This year we had two booths–one at the Come and Capture Film Factory “off campus”, as well as the traditional booth space at the SXSW trade show, which has DOUBLED in size since last year, and features an amazing collection of tech startups (but surprisingly little filmmaking gear!)
We demoed two partially functioning cameras–the electronics and guts were all inside, UI and menus were programmed, display functions worked, but the firmware for getting the image from the sensor into the LCD was not yet complete (we were stuck behind one major hurdle, which has since been crossed).
Mike, our CTO, flew down from Toronto for two days to talk with visitors to our booth while the team was slaving away in the cold up north. This is the first time he’s interacted with our audience outside of a uStream cameo, and it was wonderful to have him there experiencing all the questions, comments, and enthusiasm about the machine he’s building firsthand.
SXSW was the first time we’ve been able to accurately show people the weight, size, and ergonomics of the camera, and people really responded to it, taking tons of photos and videos. Hundreds of people stopped by the booth to chat with us and check out what we were doing, including backers and many who had stopped by last year to discover the project in its infancy. It really energized our team to see how keen people are to get their hands on the camera when it’s released–we had everyone from YouTube sensations to Sundance directors to Pixar animators stop by to discuss projects with us.
We tried to take advantage of the show to get the D16 hooked up with as many cool accessories as we could, bringing the cameras over to Audio Technica to mount some mics and visiting our trade show neighbor Douglas Monroe, whose Dougmon rigs are quite versatile and handy. Their sling is particularly nice for the ladies, putting all the weight of a camera on your hips instead of your shoulders.
Our fellow Kickstarter alums, Cinetics, also came by to try out their newest motorized rig, the CineMoto.
We discovered a lot of interesting companies there too. The two that stood out the most to us were Seed & Spark, a really cool new way to crowd source and build an audience for indie film, and Hive Lighting, a new film lighting company that specializes in day light balanced lights that are more efficient, longer lasting, and overall cheaper than HMI. We actually met some of the Seed & Spark people at an event in which we shared a panel on the future of independent film. The company is based on a really great core principal and we are excited to use this service for our next film. Hive Lighting is a plasma based lighting system that can run off of batteries and runs at a temperature so low that you can touch the front element of the light, even after it has been on for hours. If you haven’t please check these two companies out, I think you will be happy you did.
And one of the best things about SXSW this year was that we had the pleasure of sharing our booth with Alyssa Bolsey, the great grand daughter of Jacques Bolsey, the inventor of the Bolex in the 20’s. She’s working on a feature-length documentary about Jacques and his invention, and her team decided to use Kickstarter as their funding tool. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, check it out! It’s going to be an amazing film.
SXSW was a real treat for us as the tail end of an almost month-long travel journey for work, and we can’t wait to visit Austin again next year! This week we’re back in the office and barreling towards the finish line. We’ll be doing updates on UI, lenses and more in the coming weeks as we prepare to release final images and get these cameras out to backers.