Thank You

Anyone who’s started a small business can tell you that it’s not easy, especially in tech; even the most viable and promising product can be held back by the discontinuation of a part, a materials shortage, or rising cost to manufacture when facilities close or require large minimum orders to continue production.

As a small business, always facing potentially fatal hurdles and unknown competition, it can be extremely difficult to know when the “right time” is to for a product line to come to an end. Do you try to read the tea leaves looking for potential new competitors? Do you hold your breath and dread a future when stock could be collecting dust on the shelves? If production costs rise, do you raise prices? What is the right margin for survival? What happens if the sensor you’ve been waiting for to make your next camera simply doesn’t exist?

After much deliberation, our team has recently decided that, for us, it’s the responsible decision to leave the table before any of those questions begin to affect our company and our customers.

Digital Bolex will no longer be producing cinema cameras after this month, and we will close our online store effective June 30th. Cameras will still be available to purchase until 11:59PM, PST on that date, and we still have cameras in stock. So if you’ve been eager to purchase a D16 for your project, consider this last call.

Five years ago, in summer of 2011, when I started on this journey with Joe and our team, we were filmmakers a vision: we wanted to use the new culture of crowdfunding to amplify the voices of independent filmmakers and show the camera industry that creative storytellers didn’t need to rely on big box corporations to choose the look and function of how they told stories for the big screen. When we raised $262K within 36 hours of launching our Kickstarter in March of 2012, we lit a fire and proved that filmmakers truly wanted control over their tools of expression, and were willing to think outside the box and join a revolution to create those tools. From that revolution a community was born that’s grown over a thousand members strong, and includes world-renowned artists and filmmakers from every background and tradition, using their D16s on the smallest of independent projects to the largest of network television shows, screening their work in theaters and major film festivals across the globe. We couldn’t be more proud of our accomplishment, and of the community that helped us to build it.

Our community is a strong one, and (not to brag, but) the most helpful, considerate, and brilliant group of filmmakers I’ve had the honor of conversing with and sharing work with online—a rarity these days. On a personal level, I’ve grown tremendously as a storyteller, cinematographer, and director through interacting with our users, and many have come to be close friends.

From suggestions on how to improve the original KS camera, to tips on grading, development of color science, encouragement to fellow filmmakers to test and learn and experiment and share, our users have intimately participated in the development and growth of the D16 from day one, and are to thank for making the D16 one of the most important cameras in the field today—not just because it was the first crowd-sourced cinema camera, but because, even after two and a half years on the market, it still remains the only affordable camera with fully raw, uncompressed 12-bit footage, native global shutter, incredible audio capabilities, and, as of our most recent firmware update this May, color science that now rivals cameras tens of times its cost (and is finally recordable through HDMI to compressed formats of your choice.)

As we still debate the value of higher bit-depth 2k over compressed 4k in the trades today, and what high resolution really means when people watch content at home or on small screens, it’s clear the D16 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and we’re proud to have created a storytelling tool that will live on for years to come as the right choice for filmmakers who don’t want to compromise on their creative vision or ability to control what their stories look like on screen.

We’ve learned a tremendous amount from our filmmaking community over the past five years, as we’ve listened to your feedback on ustream and our forums and twitter, designed new products to make using the camera even easier for professionals, and produced and sponsored content to show the world just what our camera is capable of, and we’re excited to keep growing and sharing content with you. As we’ve always said—buying a camera from Digital Bolex isn’t the end of our relationship, it’s just the beginning.

While we aren’t going to be making cameras anymore, we’re not going anywhere—you don’t have to go home, but you can stay here. Our website, forum, and help section will continue as a resource for existing customers and those renting the camera from private owners or rental houses who need help, and as a way for filmmakers to promote their D16 projects. Our phone will stay on, and all warranties, repairs, and upgrades will continue to be performed by our team as we honor our commitment to the users who have chosen to enter into a relationship with us. Our in-kind support of filmmakers, film initiatives, and our grant for women cinematographers will also still be active, and we will also continue to support owners by sharing rental information and locations for interested filmmakers.

We want to thank our community for supporting our team and championing the Digital Bolex like it’s your own (it is), believing in our mission, and taking a new step in this journey with us as we transition away from retail and towards becoming the best resource for our community of users that we can be. We’re excited to keep sharing our stories with you, and to see the stories you’ll share with us.

We will have one final UStream hangout on June 30th at noon Pacific time, and we hope you’ll join us.
Elle and Team Bolex

34 thoughts on “Thank You

  1. I’m so bummed. I was planning on buying one by the end of July. This was too short a notice, guys. Is there any way you can extend your last call date? Or is this the final decision? Either way, you guys made something special with this camera.

  2. You made my dream camera came true. So proud and happy to have your product and to make memories with it that will stay forever.
    Thank you for everything you done so far !
    Best luck and endless hapiness to you.

    Laurent

  3. No!!!! I have literally been saving for 2 years for this camera. I was sooooo close. No camera has inspired me like the D16. Please stay open. Every sucker that doubted you and your vision will now buy them up and they’ll become some unused overpriced trophy (aka, way out of my league). I really really want a Bolex, please let me know if anything changes… please.

  4. I will be the proud owner of a D16 forever!!!

    Just an idea: why not to open the hardware, and the software. I mean, there are a lot of people who will enjoy keep working, or hacking the camera in the near future. i think we have a great base here to start a comunity camera….

  5. I’ve been wanting this damn camera since it was released and mainly because I felt it was the perfect followup the great Ikonoskop A Cam DII….My wife and I were planning on purchasing one for a film camp for kids but its so devastating to know I will never get the opportunity of owning one now…I’am so hurt because the same thing happened with Ikonoskop right before I was able to pull the trigger. Not madd at you Digital Bolex team just pissed at the market is all. I have NO interest in ANY digital camera…I guess I just continue shooting on Super 16mm and 35mm. Sooooo saddened by the news.

  6. I told you so. 4k is an immovable object that will progress now and near future. Learn from this and only blame your stubbornness to defend an idea that led you to failure .

      • Despite our disagreements. I think you guys should try again but with today’s video market. I honestly liked the concept but really did not like the fact it wasn’t 4k. I still think you guys would have had great sales if you had made it 4k. Wish you the best.

  7. Joe and Elle. I urge you not to do this. Strip down the camera if necessary or do a deal with a bigger company if necessary, but please don’t let it die this way.

    • Stripping down the camera isn’t something that’s possible at this juncture, but we are exploring options. We know it’s sad and have received hundreds of emails this week from those who had planned to make purchases but did not get the chance.

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  9. Thanks for everything, guys. I’ve never regretted my purchase once. You all did what a lot of experts and armchair economists said couldn’t be done. I plan to hold on to my D16 for years to come. It’s a great camera that blows away anything else in the same price range. And even some that are beyond. While I’m really sad things have gone down this way I know you’re doing what’s right for you. Just be sure to keep in touch.

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  12. Thank you to everyone on the Digital Bolex team, and to all of the backers who helped make the camera a reality.

    I’ll be putting camera #42 to good use on my own Feature Films in the coming decades.

    It really is the only camera out there that ticks all of the boxes for my needs.

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  14. That’s sad news indeed. Sorry to hear this. Out of curiosity, What happens to cameras that don’t sell? Are they dismantled and recycled etc.

  15. After two years and many new cameras coming to market, I still haven’t seen anything I would choose over my D16. It’s unique image quality is unmatched by anything near its price range.
    It is the purest, most simple photographic instrument there is in the digital world.
    4k has taken the market from you too soon. Hopefully you guys will find a way to jump back in when the right sensor appears.

  16. I been wanted the MFT Digital BOLEX for months but I do not have enough funds to get it. And after reading this, makes me super devasting that I will never see it in my hands. It was one of the perfect solution for my ideal type of tool to make some films. I can’t believe that I missed out, its not the right time to end it. I will pray and hope If I could win a lotto tomorrow or so hopefully I could get ti before its too late, if not, I failed.

    • “I been wanted the MFT Digital BOLEX for months but I do not have enough funds to get it.”

      That’s exactly my reason, too. I wanted the MFT version of it, but I just don’t have the funds to get it.

  17. Thank you Elle, Joe and the whole DB16 team – for everything! I plan to shoot with my mythic unicorn for years to come. What a ride. What a team. What a community. What a camera.

    Salud

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