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Introducing The Magnet

The best smartphone mount for guitarists hits Kickstarter

By November 24, 2014News

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For a long time now, we’ve been working on an amazing tool that allows you to film your guitar playing with an unprecedented degree of clarity. And that amazing tool now has a name: The Magnet.

We’re proud to launch the Kickstarter campaign for the world’s best camera mount for guitar players. The Magnet uses the power of your smartphone to film your playing at speeds up to 240 frames per second, for an intimate view of your technique.

Origins

The odyssey of investigation that produced the Magnet is the story of Cracking the Code itself. Breakthroughs in the analysis of historical video footage soon led to the attempt to film live technique in the wild — a task for which traditional cameras were woefully inadequate. Even from inches away, pocket cameras produced only the sparest smudge of the action. We needed a closer look. And we needed speed — a lot of it.

Several thousand dollars and over a year of custom driver and application development later, the ShredCam was born. At 120 frames per second it fulfilled the promise of a live-interview investigation that was truly revealing. Its output was only 640 pixels wide and 480 pixels high, but it was a global shutter camera, for crisp visuals of even the fastest moving objects. And its wide dynamic range produced a smooth image even under blazing halogen lamps.

It was also a tank. The camera and its firewire cable stole nearly half the fretboard from the player, and the bear claw of the body clamp added pounds to the guitar’s weight. It was so cumbersome to configure that, outside the interviews, I rarely used it.

Get Smart

Photographers like to say that the best camera is the one you have with you. And for a while now, the best camera any of us have had with us is also the one that makes phone calls. And incredibly, it now also films video at twice the speed, and nearly triple the resolution, of the original ShredCam. Somehow, the confluence of telecommunications, sensor design, and “always-on” internet ubiquity, have produced a device so perfectly suited to the needs of the studying guitarist that it’s almost like winning the instructional lottery. The modern, high-speed video smart phone, with its built-in sound recording, illumination, and wafer-thin design, not only meets the design requirements of the original ShredCam — it easily surpasses them.

In short, your phone is now the best guitar camera you can buy. Let that sink in for a minute.

Gentlemen, Kickstart your Engines

And now, the Magnet is the best way to attach it to your guitar, for an unprecedented, close-up look at your playing technique that is nearly science fiction. Its optical and software performance beats what the best bespoke hardware could produce only a decade ago. And it also plays Candy Crush.

We’re thrilled that you’ve enjoyed watching Cracking the Code and we’re grateful that you’ve supported our efforts in bringing you cutting-edge analysis of playing technique. The Magnet is the embodiment of those efforts in hardware form. It’s a tremendous undertaking, and we’re going to need your help to make it possible.

Head on over to Kickstarter, watch the awesome Magnet intro video, and help us bring you the best guitar camera mount ever made: The Magnet!

5 Comments

  • MrJohn says:

    Magnificent, maybe the product should have a less ambiguous name?

    • Troy Grady says:

      We flip-flopped on “boring but explanatory” names like “The Camera Capo”, and zinger pithier names like the “The Magnet”. Ultimately, what made the decision was the Magnet itself. Every time we handed it to someone, the first thing they said was, “Hey, it’s a magnet!” And that was that!

      • ben duff says:

        I agree that The Magnet isn’t a good name. I wouldn’t want a magnet that big near my phone or my guitar pickups. Surely the only reason someone would say, “Hey, it’s a magnet!”, is because it’s the colour of an ACME, Roadrunner-style, magnet.

  • Bill Spence says:

    Troy,

    Sorry to see that the funding on Kickstarter was not successful. Please find a way to repackage/refund.

    I want my Maganet!

    Bill Spence
    Yanbu, Saudi Arabia

    • Brendan Schlagel says:

      Hey Bill, thanks for the comment. We’d love to be able to relaunch at some point and be able to make a production run for the Magnet happen. We don’t have concrete plans to do so at the moment, as our hands are full working on the show, but we have provided a way for you to get the Magnet if you’re up for a bit of DIY work — see the most recent Kickstarter update for more detail on that!

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