The SnapFocus empowers DSLR indie filmmakers to pull off Hollywood production value as a cinematic one man band. Read more
This project was successfully funded on June 29, 2012.
About this project
***THANKS TO THE BACKERS WHO HELPED US REACH OUR GOAL!!!***
We passed the $20,000 mark in just 4 days and we are excited that the SnapFocus is hitting a cultural nerve with filmmakers.
Why go beyond our goal?
To improve the product. $20,000 was the budget we needed for a functional version of the SnapFocus. Every dollar from here makes it BETTER! Here is a rendering of the final product design we are moving towards.
What is the SnapFocus?
Grip-level focus control. The SnapFocus allows filmmakers to pull focus and steady the camera on the move, making it easier to achieve Hollywood production value on a shoestring budget. Focus on the fly and give your documentary or cinema vertiè footage an expensive look, or add production value to your projects with really cool technical focus pulls.
Is this what it will look like when we get it?
No. We launched our Kickstarter project at the point when the SnapFocus was working great and came here for the funding we needed to turn this into a badass retail-level product. We are working with the R&D team of a defense contractor and incorporating their ideas for a more military-ispired look.
Where can we try the prototype?EVS 1819 Victory Boulevard, Glendale, CA 91201 (www.evsonline.com)
Does it just "snap" or can I do smooth focus racks?
Both. With a simple lever and cable system, the SnapFocus is really easy to use. You simply pull the lever on one side and your lens spins to infinity (focuses the lens far away). Pull the other lever and it spins to macro (focuses the lens close up). It’s an intuitive way to control the focus on your camera and since you don’t have to keep spinning and spinning a focus wheel, you can literally “snap” the focus into place or use it for smooth, continuous focus and turn your DSLR into an ENG rig.
Here's an interview with me on the show 'Out of Focus' by Adam Nelson that answers a lot of the questions about the SnapFocus:
Since it's a mechanical system, you have an intuitive feel for your focus control that's not possible with an electronic remote system. The SnapFocus puts you and the lens in sync.
What people are saying?
"Love the product, design and determination." - JJ Abrams, Co-Creator of 'Lost', Director, 'Star Trek' and 'Mission: Impossible III'
"The SnapFocus gives you access to big-league production techniques that are normally reserved for going to Panavision and spending tons of dough." - Jimmy Hayward, Director 'Horton Hears a Who', 'Jonah Hex' and 'Turkeys'
"A product like this will help indie filmmakers achieve production value from features to commercials to music videos and short films." - Josh Mond, Producer, 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'
"The SnapFocus finally makes it possible to shoot ENG and reality TV style on a DSLR, something that until now was pretty much impossible." - Biagio Messina, Executive Producer, MTV's 'Caged', VH1's 'Scream Queens' and The CW's 'Beauty and the Geek'
“As a Producer, this system allows me to get much higher production value all by myself which makes low budget work look like high budget work.” –Lorena David, Executive Producer, My Ride Rules
"Finally there's a way to shoot DSLR for reality television." - Scott Gill, Executive Producer, 'Wall Street Warriors'
“The feedback is much better because it’s not electronically controlled; it’s by your hands. It’s muscle memory.” –Ray Huang, Cinematographer
“I didn’t even have to think about it! It really became second nature!” –George Esguerra, Director, Talk To Me
“This product is truly revolutionary!” - Casey Goode, Cinematographer/EVS Sales Rep
"I've tried the SnapFocus and its makes an advanced style of shooting easy for rising filmmakers in a seamless way." - Jason Blagman, Producer, Life@Large (see Jason's Kickstarter here)
Who is the SnapFocus for?It’s not only for the independent film maker, but for anyone shooting video that wants to add production value to their work. With so many filmmakers, photographers, videographers and everyone with a YouTube channel buying DSLR cameras, the SnapFocus is a great way to make your work stand out above the crowd. It can also be used to control focus on bigger cameras like RED, Alexa and traditional motion picture rigs.
How do I know you can deliver and how will you produce it?As a film student at NYU and an indie feature film director I built a lot of my own camera support gear over the years. Recently, I turned my DIY passion into a brand called Midas Mount and launched a retail product called The Skaterail Slider. For the past two years I have been working hard on the SnapFocus prototype with my neighbor Harry, a machinist and inventor with over 40 years of experience. During this time we used feedback from our film maker friends and retail partners to make improvements.
We have built solid working relationships with machine shops and suppliers for our Skaterail Slider and and have the experience of producing, delivering and standing behind that product for a few years now. The SnapFocus will be made in the USA, handcrafted right here in Los Angeles, California.
Jump over to our brand website at http://www.MidasMount.com to learn more about us and our first retail product the Skaterail Slider.
Check out this video about Harry Gramig, our machinist and inventor:
Is it easy to install?The model of the SnapFocus that ships will easily install on your 15mm rods with thumbscrews. And the levers will have a universal clamp to mount onto various sizes of shoulder rig handles, tripod legs, jib arms and other camera support systems. You will be able to SnapFocus no matter what your camera is mounted on. The cables will be available in various lengths for mounting in different applications.
Will it last?Made in the USA (right here in Los Angeles) of machined aluminum, the components are durable and the unit is solidly constructed. As with our Skaterail Slider, the goal is to make the SnapFocus a real piece of film equipment that can take the abuse of life on a film set.
Can I use it with other cameras? How about other equipment?Absolutely! The SnapFocus will work with any 15mm rod based system and standard lens gears. You can buy the SnapFocus together with our Hitchhiker Shoulder Rig (at a special KickStarter price) or use it on your own. You can also mount it to your tripod, jib-arm, or just about any kind of camera mount.
What does it come with?The basic SnapFocus kit will come with two levers, cables and a bracket that mounts to any standard 15mm rod mount system. A set of interchangeable SnapFocus gears will also be included to make it easy to change the ratio depending on the lens you are using.
Why KickStarter?We cannot wait to get the SnapFocus out into the filmmaking world so we’ve come to KickStarter for your help. Not only for the funding needed to cover the cost of production, but also for the support of fellow filmmakers so we can live up to our brand motto: “By Indie Filmmakers, for Indie Filmmakers.”
Why buy now?Once the Kickstarter project concludes, it will be several months before the next version of SnapFocus units are available at retail. And the price will most likely go up $100. This is basically our way of letting early adopter filmmakers in on wholesale prices in exchange for helping us get this off the ground.
We are counting on the Kickstarter community to bring the SnapFocus into the filmmaking world and hope you will join us!
****NEW REWARD**** Get the Wide Open Camera Lens Gear through this special SnapFocus deal for $15 - retail value of $21 which is a deal already.
It's not so much the camera that it works with, but the lens. The SnapFocus can work with everything from an iPhone to an Arri. It just needs a set of 15mm rods to sit on and somewhere to mount the levers which will ship with universal clamps.
One lever pulls the lens all the way toward infinity and the other pulls it all the way to macro. Release tension and the lens stops moving so it never moves on it's own. Totally mechanical. Totally intuitive.
We are working on a spring-loaded, one-handed version for 2013.
Buy the Midas Modular rig and all you need to do is mount your camera with a lens gear, adjust the position of the SnapFocus with a few thumbscrews and you're ready to shoot.
The exposed gears you see in this prototype will be encased in an aluminum or composite shield. If the cables wear or snap from your college frat buddies seeing how strong they are we will sell replacements that "snap" in. We will warrantee it up to a year due to manufacturing malfunction like faulty hardware.
No. A Stedicam is a very expensive piece of professional motion picture equipment best used by a very large, strong operator. However, as far as DSLR rigs go, the Hitchhiker shoulder rig can simulate "Stedicam" shots better than most. Because of the full body frame, you can "lock in" to the Hitchhiker rig so that you don't have to hold it up so much as just push forward on the grips. Operators love it for long shoots because it reduces fatigue compared to typical counterweight style rigs.
Yes. Eventually some kind of hard stop can be set at the grip/lever. This will ship with some kind of hard stop feature but may be at the gear level. With hard stops, you can preset a place you want to pull focus to, then "snap" the focus to that place.
You will be able to mark either a wheel or the flat linear gear. (On the prototype in the video it's a belt). It will most likely be ruled on the back so you have a visual reference of where your focus is.
Yes. Just add $299 to your pledge and choose the MIDAS MODULAR as a reward. We may end this deal but just message me.
Pledge $1 or more
SNAPFOCUS FILM SCHOOL FUND. We are donating our Hitchhiker, SnapFocus and Skaterail Slider to one of our backers with a special film program for 4th grade students. Help us buy them additional equipment like a Canon T2i, a tripod and light kit. More info in the updates.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5 or more
THE STICKER PACK. Pledge $5 to get a Limited Edition Midas Mount SnapFocus sticker pack and keep up-to-date on all things SnapFocus with exclusive access to behind the scenes video content.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or more
14 backers Limited (86 left of 100)
THE MOVIE. Get a DVD copy of Brandon's feature film, Bristol Boys, a gritty crime drama based on a true story starring Thomas Guiry (Mystic River), Dean Winters (Oz, Rescue Me) and David Zayas (Dexter). Shipping included to continental US.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or more
WIDE OPEN CAMERA LENS GEAR. These "zip tie" style lens gears are what we have been using on our SnapFocus prototypes and when we rent other follow focus systems. They retail for $21 which is already a great deal The guys who make them have let us offer them to our backers for this special offering. Add $3 for shipping to US, $10 International. Specify red or black. If you want more than one email me about the quantity.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or more
THE T-SHIRT. Get our "Rebel Without a Crew" T-Shirt. The SnapFocus is more than a product, it's an attitude that telling stories on film shouldn't be left only to those who have deep pockets and the backing of a major studio. Shipping included to continental US.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $249 or more
THE SLIDER. Save $100 off our Midas Mount Skaterail Slider with this special Kickstarter-only price. The Skaterail Slider can be center mounted on your tripod or attached to light stands at the ends. Add $100 for our ball-head tripod adapter kit. Shipping not included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $299 or more
5 backers All gone!
****EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - THIS IS A LIMITED OFFER****
THE HITCHHIKER. Get the Midas Mount Hitchiker Shoulder Support which makes shooting DSLR for long periods of time much more comfortable. Completely modular and based on a patent-pending triangulated design, you can adjust this rig to your body and to your camera setup. Shipping included to continental US. Add $25 elsewhere.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $299 or more
37 backers Limited (1 left of 38)
****EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - THIS IS A LIMITED OFFER****
For the first several days of our Kickstarter campaign get the SnapFocus for this introductory price. You must purchase before Monday, June 4th. Buy now and save big. Shipping not included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $349 or more
7 backers All gone!
THE SNAPFOCUS FILM SCHOOL DEAL. You get the SnapFocus follow focus system which includes 2 levers, 2 cables, the gears and mounting bracket. AND $50 goes to support a special film program for 4th graders - read more about it in the updates. Shipping included to continental US. Add $25 elsewhere.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $399 or more
THE SNAPFOCUS. You get the SnapFocus follow focus system which includes 2 levers, 2 cables, the gears and mounting bracket. Shipping included to continental US. Add $25 elsewhere.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $598 or more
36 backers All gone!
****MIDAS MODULAR EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - THIS IS A LIMITED OFFER**** For the first several days of our Kickstarter campaign get the SnapFocus and Hitchhiker for this introductory price. You must purchase before Monday, June 4th. Buy now and save big. Shipping not included. We can deliver your Hitchhiker shoulder rig ahead of the SnapFocus if you'd like shortly after we receive our Kickstarter funds mid-July early August.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $799 or more
MIDAS MODULAR. Get the MIdas Mount Hitchhiker Shoulder Support and the SnapFocus follow focus system - the ultimate solution for handheld DSLR cinematography. Shipping not included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,250 or more
5 backers Limited (5 left of 10)
THE LIMITED EDITION. This first run of numbered SnapFocus units will be totally handcrafted in our machine shop and ship within a month of the conclusion of our Kickstarter campaign. We will add a custom engraving to make it personal. Not only do you get yours first but you get it customized. Shipping not included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,499 or more
THE DEALER PACK. Get 9 SnapFocus units that will arrive in time for you to sell them for the holiday season and one LIMITED EDITION SNAPFOCUS unit with an estimated September delivery date.Estimated delivery:
- (29 days)