- Blackmagic Cinema Camera
- Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
- RED Scarlet
if you have a question about a particular camera that you own, please contact us before pledging to ensure that we're looking into it. Thanks!**
If you purchase a system and later upgrade to a camera that uses a different type of battery, all you must do is purchase a new cable that will work for your camera, so long it's available.
*We're testing with the Canon 5D Mark III which uses a battery type common to other Canon DSLRs. It's important to note that some audio features may not work well with all these cameras. Having Magic Lantern installed is highly suggested.
What will the Lunchbox that I receive look like?
Since part of the Kickstarter earnings will go toward streamlining our final enclosure design and automating as much as we can, the Lunchbox that ships will not look 100% the same as what's pictured.
Here are some things we're working on and intend to include with the versions that ship.
For the Run-N-Gun:
- A custom-designed rail system made of machined aluminum
- A shoulder pad and handle
- Boom mic holder
- Audio metering
- Gold or V-mount battery adapters
For the Studio:
- A camera attachment plate with accessory mounting options
- A holder for RF receivers
We'll keep everyone posted on this as we go; we promise you'll get a good look at our first-run production unit before it's all said and done! In the worst case scenario, they'll look a lot cooler than they do now!
Here are our most recent product renderings to give you a better idea:
This is where you come in...
You have the chance to help pull the trigger on a device that is going to help a lot of people who are struggling to make video using DSLR cameras.
With our funding from this Kickstarter, we can automate production of our boards as well as have our box parts manufactured and professionally painted. We will be doing all of the device assembly ourselves and should be shipping by the beginning of August 2014.
Pledges: The Kickstarter Exclusive Pricing
We're offering a special price on our first run, just for our Kickstarter contributors.
**UPDATE!! As we're working to make this the most awesome product possible, we're currently negotiating our final retail prices and have retracted our previous price chart. The first published final retail prices were $699 for the Studio and $999 for the Run-N-Gun.
As the box gets awesomer we expect our final retail prices to be higher, which is great news for our backers because we're leaving the reward amounts as they are.
We'll post the final prices soon so you can see exactly HOW special our Kickstarter exclusive prices really are!!
We have some other exciting offerings for our $30 backers, including t-shorts featuring original artwork by David Stevenson! This is just a mock-up, and is a mere sample of what's to come with these. You can read about it more in our updates section!
Main Video Easter Eggs!!
We planted some "Easter Eggs" in our video to give you a more in-depth look at the process. Enjoy!!
The Logger's Lunchbox all began with a tale of woe and suffering.
Last year, we were producing a monthly half hour program for web and local television using three Canon DSLRs. Over time, we logged the combined time the cameras were running. The total number of hours averaged was 72 hours a month each.
With the cameras running as much as they were, it provided a first-hand look at some common DSLR workflow problems. As it turns out, we'd trained ourselves to endure some terrible abuses without even realizing it.
Batteries were dying at a rapid rate and always at the worst possible times. We were constantly scrambling to find places to charge batteries on location. Audio wasn't trustworthy because there is no headphone monitoring on the cameras. We'd also built a number of rigs using external batteries, all of which got utterly destroyed.
Not to mention, there is almost no practical way to attach an audio preamplifier and an external battery both on a camera the size of a fist.
We were constantly facing new challenges with our job, and our gear was working against us, not with us. We first tried to buy our way out. The first task was to find a universal battery solution. A popular company was selling a "DSLR kit" for just over $1,000.
Some other things we needed were:
- An audio pre-amplifier with phantom power: $469
- Headphone monitoring adapter so audio could monitored straight from the camera : $43.71
- A shoulder rig: $899.95
Since we were using three cameras, we needed three working rigs. The total for putting it all together was just under $7,500, with each rig costing around $2,500.
It was a bit out of our price range. Not to mention, it negated the low-cost benefit of the cameras. For their cost plus $7,500, we could have purchased ENG video cameras.
When you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.
Admittedly, our efforts so far were selfish. We weren't looking at the bigger picture until a production company came in from out of town. They brought a handful of Canon 5D Mark III cameras and were experiencing some familiar problems with power and audio.
Some good friends who were working with DSLR cameras were also starting to talk about problems with power, audio, poor ergonomics of handheld rigs, the annoying incompatibility between hardware from different manufacturers--the list goes on.
We realized that we had to do something bigger.
Enter: The Logger's Lunchbox
After sketching out all of the features our device should have on a piece of scratch paper at a coffee bar and having many long discussions about features and ergonomics, we arrived at the Logger's Lunchbox.
Lance helped build and develop prototype 1.1. You can see him in the process of building and talking about particular internal components and features of the Lunchbox here:
Meanwhile, we began looking heavily into ergonomics and began making decisions about the size of the device, the weight and the placement of the interface elements.
The goal was to make the device annoyance-free by putting everything in the "correct" place. Knobs of a substantial size that wouldn't be easily broken, interface elements positioned where they would be most visible to the operator, etc.
Once we had zeroed in on a starting point for the design, a metal shop produced the parts for the first few prototypes.
Hannah's brother, Matt, welded the boxes together and their dad helped drill the holes for the interface components.
The boxes were then painted (in our shower due to arctic temperatures outside). The first prototypes were press brake green.
From there, the ergonomic experiments continued and have since inspired prototypes 3.1 and 2.3. With the "guts" prototype 1.1 working and with the two enclosure prototypes assembled, we're ready to move on to the next phase of production.
The Founding Flounders
Edward Calvey is the primary inventor of the Logger's Lunchbox. He brings a vast range of experience to the team from audio mixing and loud speaker systems to photography.
Hannah Radcliff is an experienced TV camera operator and director of Mid-America Emmy award-winning Thumbcat Media. Over the years she's served as a great crash-test dummy for different DSLR workflows and consumed a lot of Advil in the process.
Lance Magic is our friend, builder and general "good idea" consultant. Lance is a gifted sound guy with extensive knowledge of the inner workings of audio components as well as general electronics.
Matt Radcliff is Hannah's brother and the master welder who is turning our designs into beautiful and bulletproof stainless steel boxes.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. We hope you can help us make it happen!
Your friends at Logger's Lunchbox
Risks and challenges
Being really, really small, we have fewer negotiation angles with parts manufacturers. Some have been able to waive giant setup fees and we have gotten CAD/CAM work through friends of our families and friends of friends of families... and friends. Several machinists have helped us develop our ideas, adding features and showing us better ways to achieve what we want.
We've been able to sneak in some smaller parts orders with larger companies willing to help us out too, but there's always that minimum order problem that isn't so minimum at the beginning.
Also if the demand is higher than anticipated, there may be further delays. But we don't give up so easy. We'll do our best to ship them by our target date and will keep you informed every step of the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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