Thursday, April 11, 2013

Be the Eye in the Sky!

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am pleased to be joined by Nick Braun who is here to talk to us about the wonderful LineCam System.  Thank you for joining us today Nick!

Thanks for having me James, I’m happy to be here talking about our innovative product.

When I first saw your project the first thing I thought of was, “FOOTBALL!”  Is your system anything like the overhead cameras they use in the NFL? Can you tell us exactly what your system is?

The only similarity about the two systems, is they are both in some way a cable actuated camera rig. The system at football games requires 4-8 anchor points, each containing a winch system that pulls the camera in different directions. This system can take multiple days to set up and needs a 4 to 6 man crew to operate, as well as having a significantly prohibitive cost for most production crews or hobbyists.

Our system is a “point-to-point” cable actuated camera rig. It requires only 2 anchor points using a simple rigging and tensioning system. The drive unit and other electronics are housed inside of the shuttle protected from the elements. Movement of the shuttle and camera gimbal are achieved with a radio transmitter. Our system can take less than 5 minutes to set up and have functioning, and only requires 1 person to operate.

This is a very professional looking rig!  What brings you to Kickstarter with it versus selling it to an equipment manufacturer?  

We are wanting to retain ownership of the company, patents, creative control, and the manufacturing process. We take great pride in manufacturing a high precision product that is built to last, is 100% made in the USA, and has a lifetime warranty. We are also big supporters of “keeping it local” and continuing to provide local jobs.
Kickstarter and the whole crowd funding buzz seemed like the best logical step for our first production run of systems.

Besides the obvious Gopro cameras, what other kinds of equipment can you attach to your system?  

All of our current shuttles have a weight limit of 20lbs. We have used point and shoot cameras, various DSLR’s, a Canon XA-10,  and Sony FS100 to name a few. The limiting factor is the current pan/tilt camera gimbal we are using. It is a third party unit and has some size limitations. We are currently in development of our own camera gimbal that is modular. You will be able to buy into the base unit for 20lbs or less, and then expand to the HD Series that will be able to house a fully decked out RED, BMCC, Phantom, or any other Cinema type camera. Our current goal is to fund the manufacturing of the shuttles and rigging

This system seems to be for professionals only.  Were you thinking of prosumers and up only with this product?  

We originally started out wanting to produce a very affordable system for the average consumer, but we were set on not outsourcing the manufacturing process and retaining high precision and quality, which led to slightly higher prices. Our Glide Lite Shuttle is our base model, which can be upgraded to a Glide Shuttle by upgrading to a cheese plate and mounting towers, and if that isn’t enough we are planning to release a power module upgrade for the Glide. It will allow users to upgrade to a less expensive radio controlled shuttle just like the Flow.
Modularity is the name of the game, and all of our future accessories will be universal for all of our shuttles.

I could see some great uses by marching bands and other school functions, have you had any interest from colleges to purchase your products?  

Not specifically for marching bands, although I do like that idea! I spent a few years in a drum line and marching band back in my highschool days. We have been contacted about other team sports and had an interesting request to hang a target on the shuttle for training quarterbacks and their throwing skills. It is strong enough to handle it, so why not!

What previous work have you folks done?  Have you released camera accessories and rigs like this in the past?

This is our first venture into camera gear, but we are all photo and video enthusiasts that have had our thumbs on the pulse of innovative camera gear for quite some time. We have made gadgets and special parts for ourselves and friends for some time, but this will be our first offering to the public.

How close to full production are you?  Once the Kickstarter ends will you start manufacturing?  

If we had the money, we would already be manufacturing systems. Once Kickstarter funds we plan to immediately start manufacturing and hope to have all systems and benefits delivered in June. Following the completion of our Kickstarter project we will be offering product direct through our website.

You are looking for $75,000 and with the top end systems costing over $5,000 it doesn’t sound like you’d need to sell many.  Where is all the money going?  Will you just be producing what the backers order or will you be creating a full production run?  

The majority of monies will be allocated for manufacturing and business costs.
The goal is to produce the product for backers and get our systems out in the field capturing spectacular footage. But we are hoping to do well enough that we can have a small supply of product and gear on hand. We will let demand determine the scope of our first manufacturing run.

How did you discover Kickstarter?

I am an avid mountain biker, and I had seen on a mountain biking website, a pro rider who launched a kickstarter project for a smart phone case for shooting POV videos.
Fast forward a year or so, I remembered that keyword crowd funding, searched the internet and found Kickstarter.

A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

Most of our engagement thus far has been through social media, email, websites, and word of mouth. As far as the updates go, we plan to have a variety of updating content to keep our backers involved and up to date.

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

Yes, we are beginning to feel like spammers with the amount of content we are pushing through basically every social network possible. I have not used Kicktraq, but will be looking into it.

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

Prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster, lots of hard work, and remember to have fun doing it.

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

Its been wonderful to answer these questions and I hope it gives our possible backers a little more insight into LineCam Systems. We appreciate this opportunity and hope your readers will check out our project. Thank You
Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

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