A collaboration between product design and development company Blender Design and miniature video camera provider Teknique to create a camera in a cube has hit Kickstarter with a funding target of US$100,000.
The idea was born from the need for a camera that let the owner get in the action instead of being stuck behind the lens, says design director and co-founder Oliver McDermott.
“We were looking for a point of difference with a product you can control with your smartphone.
“We were frustrated with being the one who’s always holding the camera and who wasn’t part of what’s happening. We wanted to change that around and put the user in the moment.”
McDermott’s company joined forces with Teknique about 12 months ago to develop the Quebee after working together on miniature camera technology for Teknique’s original design manufacture partners.
Blender Design was set up in 2006, while Teknique was established in 2004.
The new product’s technology is similar to another wireless camera offering, the Go Pro, which is popular among adrenaline junkies. But the Quebee is designed to be put down and left to film in one place, says McDermott, adding it’s intuitive, cheaper than the Go Pro and caters for a less ‘techy’ crowd.
It has one button to turn the camera on and off, and to start and stop recording, with all other functionality controlled by the accompanying app. The Kickstarter price will be US$199, with a possible recommended retail cost of between US$200 and US$300.
The project got off to a flying start, with about $15,000 pledged by 130 backers within 24 hours of launching.
The app allows users to access the camera using Bluetooth or wi-fi, view a live feed of the video and set up remote recording if the user is within wi-fi range.
Co-founder Ben Bodley likens the Quebee to a personal cameraperson — it has a full HD camera with a wide angle lens and can record continuously for five hours, or up to four hours in timelapse mode. It’s also water resistant.
Using Kickstarter isn’t just about funding, it’s about building a user base for the product and validating it, says McDermott. “We’ll get a group of early adopters and a base of customers from Kickstarter that will have an influence on the final design decisions as we move towards the final product.”
Blender takes care of industrial design and mechanical engineering for the Quebee, while Teknique does electromagnetic engineering and software, McDermott says.
The development process was done using several sketches and 3D printed prototypes, used to gauge public feedback.
The companies are considering making their own accessories, like a tripod and camera mount, and want to add functionality to the app.
Currently the app allows adjustment of camera and video time lapse settings, and zoom control. It also allows uploads to cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive, but the companies want to create their own storage offering. They also plan to further develop the app for editing, sharing, adding effects and filters and adding soundtracks.
“So much footage is shot but people never share it. We want to make it really easy for people to do that and create videos that are worth sharing,” says McDermott. “That’s what the time lapse is really good for.”
The companies already have Chinese manufacturers on board that they’ve worked with in the past.