AVIATOR CAMERA GEAR
THE SWAP SYSTEM
This was one of those projects that hit upon every aspect of the design process imaginable. Not only did we spend a lot of time researching during the development process for Aviator Camera Gear, but also brainstorming, conceptualizing, 3D modeling, 3D printing, prototyping, and sourcing off-the-shelf components. It was a process that lasted more than two years and brought together countless industry veterans to lend their expertise towards the filmmaking tripod you see before you.
After conceptualizing the design of the product, we shifted our focus toward the creation of 3D models. And, once final 3D models were created, prototyping commenced. The prototpying process for this tripod, branded The International, was greatly shortened by the use of our in-house 3D printer. We were able to develop the small components, which this product is primarily made up of, print, test, modify, reprint, and retest, all within the same day. We have a lot of thanks to give to the rise of this extremely fast and cost effective prototyping technology. Without it, this product may have never reached its' customers doorsteps. It was great to see technology allowing a company to create something, that just 10 short years ago, it wouldn't have had the ability to create.
We began this project similar to every other, not expecting our work to extend over two years into the future. Working with Aviator, we set out to develop a tripod that would be small enough to carry on a plane and lightweight enough to carry anywhere. It needed to be as durable as it was light in weight, so we utilized casted aluminum parts, stainless steel hardware, and carbon fiber telescoping legs. To allow the tripod to remain as small as possible, we created a design that allowed the legs to rotate 180 degrees and optimized the length of each individual tube. This combination makes for one rugged, ultra-light tripod for filmmakers to use whether at the top of the Himalayas or in a tropical paradise.
The video above was created for the initial launch of the product, where it debuted to the public on Kickstarter for the very first time. Crowd-funded products are always tricky to get right. You have to do the right research ahead of time to know your audience extremely well. The more information you know about the audience you'll reach through your campaign, the better direction we have to gear details like the aesthetic and ergonomics of that design appropriately. Your initial audience will define your product in many ways. They will be the ones to get the word out about how well it works for them, becoming somewhat of product ambassadors for it. It's difficult to convey how important research is for the product development process, but products like these help put that philosophy into perspective.
The best projects are ones that excite us just as much as the company we're working alongside. And this was definitely one such project. It's an immediate sign that we're working toward a fruitful end for everyone invloved. When industrial designers and product engineers, who've been in the business for over two decades, are excited to get the opportunity to work on developing a product, you know you're on to something great. And that's exactly what we strive to work towards everyday... greatness. For us, this is a project for the history books and one we'll obviously use as learning experience and as a testimonial for all future projects. And, don't worry, there's plenty more where that came from.