We told you about this nifty new kickstarter project a few days ago (and they're already over their goal), but we thought you'd be interested to see we're not the only ones excited – even folks like JJ Abrams have given it very good support!
This project is from the folks at Midas Mount – who also have sent us their Skaterail Slider for testing – more on that soon.
Indie Filmmaker Makes Unusual Hollywood Studio Hit: The ʻSnapFocusʼ
A device called the ʻSnapFocusʼ invented to help indie filmmakers has attracted attention of Hollywood studio directors including JJ Abrams.
June 17, 2012 – CULVER CITY, CA — With his project called the SnapFocus, an independent filmmaker has attracted the support of studio directors JJ Abrams, Jimmy Hayward and a host of reality television producers. The project, however, is not a film but a new technology that allows independent filmmakers to achieve Hollywood production value on a shoestring budget. The filmmaker-inventorʼs name is Brandon David Cole and his invention, the ʻSnapFocusʼ uses BMX bicycle brake levers to control the focus on a DSLR camera. The SnapFocus is available only through the crowd- funding platform Kickstarter for $399 and the opportunity to get it ends June 28th.
DSLR cameras allow you to capture HD video with the shallow depth-of-field that is the signature look of expensive movies and television shows. The cameras were built primarily for still photography so keeping these cameras steady and your subjects in sharp focus in motion-picture mode has been a challenge. The SnapFocus is a solution that has everyone from the indie film community to Hollywood studio directors excited.
JJ Abrams, Co-Creator of ʻLostʼ, Director of ʻStar Trekʼ and the Tom Cruise franchise ʻMission: Impossible IIIʼ backed the SnapFocus Kickstarter project in the first few days and emailed Cole to say “Love the product, design and determination.” Jimmy Hayward, Director of major Hollywood studio releases ʻHorton Hears a Whoʼ and ʻJonah Hexʼ declares the SnapFocus the ultimate device for indie filmmakers looking to break into the Hollywood studio system. “The SnapFocus gives you access to big-league production techniques that are normally reserved for large crews and spending tons of dough.” said Hayward.
Reality television producers are also raving about the SnapFocus because it will allow them to give their run-and-gun productions, typically shot on an ENG news-style camera a more cinematic feel. Biagio Messina (www.jokeandbiagio.com), Executive Producer of MTVʼs ʻCagedʼ and CWʼs ʻBeauty and the Geekʼ, has been skeptical of using DSLR for his documentary-style projects until now. “With the SnapFocus it finally makes it possible to shoot reality TV on a DSLR.” said Messina.
An ex-professional BMX rider, Cole bought a DSLR camera to shoot his next feature film and with the help of a retired machinist designed his own camera support with the BMX technology he was most familiar with. “I always knew that using brake levers for focus control would be a hit,” recalls Cole, “but the people getting on board with it is kind of mind-blowing.”
Kickstarter, which recently raised more than $10 Million dollars for the Pebble watch, has become a legitimate way for entrepreneurs like Cole to raise capital without giving control to investors. “Launching this on Kickstarter is a perfect fit for us.” Cole says. “They are the indie film way way of launching a new product design.”
The SnapFocus project was lightning in a bottle on Kickstarter, meeting itʼs $20,000 minimum goal in the first four days of its 30 day run. And even though at the halfway point the project was 200% funded, thereʼs more reason now to back it for the product. “The $20,000 goal was the minimum amount we could raise with this Kickstarter project and deliver a solid product to backers.” Cole states, “Every extra dollar pledged beyond our goal allows us to put more money back into the product and deliver more value for the filmmakers that backed us.”
This is also the only chance to buy it this year. After the Kickstarter campaign, filmmakers will have to wait until 2013 when it will be available exclusively at EVS (www.evsonline.com), a retailer that carries Coleʼs Midas Mount line of film gear.
Backers of the SnapFocus project can pledge a dollar to support the project and stay informed, $399 for the SnapFocus unit, $699 for a complete support rig and other pledge/reward tiers in between. Find the SnapFocus Kickstarter project at www.MidasMount.com/SnapFocus
About Midas Mount
Midas Mount Camera Support Systems builds and sells equipment by independent filmmakers, for independent filmmakers. All Midas Mount products are handmade in Los Angeles, California by local craftspeople. www.MidasMount.com
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(cover photo credit: snap from the project)