CineSkates Tripod Dolly
CineSkates Tripod Dolly
As designers, we love big ideas where the designer is cast as the grand auteur. Cineskates represents the polar opposite, where a small adjunct has added completely new dimension to an existing product. Conceived as a lateral response to fast forming imaging technological development cineskates has done the least amount to create the biggest impact. We also recognised how cineskates feels like a child of the burgeoning Kickstarter phenomenon that is creating very new conditions to deliver these kinds of products. Cineskates have been smart in exploiting these new conditions.
CineSkates Tripod Dolly
CineSkates turn your tripod into a versatile video dolly. The set of three precision wheel assemblies connect to the feet of the flexible GorillaPod Focus tripod to “pull off sophisticated-looking camera moves with the nudge of a finger”, aptly put by Fast Company. CineSkates are designed in two parts, and the connection between them, dubbed Cinetics Connect, enables rotation of the wheels. This rotation allows the user to define the dolly’s path, which can result in perfect 360 degree rotations or linear tracking shots. Cinetics Connect also enables expandability. For example, CineSquid, our second product, snaps into the same clamp!2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Enthused by the capabilities of video DSLR cameras; I quickly made the leap from photography to cinematography. But, I was quickly disheartened by the cost and size of the equipment required to capture the captivating video that I was after. I wanted to capture fluid movements with gear that would fit in my backpack. After trying countless options, I realized that the perfect urethane skateboard wheel mounted to a tripod might just be the solution. Encourage by video enthusiasts, I iterated through over 50 prototypes before heading to Kickstarter to get real feedback from customers. They loved it.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
I’m an engineer and a camera nerd. I’m passionate about captivating people with images, and I love to build things. That passion combined with support from people around the world fueled the CineSkates project.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
During the development of CineSkates, I was studying Computational Photography at the MIT MediaLab. We were busy playing with high technology, when I veered to the low tech solution of CineSkates. The research that went into the development of CineSkates was unorthodox. I had taken hundreds of thousands of photos and looked at even more. I spent too much time everyday browsing through Flickr; I credit that for developing my eye for captivating images. I used the 3D printers in the MIT student machine shop to prototype CineSkates; this is what enabled me to perfect the Cinetics Connect mechanism. I also tested countless bearings and urethane materials. All during the development, I was using the product every day. Building a product to solve my own problem enabled me to perfect it. For example, I decided to print a ruler marking system around the wheel perimeter so that I could shoot a moving time-lapse of the night sky on an extraordinarily clear night in the desert. These markings have proved useful not for just time-lapse photography, but also for stop motion. I also surveyed filmmakers to improve my understanding of what they would value in the product. Finally, I met with a leading injection molding company to determine the perfect material and mold characteristics.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
CineSkates created a versatile filmmaking tool that is as capable, and sometimes more so than equipment that is more complex and far more expensive. They enable low budget filmmakers to create the shots that they previously could not, and they enable professionals to carry lighter equipment and capture shots that larger equipment is not capable of. The CineSkates project was crowd-funded by customers on Kickstarter. I set a goal of $20,000 to finance the project. This goal was met in the first day, and the project ended up exceeding the goal by over 2400%. Since then we’ve launched a web store and expanded to retail stores both domestically and internationally, and we have been listening to our customers to build more intuitive, portable and functional camera gear. Maybe our customers say it best…
“You just MADE MY LIFE!!!” – Yoni
“It’s a bit like the stork delivering the baby” – Chris