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Whats new to the campaign?
After seeing the incredible response from over 1,000 backers in less than 7 days, we decided we wanted to kick it up a notch and announce 2 new stretch goals.
We flexed our number-crunching muscles to determine what was realistic, and what would really be a stretch.
The MagBeam is a revolutionary new fresnel-lens modifier that gives you concentrated brighter light, a killer beam pattern, and projection masks (gobos/cookies) that turn your flash into a pattern-projecting-thing-of-wonder. The MagBeam brings you ninja-style light shaping in a fast, easy, and simple package.
It comes with a Telephoto lens for a laser-like precision beam with 2 to 3 effective extra stops of useable light.
Add a Wide Angle Lens and our custom MagMasks to project patterns, shapes, and awesomeness--anywhere you want.
What is a "fresnel?"
What is a “fresnel”? Its a funny word. You can say “fr-eh-nel”, or “fr-ez-nel”. But you gotta pronounce it like it’s French, cause it is.
Way back in the early 1800s, a French physicist named Augustin Fresnel designed a new type of lens for lighthouses. The lenses were monstrous, and that was a good thing because lighthouses need to project crazy bright beams of light out 'to sailors who can’t hardly see good' (thanks Derrick).
If you’re not a 19th-century sailor, you’re probably more familiar with their modern, evolved cousin used in Hollywood and stage lighting. Hollywood style fresnel lights were used to collimate light since the days of silent film.
Collimate, by the way, is another fancypants word. But it just means “to make light travel in a straight line". The point is, the only artificial light sources available in early film days were so hot, they could literally burn your house down--so they used lenses to shape their light rather than softboxes or other types of flammable materials.
Existing fresnel-lens modifiers:
Today, fresnel lens modifiers are kind of a rare-bird--especially for speedlites. The ones that exist are primarily made for wildlife photographers, and they come with their fair share of...annoyances.
For starters, they look kind of primitive. Literally, like two plastic sticks with a lens stuck to the end, or, like a bulbous box that takes up more space in your bag than your camera does.
They’re pretty flimsy, hard to get on, leak light all over the place and don’t inspire confidence. Laaaaaame.
We decided enough was enough, and we’re stoked to show you how MagMod kicked the fresnel lens up a notch. Meet the MagBeam.
The MagBeam is the bees knees because it features our patented MagGrip design, which attaches the MagBeam to your flash in, well, a flash. And, once it’s on there, it's on like Donkey Kong.
With a single ninja-like motion you can attach the MagBeam and fully extend it all with one hand. No more fiddling or velcro-ing. Booya.
What is the MagGrip?
With two freakishly strong magnets embedded in the MagGrip, you can add and remove our magnetic modifiers in an instant. You’ll work more efficiently—and look like the professional you are.
The MagGrip’s universal design attaches to almost any hotshoe flash ever made, making it one small investment that grows with you and your business.
Want to upgrade your flash later down the road? No prob. The MagGrip works with a variety of mixed flash brands, so you won’t need to upgrade all of your modifiers when you move up to a different size flash. You’re welcome.
2 to 3 stops brighter light
Sometimes photographers need more "juice" from their speedlites, and the MagBeam is up for the job. It’s designed to give you up to 2 to 3 effective extra stops of useable light. Think of it like a magnifying glass: when you concentrate light it is effectively more intense. This means more light at a greater distance, and your flash recycles 4 times as fast. Ya, its a big deal.
What else can you do with brighter, concentrated light?
- Use a faster shutter speed with wildlife and bird photography for sharper photos. With 2 to 3 stops, you could go from 1/50s to 1/200s or 1/400s! That's a big deal.
- Use a lower ISO speed to improve your image quality. Going from ISO3200 down to ISO800 or ISO400 is a huge improvement!
- Place your flash further away from your subject -- this is especially helpful with photographing people outdoors, and you want to overpower the sun, but a bare flash doesn't cut it, so you have to bring your flash in real close. Move it further away for a wider composition!
- Overpower sunlight for outdoor portraits. Sometimes you want that darker sky, but don't want to bring out a big, heavy, expensive flash to give you the power you want. With 2 to 3 effective extra stops of useable light, your sky can go from near-white, to a rich blue!
- Turn your flash power down to improve your recycle times. You'll get more flashes, more consistently, in a shorter amount of time when your flash doesn't have work so hard to recycle its power, which means you'll capture more photos with better flash quality!
The MagBeam’s rigid lens focuses light better than the wobbly, paper-thin alternatives. The more light that’s focused, the brighter and stronger it appears.
And thanks to its lightweight silicone housing, the MagBeam prevents unnecessary light spill out the top and sides without sacrificing portability and ease of use. Less spill means better efficiency, and a cleaner, prettier light.
Sharp, multi-spotlight control!
When fully extended, the MagBeam + Tele Lens give you super-focused light with a harder edge, similar to a stage spotlight. Not to mention the 2 to 3 effective extra stops of useable light, the MagBeam delivers light shaping like you've never had before.
Collapse the MagBeam down one stage and now you have a slightly wider beam pattern with beautiful shape and crisp edges.
Collapse the MagBeam down all the way and now your wide beam turns super-wide, without losing the sharp edge and control. Its like a grid but with less spill + 2 more stops of light!
We've shot, tested, and measured lots of different light outputs. Below is a quick demo on how the MagBeam stacks up against a bare flash. Both the light shaping and total output are totally transformed.
MagMasks are a thing of wonder
And finally--you might want to sit down for this one--its collapsible design isn’t just for portability. Collapse it down all the way, swap in a wide-angle lens and now you’ve transformed it into a pattern-projecting-thing-of-wonder. MIND. BLOWN.
What is a MagMask?
You might know them by other names: gobos, stencils, cookies, or masks. Whatever you call them, they all basically do the same thing: 'go between' the light source and lens to create a pattern or shape of light.
MagMasks are our custom-made stainless steel 'gobos' that 'go between' your flash and the lens in the MagBeam. When placed at the focal point (aka the sweet spot), this pattern is imaged through the lens and projected out where you want it to go. Sweet huh?
Combine a MagMask with our rigid MagGels and now your creative possibilities are endless. Seriously, how cool is that?!
Gobos have been around for decades, just like fresnel lenses, and are commonly used to project shapes, names, and patterns with constant light sources.
The MagBeam now brings you the same creative power, in an incredibly compact, slick, and easy-to-use product.
What can you do with MagMasks?
Oh we never thought you'd ask. Actually, we read your mind. It might be easier to ask "what CAN'T you do with MagMasks"?
Feast on these samples below:
What MagMasks are available?
Why 2 lenses?
Both lenses serve a unique purpose in shaping light like a boss. Think of it like having two prime lenses for your camera--one is to shoot wide, the other is for focusing on what is important.
The Tele Lens is supplied in ALL versions of the MagBeam, as its application is more broad. It focuses light in a very tight beam, and increases total light output. Wildlife photographers who need that extra reach or recycling speed, this is the only lends you need.
For Portrait photographers who want a spotlight effect (tight, normal, or wide beam) with a harder edge, the Tele Lens is your go-to lens. And because the MagBeam collapses in 3 total stages, its like having a zooming spotlight in your pocket.
The Wide lens is only used when you want to kick it up a notch with MagMasks. Its specific focal length is designed to image the MagMask pattern and project that pattern out to create super awesome stuff.
*The Wide lens is only used when the MagBeam is fully collapsed.*
What should you get?
If you only shoot wildlife, then the MagBeam + Tele Lens will keep you smiling, big time.
If you want to take your light to the next level with both spotlights and gobos, then the MagBeam Kit is the bees knees.
The MagBeam in a nutshell
- 2 to 3 effective extra stops of useable light - The MagBeam’s special lenses collimate light (which is a fancy word for “making light travel in a straight line") that increases total brightness by 2 to 3 stops of light. This gives your flash greater reach when shooting distant subjects, or, brighter light when you need more than just your bare flash. This increased output also allows you to reduce your flash power to significantly increase recycle times. Ya, it’s a big deal.
- Variable spotlight pattern - When fully extended, the MagBeam gives you super-focused light with a hard edge, similar to a stage spotlight. Collapse the MagBeam down one or two stages to create a wider beam pattern while retaining the beautiful shape and crisp edges. Finally, a Hollywood-style fresnel spotlight for speedlites.
- Gobo-projecting thing-of-wonder - Collapse the MagBeam down, swap in a wide-angle lens, and add our custom MagMasks and now you’ve transformed it into a pattern-projecting-thing-of-wonder. MagMasks are our paper-thin custom-made stainless steel 'gobos' that 'go between' your flash and the lens in the MagBeam. This pattern is then imaged through the lens and projected out where you want it to go. Sweet huh?
- Collapsible design is easy - With a single ninja-like motion you can attach the MagBeam and set it up all with one hand. The MagBeam’s collapsible design also makes it incredibly portable and easy to store, freeing up valuable space in your camera bag.
- Magnetic, modular system - MagMod utilizes the invisible powers of magnetism to attach modifiers to your speedlites, completely eliminating the need for messy velcro, adhesives, straps and bands that all add complexity to your system. We make awesome photography easy.
What about the new Gels?
We're pretty stoked (to say the least) that we finally have labels on ALL of our gels. Yep, we did it. The white text labels are silk-screened on to the surface, and are incredibly durable!
We introduced a new set of colors as well—the Artistic Gels, which compliment the Creative Gels perfectly. Oh and by the way, the MagMod Creative Gels are slightly tweaked with slightly less dense variants of the same hue. This makes stacking multiple gel colors to get your own custom colors much easier than before.
The Artistic Gels include the following colors: Cyan, Rose, Coral, Amber, Aqua, Pink, Lavender, and Lime.
They will be available for immediate shipping on our website around March 14!
Are Magnets safe around camera gear?
In as few words as possible, we can confidently say: YES!
Here is a quick video demo showing how magnets are completely safe around your camera, flashes, lenses, and other common electronics.
To order the MagBeam in all its glory, click the button below and select a reward level.
If you want to customize your reward and add more modifiers, check out our Add-ons list (scroll below) to see how you can get the perfect kit. After you have submitted your pledge, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the campaign updates.
After the campaign has finished, we will contact you regarding your pledge and you will submit your shipping address, email, phone, and any contact information needed to get your awesome swag to you. This will all happen AFTER the campaign.
Each backer can choose 1 and only 1 reward. Each reward level varies by price and products included. You can change your reward level up until the campaign closes, but after the campaign ends (April 15) you will be locked into that reward level, and any pertaining stretch goals (if any).
Make sure you use a valid email because you will need to answer a few questions after the campaign. I can't tell you how many people never read their emails after a campaign. We want you to enjoy your MagMod modifiers right away!
Once you have selected a reward level above, you can increase your total pledge amount for extra goodies below. Don't worry, we'll collect the details of what additional extras you want after the campaign.
If you have already made a pledge, you can update your pledge on this page by clicking "Manage my Pledge". Here you can change your pledge, or just add more funds to your reward level for extra goodies.
If you don't want to add anything extra, no sweat! You can do it later down the road through our awesome custom portal after the campaign has ended.
We have already paid for the molds and tested multiple samples. We are awaiting final production samples before we pull the trigger on a production run. These will arrive mid-March. We're confident these samples will be perfect, as the last samples were only the unpolished, unfinished versions before mass production.
We have tested multiple lenses. Heck, we even tested a "multi-lens system", which combine several fresnel lenses, of similar focal length, designed to give you a "variable" focal length. This introduced complexity in application, increased cost, and just wasn't any better with image quality. Our lenses are pretty stout and ready to go!
We are in the final tests of perfecting our MagMasks. We have tested several designs with multiple size projection patterns. The more we use them, the more we LOVE using the MagBeam with MagMasks!
How the funds will be used
As with most any product we have made before, the size, weight, and complexity of both of these new modifiers requires a minimum order quantity that isn't small. We refused to "dumb it down" or make the designs less complex purely for cost reasons.
- Minimum order quantities. The silicone, magnet, lens, mask, and packaging factories in China require a minimum of 2,000 to 3,000 pieces for an order.
- Assembly & Warehousing. Once materials are produced, they need to be assembled and stored for quick delivery. At the rate we sell out of our products, we're trying to keep an extra stockpile on hand.
- Shipping & Delivery. Shipping is included in the price of each reward, and at an average of $10 it adds up quickly!
If you are as excited as we are about the MagBeam, help bring it to market quicker by pledging your support. If you're not quite ready to put some skin in to the game, we would greatly appreciate if you forwarded this page to a fellow photographer or friend.
Our fist Kickstarter campaign launched on October 29, 2013. Less than 5 hours after we officially launched, we had reached our funding goal of $35,000, and reached $100,00 in less than 3 days. By the end, we raised over $210,000 from over 1,750 backers.
Shortly after the end of the campaign, we commenced production and proudly became part of only 18% of all Kickstarter campaigns that deliver on time. We were super grateful for how smoothly things went from start to finish.
One year later, in October 2014, we launched our second Kickstarter campaign. This campaign was also wildly successful, and we reached our $55,000 campaign goal in under 3 hours again. We raised over $310,000 in 30 days by the end of our campaign.
Our production went smoothly and we even delivered early. Since then, MagMod products are found in mainstream shopping outlets and are used by some of the worlds best photographers, down to the even photographer who just picked up a camera.
Designing the MagBeam
We started designing the MagBeam shortly after our last Kickstarter campaign, in February 2015. We initially thought it would be fairly easy, and for the most part we were correct. Our first "teaser" out on our social media channels was in March 2015:
Our original design was only a fresnel-lens spotlight modifier for wildlife photographers. We had to learn about optics and how they work, and how they can make light more useable for flashes.
We made several prototypes, worked with some insanely talented optics engineers that helped us test some theories, and away we went with a few 3D prints.
These first prints were just to test some important design parameters. We considered a version that even had a mirror-like finish on the inside. After testing, it actually lost 0.2 stops of light compared to just a black version.
After the outcome of some extensive testing, the MagBeam also turned in to a gobo pattern-projecting-thing-of-wonder. We're quite happy with how it turned out.
We've tested several heights, adjusted the design for easier collapsibility, and added some "bumps" at the base to help prevent droop from the weight of the lens.
We even considered that some wildlife photographers will mount their flash on a flash bracket away from their camera (closer to the front of the lens), and the height difference it has compared to having it on camera. As long as the MagBeam is setup properly (as it is with any other modifier), it will retain its position while shooting.
Risks and challenges
SUPPLY CHAIN RISKS:
We cannot control the factory, nor their supply chains, nor the weather that effects when their workers arrive. We have had a great working relationship with each of our suppliers, and they helped us deliver on time during our last two Kickstarter campaigns. We have no reservations about their ability to deliver when they have stated, unless someone like Apple comes in and decides they want to buy the entire production capacity for a month. In fact, one of our suppliers works with Apple, and they still are all over our needs. We don't anticipate any set-backs, so we feel pretty good about our delivery expectations.
We've had a pretty good track record during our first two Kickstarter campaigns, but they weren't void of their unique challenges. One of them was a big carton of orders (around 30) that we dropped off at the USPS for domestic delivery. Somehow they didn't open the carton and start delivering them. It was a small headache for those 30 people, but they eventually got them.
As with any international delivery, there will always be challenges. Making sure you, the backer, supply a proper address is huge. Our international fulfillment partner is pretty good at sorting out addresses that may appear undeliverable, but if not, we'll have to contact you again, or worse case scenario have you supply a different address.
We were surprised at the number of backers that DID NOT complete their surveys and supply an address for delivery. It took 4-5 months to get a lot of the information back.
If you want your pledge reward in a timely manner, PLEASE do yourself a favor and use an email address that you use often. I hate spam just as much as any savvy email addict, but, we could tell that many of our first-round backers were new to Kickstarter. Naturally people treat any new-to-you online service (like Kickstarter) with a bit of caution, especially when it comes to email communication.
With that said, many backers used an email address that wasn't used very often, probably because they wanted to avoid unnecessary spam. We love to communicate with you, and we feel like we do a pretty good job at it, but PLEASE make sure you read our messages and emails in a timely manner. Yes, some can be boring and long, but they are always important! We can promise a pretty smooth experience if you stay abreast of shipping requirements and project updates throughout the campaign lifecycle.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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