Once Upon A Time In Canada…

After working on our project for more than a year, December was the first time I went up to Canada to meet our Digital Bolex engineering team in person.

A little techie holiday cheer on the office tree in Toronto

In mid December the new boards we were waiting on finally came in. This time the fit was perfect, so we flew up to Canada to stuff everything into the body and do some testing.

It was cool to finally put a face to all the email addresses I’ve been seeing for the past 14 months. What’s great about living in this tech and Internet age is that we can collaborate with people all over the globe like never before, but when you get down to it, meetings are always more productive in person than over Skype and email, where you can spitball ideas rapid fire between a large number of people.

We had a couple of design chores to take care of while we were up there. For one of these, Mike and I sat down and did a little redesigning on the crank–I want to make sure the stress is on your arm rather than fingertips, which get tired/strained more easily–which is infinitely more effective when you have two people sitting at one computer.

The team had many, many meetings during our week in Toronto–but one in particular stood out, a full meeting of everyone in the company, over 20 people, filling the entire conference room of the office, which is a pretty big space. It may have been the first time the entire team was congregated at once, and I think everyone felt the importance of the project and what we are all creating.

We scheduled the visit around our first camera body’s arrival from China, but due to a snowstorm during the trip, the body didn’t arrive in time, which was pretty aggravating–while we had the parts to put inside the camera, we didn’t have a place to put them. The body did arrive at the office just before Christmas, and is currently being assembled:

Many of our engineers worked throughout the holidays to keep things moving, which we really appreciate. If we’re on track, we should have the boards in the body and images coming from both very soon, and have the first functional beta cam we can run around with. Exciting! (Till then we’ll just sit here humming the body+boards theme song.)

Speaking of on track, while we were in Toronto we spent a good deal of time discussing our schedule, and came to a plan that seems pretty reasonable. We’re not going to post that until the next few milestones are hit, but things seem to be moving along pretty quickly now. I’ll be going to Sundance at the end of the month when we have some downtime in the LA office, and Joe will be flying back up to Canada at the same time to play around with the shooting model and start creating some of the requested DNG tests you guys have asked for on the forum.

By the end of the month we’ll have a good idea of the concrete release date of the camera. By then we also should have received the first prototype of our rig and first set of lenses, and can fit everything together. We didn’t initially plan to have all of these items done at the same time, but this may end up being a benefit when we go into a second pre-order, as people will likely be able to order kits instead of just bodies if they so desire.

On the more  side of things, I did some layout & design updates to the website, most importantly the new calendar tab and calendar box on the front page. We’ll be using this to post more long-term events, releases, panels, so they’ll automatically show up on the front page as they approach. If you have suggestions of other things that should go on our calendar, let us know!

5 thoughts on “Once Upon A Time In Canada…

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  2. Its getting pretty physical by now 😉

    When looking at the second image, pls assure me that inserting a CF card too hastely will not shift focus.

    • It looks a little delicate now, but imagine it with the Sensor board mounted firmly in a large brass structure, and the rest of the electronics mounted firmly within a carbonized aluminum one.

      This thing is solid like a tank, a very small tank mind you 🙂

  3. Thanks for the update Elle.
    Good to see you guys are now having human-time with the engineers. I believe maintaining this contact will be crucial for both morale & momentum. Keeping it driving forward.
    I’m from New Zealand and understand the tyranny of distance (even in the internet age).
    A couple of local inventors here in New Zealand are nearing the end of a long kickstarter journey producing the “Genie” motion control timelapse device.

    They have also blogged their experience every step of the way, and what was most poignant was their decision to visit China for a few months and basically “hand deliver” on the manufacturing side of the units. Their model is fairly unique in that they used multiple manufacturers, and ran into multiple issues…not the least communication. (read their blog! Its insane what they went through getting the product to market)
    I encourage you both to fiendishly obsess on getting this one over the line…..
    It wont be easy when it comes to the final hurdles, not to mention the red-tape of compliance , but I’m sure you guys will pull it off… I look forward to shooting with your cam….

    Go well!

    Justin (New Zealand)

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