Crowdfunded Campaigns

True-View is a Kickstarter campaign to let you make 3D photos and videos with your smartphone

If you're looking for an example of a small company with big dreams and an ethos of 'doing things right', have a look at the Pratley Company. They're two brothers, Peter and Martin Brennan, and their friend Oscar Fernandez and they have just launched a Kickstarter appeal to help get their dream of the True-View off the ground. The True-View is a device that allows you to take photos with your smartphone but see them in 3D. So how does it work? Through mirrors and physics. When you place your smartphone into the True-View, a series of mirrors inside it reflects light off of each other, effectively splitting your phone's lens into two. This produces a pair of stereoscopic images. When you view them through the True-View the two images are displayed side-by-side. The left eye sees the left image, and the right eye sees the right image. Then it is down to the brain, which amalgamates them into a single image where there's a perception of depth. It appears to be 3D.

True-View explained

If you think that this sounds similar to the Poppy, a 3D viewer that met its Kickstarter goal within a remarkably short period of time, you would be right. However, the Pratley team is keen to point out the differences. First, and perhaps most significantly, the True-View is Android-compatible, whereas the Poppy only catered for iOS devices. For anyone with a non-Apple phone who felt excluded from the Poppy party, now's your chance.

The Pratley Co presents - The TRUE-VIEW™ from ThePratleyCo on Vimeo.

It isn't just that True-View caters to a larger market than an iOS-only device, however. It has been designed to be a sustainable and more artisan product. If you change phone you won't need a new True-View, you just have to replace its base, where the phone is secured. Quite a bit of it is hand-crafted and the Pratley team has gone out of their way to meet with engineers and manufacturers to get the right people for the job. In their words: 'We could send our design files off to a cheap factory in China and see what comes back, but it just didn't feel like the right way to do this.'

They also wanted something that was beautiful and not just functional: the True-View has a leather stipple effect similar that of more retro cameras and a silver chrome piping finish.

Leather and chrome

All of this means that the True-View has an enormous Kickstarter goal of £125,000. This requires a lot of people to pledge £65 (approximately $105) for a True-View. These guys want to change the way that we think about 3D imagery; if you love stereoscopy, check out their Kickstarter.

iblazr, a synched flash for smartphones, is looking for Kickstarter support

Most of the time when I'm taking photos with my iPhone I accept it for what it is and try my best to work within its limitations; it's far from my primary camera so it's not that much of a bother. However, I do get frustrated with its dismal low-light performance and glarey flash. So when I saw this Kickstarter project for a synchronised flash for smartphones and tablets, I sat up and took notice. It's called the iblazr and its the brainchild of a Ukrainian team of developers and designers.

Black and White

The iblazr synchs with a smartphone or tablet via its headphone jack and is compatible with both the front- and rear-facing cameras. It charges via a USB cable and is good for about 1,000 flashes or 40 minutes of continuous light. Its functionality, including a choice of stills or video mode and adjustable brightness, is controlled via the free iblazr app.

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 15.56.19

If you want some off-camera flash action, you can hook it up using a headphone extension cable and you can even have a dual flash with a headphone splitter.

You can watch the video to learn a bit more:

The project needs to hit $58,000 to reach its goal; it's already on $26,000 with 39 days still to go. If you put $39 into the project, you can choose between a black or a white iblazr as a reward. For people who are serious about their smartphoneography, it seems a reasonable proposition.

Want a Poppy iPhone-to-3D-camera device? Get in quick!

Poppy, the Kickstarter project that allows you to turn your iPhone into a 3D camera, will hit its Kickstarter deadline at 10:50 EDT on 26 July 2013. Now whilst the project reached its funding goal within a remarkable nine hours of going live and is sitting pretty with over $175,000 pledged to the cause, if you want a Poppy and haven't made a pledge already, you probably should. For a $49 donation (plus shipping fees), you'll be first in line for a black Poppy; a $59 pledge (plus the shipping fees) gets you a white version. Wait until Poppy is in full production and you'll have to pay at least $69, plus the shipping fees, and you'll be behind the Kickstarter backers in the queue.

Want? Head over to Poppy's Kickstarter page before the deadline.

Poppy - turning your iPhone into a 3D camera

Did you have a Viewmaster stereoscope as a kid? One of those 3D viewing contraptions into which you'd insert a 'reel' of images that were in a cardboard disc, look through the eye holes and then depress a lever to rotate the images through the viewing mechanism? Yes! One of those! I had one, too. In fact, it's probably still at my parents' house, somewhere. But if Joe and Ethan from Hack Things have anything to do with anything, there will soon be an iPhone compatible equivalent that lets you turn photos and videos into stereoscopic masterpices. It's called Poppy, and they've just launched their Kickstarter appeal to get things moving.

Nothing about Poppy is digital—apart from your iPhone—it works entirely with optics. You insert your iPhone into the device and a set of mirrors captures a pair of binocular images on your iPhone's lens. When you look through Poppy's viewfinder, the images are combined to create a 3D scene.

Have a look at the video, because Joe and Ethan explain it better than I ever could.

You can watch your own videos in 3D through Poppy, or whatever you fancy off of YouTube. If you make a video using Poppy and want to share it with your friends, they can see it in 3D with the stylish addition of a pair of red-blue glasses.

If you head over to Kickstarter and pledge your support to raise $40,000, you can help bring Poppy into production and maybe even get your hands on one of the first models. I'm not a fan of 3D at all, that's no secret, but the nostalgia of this really appeals!

Update! 16:30 BST: Less than 24 hours after launching their Kickstarter appeal, Ethan and Joe have exceeded their funding requirement for Poppy. Wow!

Kickstarter: Photographer looks at what happened to the Olympic Mascots

I can't lie - I'm pretty partial to Kickstarter (and that's not just because I'm a prolific backer on there, nor because I've done a campaign myself)... So when our old friend Joe Giacomet reached out and told Photocritic about his project Cash for Gold, I was hooked... Struggling a bit there, Wenlock?!

Cash for Gold is a satirical look at the London 2012 Olympic Legacy and sees London Olympics mascot Wenlock a year on from the end of the Olympics.

Poor Wenlock is now an alcoholic, depressed and disheveled inside a cash for gold shop cashing in his 3 gold medals.

The image is being crowd-funded through Kickstarter -- quite possibly the first Kickstarter campaign I've seen that's targeted at funding just a single image - but what an image it is!

Check out the video below, and then bounce along to the Kickstarter page for Cash for Gold, for the rest of the deets.

When the going gets tough, the tough get... crowdfunding

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Prizes might not be the only reason that we enter photo competitions, but they certainly provide an incentive and a lovely recognition of achievement. It’s rather groovy being able to point to something and say that you won it because one of your photos was thought to be awesome. But prizes for photography competitions aren’t necessarily high on corporate sponsors’ lists of charitable good causes when money gets tight. So what are the options for competition organisers when the pot at the end of the rainbow vanishes?

If you’re the Edgar Degas Foundation, the organisers of the Dutch photography prize, Bouw in Beeldprijs, you turn to the general public.

Last year, Bouw in Beeldprijs, which is seen as an important platform for Dutch photography, had over 140 entries. This year, it’s in excess of 200. To ensure that this year’s ten finalists are supported and that there’ll be a competition next year, the organisers are looking to raise €10,000 in donations from ordinary people who (probably) have an interest in the arts.

The music industry has already looked at crowdfunding, so why not photography?

Bouw in Beeldprijs is grateful for any donation, no matter how small. Those who are able to give a little more might get a ticket to the competition’s exhibition, a print of one of the entries, a limited edition print, a private viewing, or public recognition of their support. (And if you want to, you can contribute here.)

Whether or not they’ll be able to make it work, I don’t know. Do people care enough? Do people have enough to spare? But at least they haven’t let the competition keel over and die.

(Featured image: Transvoid, by Roderik Henderson.)