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houdin Mar 20, 2013 11:35 PM

Camera/electrical engineer?
Hey guys!

I'm currently working on a concept design for a miniature/action based camera and wondering if there`s any engineers out there willing to have a chat about some details,(actually all the details) like what kind of specifications can you have in such a small device etc. If not, do you know who I can talk to without spending a month salary?

Any and all help is much appreciated!

Scoot Mar 22, 2013 8:16 AM

Houdin, in my opinion we seem to be well catered for with these devices already and as Fishycomics has ably demonstrated, the performance of that little keycam alone should satisfy the less than hypercritical.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck :)

fishycomics Mar 23, 2013 5:00 AM


Excellent question about wanting to find a company, or some one to get your ideas on table? You will have to via Email, via phone calls, and via appointments for in person visits.

I was the man years ago, inside with a number of people, today the business is kept inhouse.

You may want to reach out further and get with a few members outside a Forum, and you may find your answer?

As Scoot gave advice, and I agree, There is a lil keycm, known as a spycam, or Kaychain cam 808, it is a small company that has absolute no competition at all.

I love to see you get your patent and idea on the table.

Why not try contacting Kodaks new company, and get together, getting a major named keycam

Best of luck and let the journey begin

houdin Mar 23, 2013 9:46 AM

Thanks for the replies!

I decided to take matters into my own hands and sent e-mails to 3 diffrent industrial design firms. Two of them wouldn't even take my meeting, but the last one was kind enough to give me one yersterday. I pitch them the idea, and straight away you could see their faces light up, they loved the idea! At the end, we talked about finances and how much the concept designs would sett me back. They then asked if I would consider them being partners on the project. :D

The offer they had seemed pretty fair, and they gave me until monday to think about it
. I would still need funding for paying the electronics engineers for developing the prototype, but this really seems like a step in the right direction!

They have already booked a meeting with an engineering firm next wedensday regardless of my answer, and already I'm buzzing! ;D

Wish me luck!

Ps; If this is of interest, then I could post some updates on how things are progressing.

fishycomics Mar 23, 2013 10:02 AM

please do so, love to hear about it? And maybe one day I my have a prototype to play with (smiles). Give that keycam, some stiff competition!

Wayne12 Mar 31, 2013 4:13 AM

Ok, Hi.

I've had some knowledge of these things. A good non disclosure agreement for patents with non compete clauses is what we use to contact only select companies we can trust and are serious about doing business. In my country, and maybe yours, without a nda basically the moment you show somebody the patententable part of your proposal uncovered by patent it starts going into the public domain and you weaken your chances to get a patent. Your country might have a grace period of a year to patent. But patent is costly, and fees to keep it current come in. The reason why is even though a us patent is cheap enough, you have to cover in each country you want to sell with a separate patent, and patent lawyers are very needed, so $55 thousand for one patent in ten countries. But an action cam can sell in most countries, so US might be 30 percent or what ever of the world economy but 20 to 10 percent eventually of sales, as action cam demand builds world wide. Distribution networks to other countries can be expensive, so sales by a little guy might be up to 50 percent in country if you are us citizen, with web mailorder and direct shipment elsewhere being the rest. On the low end small time strategy, find the major markets and where you can earn the least expensive money without harming long term profit and then build out, is just a suggestion, up to yourself to make your future. Proper manual and menu translation is another thing if you are going after foreign markets.

If it is not patentable then things are different. I do not know what the go is with registered designs. Expert help in all these areas are needed. Just pointing out how complex it can be.

Now your deal, sounds promising, but what are they bringing to the table again? You mentioned you have to bring money to do the electronics, what are they doing, just case work, anything else to set up and finance the business, or electronic designs?

Without a contract with an engineer that expressly assigns all intellectual rights in developing something (the design and other intellectual property and patentable intellectual property) (of course not forgetting the nda) without those the engineer actually owns the patentable ip and design of what he designs, and you can after $20k be left with a little device in your hands that you cant even look inside of without violating trade secrets laws in various countries from my understanding. In other words you get a prototype model without rights and no better off but poorer. This sort of thing has happened here.

Some people spend half a million and loose everything. Going it alone is difficult, people you can work with and trust with the talent is what you need.

The only two engineers that I know worth talking to are David Newman at gopro cineform, a software person but in the right company if your concept is so far out there that it would give them additional new market share for the next 10 years, either way better, or tap into another market. It is normal to go after a trust worthy second third or so down the list, rather than the market leader, because the market leader is on top and has it all and does not need anything as much, but the ones underneath may be hurting, and want it to pick up their position. The other engineer is the one that designed the Drake digital cinema camera, I forget his name, Rainer or something.

What is better is to go to and have a nice chat with them. They do most of the chipsets for small cameras, and probably have reference designs for the complete guts of action cams that can be adapted to your concepts enclosure, and know heaps of manufacturers and might be able to tell you suitable ones. Manufactures who are trustworthy and have good ambition, talent, and distribution networks, who can give you a good deal and not screw you over, are worth looking into, as a distribution network around major markets with good volume and good sales can produce many times more sales for you. Having said that most companies are only interested in big company customers with lots of money, they make money on volume on thin margin.

On performance, action sports is high movement that requires much higher data rate to give a pristine image frame to frame in slowmo or for snapshots, without blocking, ringing, jagging or looking flat with little detail, and at least 50frames a second progressive, non interlace at fullhd or ultrahd is preferable. The only consumer action cam I know of that tries to approach this is gopro upper models. We are talking about 72mb/s+ at fullhdp50, 300-600mb/s ultrahdp50. New h265 codec can halve this theoretically, but consumes more power. A trick to increase compressibility is to get a clean low noise image (nice sensor and lens) and a fast shutter to reduce blur and noise. So, there is still lots of room for improvement.

Wayne12 Mar 31, 2013 7:12 AM

I forgot, I'm not suggesting for do a ultrahd 600mb/s action cam, of you can do as well as gopro's 36mb/s mode is 50p instead of 24p, you would be doing well, even up to 80mb/s, which I suspect the next generation of pocket cam chips will top out at. That is a tall order.

I will also give you the rough relative quality ratios of different compression codecs, that have changed due to newer better techniques.

To achieve similar quality of modern h264 inter video, you need:

Double the bandwidth in mpeg2, h264 intra, that Microsoft photo standard that was supposed to be adopted by the jpeg group, and wavelet/jpeg2000.

You need four times the bandwidth in jpeg.

You are supposed to need half the bandwidth of h264 inter for h265 inter, but we will see.

But for high motion shots the still image formats jpeg and intra ones, should give you more details, at these rates. Normally motion moves fast enough there is image break down and decrease in detail due to compression not keeping up, but we don't notice it so much at speed, but for action cams we want to see it in slow motion and then notice it more. These are all quality video measures.

Houdin, keep us informed, but watch what you say in public here, you don't want to give stuff away, or annoy partners. I wont be around much, so if you post too me then it may take a while to get to it.



Wayne12 Mar 31, 2013 10:47 PM

Here is another idea, there are sites like "maker", that are communities where people make things, even camera equipment, that might have some knowledgeable people. Worth checking if they keep information resource pages. Also, find a good proactive trustworthy inventors association, if that is your leaning.

Personalview is a camera firmware modifying group. There might be some programmers or engineers with advice there. It is a hacking site, so consider carefully who to deal with.

Actually, there was a young guy that did the archon, or acheon, digital film recorder at dvinfo forums from Canada, 6 or so years ago, and a couple of engineers hung out at those dvinfo alternative imaging forums in the past.

houdin Apr 9, 2013 10:49 AM

Thank you so much for all your help, much appreciated :D

I said no to the deal with the design firm, didn't get the right vibe ( have a signed NDC btw) and decided on a industrial designer who really understands me and shares my vision for the product. We are currently having meetings with different electronics companies around town and seeing what they have to offer both in the hardware and software department. He will basically function as my creative outlet and combined with a trustworthy company, I have no doubt that we can create a great product.
I'm also in the process of developing a sound business plan for potential investors and backers. The plan is to use almost all of our resource in developing the prototype and afterwards launch the camera on the crowfunding-site Kickstarter. This will give us;

1. A good indication if the marked likes the product without spending a whole fortune in production and marketing.
2. (If successful) Free publicity and the opportunity to develop the product further without giving out stakes and shares of the company.
One of my oldest friends have a master in economy and will thankfully take care of the numbers in the prototype and Kickstarter phase.

We have had talks about ambarella, they really seem like good company, so we will definitely have a chat with them.

You really seem to have great knowledge about cameras Wayne12, what do you do in the real world?

Wayne12 Apr 14, 2013 8:44 AM

Can't say too much. But if you want advice about what can be done and which way to go, I'm ussually the guy. Been around c projects and invited in. Hopefully I will be able to prepare for my own kick starter like project, but some delays.

You seem to be doing well, as long as you have MBA level covered, you have an arsenal to start building to it. I wish that I had that level behind me.

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