The Magnet: The Smartphone Camera Mount for Guitar
The Magnet: The Smartphone Camera Mount for Guitar
The Magnet is the first camera mount that lets you use your phone to capture slow motion video of your guitar playing.
The Magnet is the first camera mount that lets you use your phone to capture slow motion video of your guitar playing. Read more
About this project
Explore the hidden world of…your own playing!
The Magnet uses the power of your smartphone to film your guitar playing at speeds up to 240 frames per second, for an unbelievable 8x slowdown of your technique.
The incredible power of slow-motion video can reveal movements you can't feel and don't even know you're making.
See for yourself how amazingly revealing Magnet footage can be:
Clever Clamp: The Magnet mounts to your guitar in a way no other camera mount ever has. Simply snap the jaws, and drop in your phone, to film a perfectly centered, lit, and focused view of your playing.
Designed Around Your Phone: Your phone is the greatest guitar camera ever made. It's thin, has tons of storage and long battery life, and even a built-in light! All you need, in one tiny package.
Capture the Moment: Modern smartphones shoot at super-high frame rates, enabling butter-smooth slow motion video. With 4-8x slowdown superpowers, you can play back blazing licks in bullet time.
Highly Adjustable: With its dual-axis expandability, The Magnet can fit almost any six or seven-string guitar, electric or acoustic, righty or lefty. Four- or five-string basses are also welcome! And of course, so are the vast majority of phones.
Get Ready to GoPro: Look both ways while crossing the strings! Our optional GoPro adapter lets you film both hands at the same time.
Check our tiers on the right, and assemble a package of our exciting rewards!
The first rig we built for high-speed guitar analysis was our original “ShredCam” — a high-speed scientific camera and metal clamp contraption, enabled by custom software to record to a laptop in real time. This unwieldy and expensive rig was nevertheless revolutionary for its time.
With the release of the iPhone 5s, that all changed. Here was a minuscule technical marvel, with ShredCam-level slow-motion capabilities, and it fit in your pocket. We knew this was the future of guitar analysis — the only question was how to mount it.
And when it came to design, it was now a vastly different world: between 3D-modeling, 3D-printing, and the rise of crowdfunding, we actually had a way to design something way more sophisticated and purpose-built than we ever could have before. The current Magnet is the result of dozens of stages of design refinements, enabled by these amazing new technologies.
The incredible Rusty Cooley, using one of our early, non-adjustable prototypes:
Over the past several months we've put prototypes of The Magnet through extensive real-world tests with our own material, from our Code Archive with Rusty Cooley, to numerous slow-motion lick packs included in our Season 2 Pass, to course materials for our Masters in Mechanics seminars. All told, these are the most comprehensive and detailed collections of analytical guitar footage ever assembled.
3D-printing is an incredible technical development that allows entrepreneurs like us to design products with unprecedented freedom — and actually test them in the real world. It's fantastic for rapid prototyping, but it's more expensive than you think. It costs a couple hundred bucks and several hours of painstaking assembly to make each one of our prototypes.
This is why 3D-printing is no match for the incredible precision and scalability of a professionally injection-molded production run.
Molded parts will be smoother and fit together more precisely; and we'll be able to use actual molded rubber grips which conform perfectly to the complex contours of the Magnet, making it feel nicer and last longer.
The Shapeways "strong and flexible" plastic: fantastic for prototypes, but not as smooth as molded ABS:
We've spent an enormous amount of time understanding the manufacturing process and costs involved. Once you factor in tooling highly precise molds that can be run thousands of times, shipping crates of the finished product halfway across the world, and so on, fundraising goals can grow quickly.
We're excited to get started making your Magnet. Here's how we're going to to it:
When you select a tier, you'll add the cost of shipping: $7 anywhere in the USA, $20 international.
If you’ve selected a tier that includes a technical consultation or one-on-one lesson, we’ll reach out after the campaign with more details. We’ll also collect your T-shirt size at that time.
Finally, if you’re a backer of our highest tier (thanks!) we’ll be in touch about exactly which Bruce Lee action poses you'd prefer for your cartoon exploits!
Risks and challenges
There are many unknown factors that go into manufacturing a physical product, and delays happen. We're going to do our best to make sure they don't, but some things are beyond our control.
We’re a three-person team with deep experience in design, video production, and selling things online. We're comfortable delivering products. But this our first foray into the complex world of physical manufacturing. We have a year of research, and excellent guidance going into this, and we're working with highly-experienced manufacturing partners, but we're still learning new things as we go.
We have a working, well-tested prototype, and our main challenge is making sure that design is translated perfectly into mass-production.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
As to whether the Magnet will work with your phone, the short answer is: probably! Here's the longer answer:
There are really two variables here. One is camera capability. The other is phone layout.
If you're interested in slow motion, any phone — iPhone or Android — that does at least 120fps should work fine. However given the great variety of existing Android phones it's worth doing a little research to see which has which frame rates. The iPhone 6 plus does 240fps which is really incredible and I'm sure there are Android phones that do as well. As far as shape, almost any thickness will work, although if you have something heavy-duty like an Otterbox case you may need to remove it.
As far as physical phone layout, really the only measurement that matters is camera placement toward the top edge of the phone as opposed to the center. This works better because you can get closer to the strings. A few exotic camera phones position the camera dead center on the rear face of the phone to be more like a point-and-shoot camera. These may not work since the Magnet may block the lens. They're not super common though.
During the design of the Magnet, we used all the most popular high-speed camera phones as references — Galaxy S5, various HTC and Moto phones, and so on — and nearly all of them have the camera either close to or right up against the phone's top edge.
We haven't tested with any tablets, but if it doesn't weigh much more than something like an iPhone 6 Plus, it should probably be fine. It's more the weight than the size that might be problematic — so a thin "phablet" would likely work, while your Surface or full-size iPad probably will not.
We're sending a prototype to Rusty Cooley to test with his iPhone 6 Plus and we'll post that clip when we have it!
The largest necks our current prototypes fit are 7-strings (neck width of around 2 1/2 – 2 5/8 in.) — but we're working on making the Magnet 8-string compatible as well!
In our testing, the springs were tough to pull apart that wide, and still be small enough to fit a six-string neck. It's a tough balance to expand the range of adjustability without adding unnecessary bulk to the device. But we're going to experiment with different spring strengths to see if we can make it work. It might just be a different custom spring is all we need for 8-strings. We'll update our project if we find a combination that works.
For this model, the neck on a violin or mandolin is too small. The Magnet needs to provide some squeeze on the neck, so it needs to stretch open to activate the spring tension — approximately two inches is the minimum neck width it'll officially support.
Of course, if you wanted to try adapting for the smaller size with some sort of rubber or foam wedge, you enterprising folks could probably figure out a way to make it work! And if there's enough demand, we'd certainly consider working on a better solution.
We'd love to, but it would be a bit cost-prohibitive for us to sell the prototypes. Taking into account the 3D printing, internal parts, and manual assembly, it costs us somewhere between $100-200 bucks, and an hour or more of cutting out and gluing rubber parts, to make each one. We'd feel bad overcharging just to make it worthwhile for us to sell them.
And the most important thing is that the production-line model will actually work even better — the molded plastic should make the spring action super smooth.
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