Think you’ve seen every possible smartphone add-on? Think again. As part of my role managing Firebrand Group I get exposed to some great product innovations, and the Lumenati CS1 definity fits the bill. The CS1, which is currently a Kickstarter project, pairs with your iPhone 6 or next gen iPhone (Q3/Q4 release date) to recreate the classic film camera experience. It merges the tech features of a digital device--such as film-free shooting, instant sharing and an editing app--with the fun design and ergonomics that lo-fi classic cameras were once known for.

Cinematographers simply pop their iPhone into the Lumenati CS1 just like their parents and grandparents loaded an 8mm film cartridge back in the day. The unit is portable and lightweight, allowing anyone to frame and film a steady, stable shot with the pull of a trigger. The real-time viewfinder, arguably its best feature, allows WYSIWYG capabilities even in bright light, a feature that is pretty darn elusive with today's mobile devices. Plus, lenses can be swapped to shoot in wide angle, fisheye and telephoto.

The idea came from a combination of hatred for vertical video and the love of the Super8 form factor,” says Scott McDonald, co-founder and CEO of Lumenati. “We saw so many people making great films with their iPhones. The quality is amazing and getting better everyday. But, one big problem is the ergonomics suck for filming.” McDonald attests to seeing developers make some interesting gadgets that help film, but none with the requisite style. “So, using inspiration from the Super8 and the incredible technology of the iPhone, the CS1 was born.”

The Lumenati CS1 uses an optical-quality glass lensing system. Its lenses--that's right, lenses--range from wide angle to telephoto and deliver crisp stunning images. The lenses are designed for high-resolution HD cameras and when paired with the CS1 create the perfect look for any occasion. One of the CS1's best features are that you can add accessories into the mix--just like an expensive camcorder might. Add filters, handles, microphones, and lights, which greatly enhance the overall quality of the filming experience. Place the Lumenati CS1 onto a tripod for completely steady and beautiful video.

The smartcase has already been featured in FastCompany, CNET, and Mashable, among other publications. As of this writing, the project has 717 backers (disclaimer: I have backed this project), as well as $173,175 pledged of its initial $75,000 goal, with 23 days to go. It's done well enough that the project's new stretch goal is $215,000; if the goal is reached, every backer will be able to select between black, white, and the most popular color (above). If the developers are successful in fundraising – which they certainly appear to be – they hope to offer options for all sizes and smartphones. For more information, visit cinematicsmartcase.com or the project’s Kickstarter page. You can vote on colors here.

Published on: Jul 29, 2015
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