How the iOgrapher became a reality
By Randi Altman
SAN MARINO, CA — I come up with inventions and “brilliant” ideas all the time. Seriously. My issue is follow-through. If I had it, The Randi Altman Napkin Sleeve would be worn by every kid seven and under in North America.
Well, meet David Basulto, educator, producer, post pro and the man behind the iOgrapher, a device that turns your iPad or iPad mini into a camera rig. This guy has follow-through
As a teacher of media arts at a high school in Southern California, Basulto quickly realized that the amount of cameras available for shooting projects was, well, limited. He found a solution. “All the kids have iPhones and iPads, so I started letting them use them on projects. It was something they had with them at all times, and on weekends…” handy for whenever their creativity took hold.
While more projects were being shot, the image and sound quality was lacking. “It was always shaky, and the audio was horrendous,” explains Basulto. “They had good ideas but they couldn’t capitalize on them because of the shortcomings of the audio and image stability. “
So he set out to find something that would stabilize the “cameras.” But he had trouble finding just the right solution for his students. “The stuff I saw was either really expensive or not available for the iPad Mini, which I felt was the game changing device, because of the price point and what it did.”
Thanks to the Paper app on his iPad, he started sketching some ideas and running them by his iOS-loving students. “We’d look at it everyday, and I would ask them, “Does it look cool, do you like the shape, would you use this?’’”
When they got to a design they all agreed would work, the next question was, how much would it have to cost to be in their collective wheelhouse. “I am not a mechanical engineer by any means,” explains Basulto, “and I knew I needed different sizes, so I started looking around. I was getting quotes of $5K just to make it for me.”
Just as he was ready to give in and throw down the $5K, he read an article in Entrepreneur magazine about 3D printing, and that’s when it all came together. He found a New York City-based company called Shapeways (www.shapeways.com) and for $200 a fellow in South Africa engineered his design, and Shapeways printed a 3D prototype for another $200. “All of a sudden I had a working prototype that was able to take on lenses and put on tripods and everything.”
As he got out in the world with it, people started asking where they could get one. So he stepped up his game. “I always wanted to do a Kickstarter project, because it’s a good way to test the market. We got funded in our 30 days.”
“For pros, we have three mounts on top,” describes Basulto. “You can add professional microphones, XLR inputs, wireless kits, Senheisser mics, shotgun mics, anything that attaches to a Cold Shoe. Then it attaches to the iPad. There are a bunch of different lights we use. Manfrotto makes an entry-level light, and I have a Rotolight that is really big. Then you put it on any standard tripod. When you are done you just grab the handles on either side and now you’re mobile, like a Steadicam.”
He also sees the iOgrapher being used in previs and storyboarding, and for tech scouts. “You can go out and shoot stuff, and if you have WiFi you can send the video back right away.” He also points to an app called Storyboard (formerly named Hitchcock). “You can shoot stills and within the app you can simulate dolly moves and zooms and add notes and your voice, so you can send back an entire scout you are doing right over the Internet.”
THE FINAL STAGES
The mini version will be available, in a variety of colors, through www.iographer.com for $65. The larger version for the iPad 3 and 4 will follow shortly after for a few dollars more. Basulto is already working on an iPhone version.