About this project
My goal with Zcapture is to provide a low-cost, high-quality product that can be modified, hacked or customized to fit individual needs. We believe this product should be shared with the world in a manner that is disruptive to this emerging industry of 360 driven content creation, shows a better way of doing things, and provides information in a user centric medium.
I have been deeply
involved in web development for 15 years and a great majority of that time has
been focused on eCommerce development and design. In that time I have always
found that the lack of meaningful product information is a killer when presenting a product in a meaningful way to have them purchase. Couple this experience with being a hard core
maker that has been publishing articles for the last decade and there was bound to be a merging of ideas.
The humble beginnings of Zcapture came from my own personal interest in experimentation about 8 years ago with Basic Stamp programming. Roughly 4 years ago I discovered the Arduino NG and fell in love with the Arduino platform from the point of view that anyone could learn it and use it. Immediately I set to work to build and refine the Zcapture system based on this robust platform.
As a maker I have always been challenged with providing enough detail for a project guide while being able to see a project through to completion and publication. As the web has evolved the expectation of the user for better and better content has increased with the capability of browsers and web coding technologies.
Coupling this concept with ecommerce and product information sites is a potent mix that is becoming more and more common. Leading the pack is Google and Wal-Mart venturing into the 360 product visualization sphere because of one simple reason, it sells. With the ability to see the product online and virtually handle it, people are more confident in their purchase and more likely to buy from a vendor with rich media.
We’ve been able to produce the perfect system that rivals emerging competing products in the marketplace by coupling open source hardware design with the innovative application of technology, software, engineering, and above all creativity.
This KickStarter is step one on a journey for us that ultimately leads to a boxed product that we would like to see be at a price point and availability that would enable anyone to be able purchase one. In our ideal situation we would like to see people using this to list products on auction sites, classifieds ads, and especially in the maker community to showcase their projects.
The Zcapture system consists of three tightly integrated components: Hardware, Software, and HTML. These three systems allow you to easily go from item to website in as little as 15 minutes. The design and functionality of each system has been designed to be as easy to implement as possible with intuitive controls so that just about anyone can setup, connect, and shoot amazing 360 shots.
While developing the Zcapture hardware platform, we went through several revisions. We wanted to produce something that was strong and robust while still staying cost-effective and reliable. This refining process has often been tumultuous because we are constantly adding new capabilities, features, and functionality to the system. At the same time, we are focused on producing something that will meet most people’s needs.
This hardware platform has been designed to work 100% autonomously without the need to be connected or controlled from a computer or can be connected for a more seamless user experience within the Zcaptue software suite. It also has features like optical isolation from your camera equipment and active cooling to ensure cool and stable operation. We have created a more powerful and enjoyable product to use through changes. With the refining process including multiple versions and predecessors we were ultimately led to a refined, simple, and powerful hardware design that is user-friendly and both easy to use and maintain.
The Zcapture software suite has been designed as a professional tool to give everyone the ability to create exceptional 360° product photography for the web. This suite of tools allows you to rapidly edit, crop, re-size, customize, preview, export, and upload your images in the least amount of time possible. If you have any experience using products like Adobe Photoshop or Light Room, then the Zcapture software suit will be intuitive and easy-to-use. We have worked very hard to remove all the hard work from the process for you.
The Zcapture image processing suite version 1.0 is a powerful toolset for producing 360 rotating product imagery designed for use and display on the web. With both advanced features for advanced users and easy editing tools for the novice, anyone can start creating 360 content for the web without wasting precious time or money.
Most important of all, Every supporter on KickStarter will get access to LIFETIME FREE UPDATES. Yep, that’s in all caps because it's so cool. Each time we release a new version your license key will allow you to activate the latest version for free. This is critical for supporting the next browser version, technology or device platform out there.
The Zcapture system is stunningly easy to use. With 6 simple steps you can go from product to website in as little as 15 minuets per item. If you have even basic photography skills you will be able to produce excellent quality imagery to embed on your website. Simply connect power, the controller, and your camera to start shooting right away without messing around with complicated settings.
The Zcapture is compatible with most SLR cameras that support a external shutter control. However, it works natively with all Cannon and Nikon Camera models out of the box. When you place your order we will have a survey at the end of the KickStarter to find out what model of camera you will need to support. For the base KickStarter we will only be supporting Canon and Nikon Cameras. We will set some stretch goals with more camera support and even adding in a IR header to support most point and shoot cameras. For a full list of supported cameras check out our compatibility list.
With the optional 20.00 funding level your iphone, ipod and ipad can be used as the camera for the Zcapture system. This cable will support all apple devices with cameras iphone, ipad, ipad mini, iphone.
Check out our portfolio for some inspirational ideas and great looking examples of what the Zcapture system is capable of at our Websites Examples.
Makers will love how easy Zcapture is to use. Gone are the days of a project build with static photos. Now instructions can be step-by-step in 360, allowing the reader to see all the intricacies of your project. Even better is the ability to show off your project complete and polished.
Imagine shooting your item in 360 and listing it in an auction or classifieds site. Or building something out of Legos that you want to save and share? Perhaps you want to show off something new you just purchased on Facebook? There are millions of uses for Zcapture for anyone from hobbies, artists and even the stay at home mom and is only limited by your imagination.
One of the ideal situations for the Zcapture system to fill a daily business need will be in eCommerce. eCommerce is constantly evolving and changing to engage customers and help them feel confident with making purchases online. With the growth in the eCommerce sector exploding there is a greater need to show a product online in a way that leads to a conversion and differentiates a site or seller within a market place from there competitors.
The Zcapture system has been designed with the ability to upgrade it as new capabilities and needs evolve. Whether you need to upgrade your micro-controller to newer version or compatible variant or replace the motor with a more powerful one, there are several options to increase the capability of your system.
We have a lot of future functionality in mind for the Zcapture system. As part of this vision we have added several headers and ports on the actual circuit board to allow for all sorts of functional upgrades to the system that anyone can tinker with. And with an Arduino at its heart modifying code and tinkering is super easy!
As part of the launch of the Zcapture system we will be introducing community forums to share, teach, and support each other as we launch this product line. We will regularly be publishing articles with information on many associated topics from lighting and camera setup to evaluation of third party apps and platform support. Our goal is to share and contribute all our experience and encourage the same.
$25 - You will get one of our snazzy Tee Shirts in your size. The front has the Zcapture logo and the back has "the revolution has begun". This is a great way to show your support! When the Kickstarter Ends you will be sent a survey so we can make sure to get you the right size.
Zcapture Software Suite
$100 - You will get a KickStarter Edition of our Zcapture Software suite at a discounted price. This suite of tools allows you to import, edit, and export your 360 content with ease. This will be a life time license, so all future upgrades will be included. This will be delivered as a digital download, and the activation key will be emailed to you after the KickStarter ends. Note: This does not include any hardware. You will need to find your own solution for shooting your 360 content.
Zcapture Mini System
$150 - You will get you a miniature version of the Zcapture system. This light weight system is 100% USB powered and includes an Arduino and is ready to run with no tinkering required. It is ideal for small light weight items 8oz or less. In addition to the hardware platform you will also receive a life time software license and all updates for free! This system is not included in our stretch goals levels.
$350 - You will get you a complete DIY Kit for you to assemble in the comfort of your own home, or evil photographic genius lair, or other similarly geeky soldering and gluing station. (arduino not included). In addition to the hardware platform you will also receive a life time software license and all updates for free!
Ready To Go
$480 - You will get an assembled, tested, tweaked, tuned and totally complete, ready to run out of the box Zcapture system for you. In addition to the hardware platform you will also receive a life time software license and all updates for free!
The Kitchen Sink
$690 - You will get an build, test, tweak, tune and create a totally complete ready to run out of the box Zcapture system for you., include a nice custom hard aluminum photography style case and include a 2 Softbox lighting kit. *international shipping will cost a bit more on a case by case basis. In addition to the hardware platform you will also receive a life time software license and all updates for free!
*We will be adding photos as we go with what is included with each package.
This is not our first KickStarter project and we have learned a good amount from our other successful KickStarter projects about project management, sourcing, and timeline management.
We have a team of specialists that are helping to insure we have the ability to see this project through to success for our KickStarter customers.
For simplicity, we have broken fulfillment for this KickStarter into a series of phases so we can share our estimated timelines
The KickStarter's funding period will last for 60 days.
Survey will be sent out as Funds become available to us 15 days after the completion of the funding period.
Sourcing Parts will require 30 days once the KickStarter funds are available.
Unassembled Kits will be shipped 20 days after Phase 3 is completed.
Assembled Units will be shipped 30-40 days after Phase 3 is completed.
*These dates will be refined throughout the KickStarter.
We have set a series of stretch goals with the hope that the Kick Starter community can help us evolve the project to a more feature-rich and capable platform for everyone.
MORE POWER! We will upgrade every unit to a more powerful motor and a larger chassis to hold it. This will enable the unit to work with larger loads and allow a higher degree of accuracy.
We will develop a library of IR codes for the Zcapture system, allowing it to control your camera's shutter via an infrared header. PLEASE NOTE: This will be an evolution over time as we add to our library of IR codes. This feature will only support cameras that accept IR input.
We will add the capability to control the Zcapture system via a wireless keychain controller. You will be able to start, stop, and preview just like the current configuration, but without the wires! This is a great feature to help speed setup, composition, and shooting time. Plus, it's just a cool little feature.
CUSTOM EXTRUDED CHASSIS FOR ALL!!! This is our holy grail. This is the last major step towards a product that is retail ready. Our current chassis are laser cut and highly durable but we will upgrade every chassis to a custom sleek extrusion molded chassis to house all the components. PLEASE NOTE: This will add 30-45 days to our delivery dates. If you want to receive your system faster, you can choose to forgo this upgrade in the post-KickStarter survey.
What does the future hold for Zcapture? We are already working to develop a handful of complementary services and features to assist the creative process and distribution of the Zcapture system.
Cloud based content hosting
One of our goals is to create a system where Zcapture system users can upload their shots directly to our own content delivery cloud. This will make things like integration, embedding and hosting of content a breeze to work with. Our goal is to have this service launched in Q2 of 2014
The retail push
One of our biggest goals is to create a version of the Zcapture system that is affordable enough that it can be distributed and sold as a boxed product. Making this type of software and hardware solution available to everyone will help us with our goals of adoption and creating a solution that is disruptive to this emerging industry.
A little about the inventor
Jared Bouck is the inventor, designer and creator of the Zcapture system and related Rotate 360 Studios that offers 360 photography services utilizing Zcapture technology. Jared has been involved as an active contributor in the maker / hacker / Tech oriented art communities for over a decade. He is an entrepreneur, multiple business owner, father and inventor.
He is the author of several geek and tech oriented website like InventGeek.com, Algaegeek.com, Armorgeek.com, Zcapture.com, and has been published in many blogs and magazines the world over like MAKE magazine, PC magazine, Popular Science Big Book of Hacks, Hardcore Gamer, Toms Hardware, Makezine.com and, Hackaday.com to name a few. This is Jared's second KickStarter after successfully completing his last one. He is an avid inventor and creator, designing products, kits and projects for the DIY community to share and invites others to participate in all his projects.
All of our manufacturing will be done in house using our own manufacturing equipment that we already own. Our large laser cutter will be put to work to produce the chassis and disks for the system. We have an injection molding company on standby if we hit our stretch goals.
Circuit boards are sourced from overseas with backup manufactures here in the US. Component parts are sourced from Newark and mouser with motors and power supplies directly from the manufacturers. We have 4 dedicated staff members to help handle assembly and shipping. We have 100 complete systems already sourced and we are front loading already.
Risks and challenges
We have built several functional systems and have had them in a production studio for more than a year. Most, if not all, of the kinks are worked out of these systems. However, as with all hardware projects, there is always a risk when it comes down to manufacturing and sourcing parts in a timely manner.
We are serious about keeping to our schedule but there there may be delays during material transport, manufacturing processes, sourcing parts, customs holdups, and then shipping. As we hit our stretch goals we will obviously be adding some time to source components for these options. We will always be upfront about any delays and plan an appropriate course of action and share it with all of you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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