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Geotagging with external GPS receivers now possible

GPS receivers: Holux, QStarz, Transystem

A few weeks ago, we released app and firmware updates that enable a handful of external GPS receivers to be paired directly with the Unleashed, to provide GPS location data for geotagging without the need of a smartphone.

This is great news for those customers that were unhappy with their smartphone’s location precision, or simply prefer a more independent geotagging solution. This might be to extend battery life of the smartphone, or to enjoy longer battery life of external GPS receivers, especially on long trips off the grid.

The compatible GPS Receivers are:

  • Holux M-241 Plus
  • QStarz BL-1000ST
  • QStarz BL-1000GT
  • Transystem GL-770

After pairing one of these GPS receivers with your Unleashed through the app (Menu->Your Unleasheds->Edit Unleashed->Accessories), you will see new GPS Modes in the first picker of the GPS settings. In addition to “OFF” and “Smartphone”, you will now also have the options “External GPS only” as well as “External GPS with smartphone fallback” (We hope the new icons make it clear which is which). The first new option will exclusively use GPS data from the external GPS, and not of the smartphone, whereas the second option will use the external GPS while it’s available and providing valid data, but will automatically fall back to using the smartphone location otherwise.

We’ve also added a few new LED colors/sequences to make using the Unleashed without the app a little easier:

  • Lightblue: when an Accessory (such as a GPS receiver) is connected, but the app is not connected, the led will slowly pulse lightblue instead of turqoise.
  • Red blink: alternating with the normal sequences, the Unleashed will blink red to show that there is an error, until now mostly GPS related errors. You can then start the app to see details about the error, or simply check that the the external GPS receiver has a Fix and is connected. Some of these errors are:
    • External GPS receiver not connected (even if it then uses Smartphone fallback)
    • GPS data not valid (even if using last known position)
    • GPS accuracy too low

Comparing the receivers

The Holux has the Unique feature that it uses a single AA battery, for which you can buy replacements anywhere in the world, but at the same time battery life is not as good as with the rechargeable Li-Ion batteries of the other options. The QStarz devices provide a little more data than the other two receivers [update: Transystem caught up], and we’ve implemented a neat little feature where you can use the POI button on the Receiver to trigger the camera. But they are also the most expensive. We recommend the BL-1000ST rather than the BL-1000GT, since the Unleashed will not make use of the 10Hz update rate, so it is not worth the extra cost. The Transystem device is more affordable than Qstarz, while providing just as precise position data, but has a quirk that it uses a non-standard USB-A to USB-A charging/data cable. So don’t lose that!

Right from the start, we had planned to make the Unleashed directly compatible with external GPS receivers, but technical challenges forced us to decide against pursuing backwards compatibility to GPS receivers using Bluetooth Classic. Unfortunately, at the time of Launch that basically left us with no options, since virtually all GPS receivers used Bluetooth Classic. However, in the past few years, the above devices were released, so we put a lot of effort into making the Unleashed compatible with external accessories in general, and added support for each of the GPS receivers one after the other.

While we had to reverse engineer Holux’s Bluetooth Protocol (and we got the Date portion wrong for a while), QStarz was kind enough to provide documentation that allowed us to implement support for their devices much more quickly. Transystem went one step further: They used a standard protocol defined by the Bluetooth SIG, and when we found a small issue with their implementation and had additional wishes, they swiftly made changes and added support for those in a firmware update. So a big thank you to both QStarz and Transystem for your support!

So, finally, the Unleashed now enables direct geotagging with external GPS receivers for Nikon as well as Canon DSLRs!

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Introducing: Foolography Crew

Community Crew

With the UNLEASHED, you can have complete control over your camera using your smartphone. Developing the UNLEASHED, our goal was not only to solve problems, but also to help you get out there and take more photos, making the lives of many photographers around the world easier.

Now that we have our product shipped to thousands of customers all around the world, we want to bring our community together and show our appreciation for their support so far on our journey. We think it would be great to get closer to the community of UNLEASHED users to hear about their thoughts, ideas, inspirations and feedbacks! We want to know how is the UNLEASHED being used and which kind of amazing images it can help you to take by giving the Foolography community room to share photos, tips and experiences!

In the past weeks, we now started reviving our social media and would like to honour the content you create, giving you another platform and space to connect with others just like you.

Some of the users already shared their videos, timelapses and pictures on Facebook or on Instagram, using the hashtags #unleashed or #foolography. We saw some users creating some outstanding content and we love to see more of it. That is why we want to encourage all the Unleashed users to share their work with all of us from the Foolography community: Keep on using the hashtags!

As a Foolography Crew member, we would share your photographs in our social media with proper credit (obviously the ones you would like to be shared), will let you know about upcoming challenges and deals beforehand, and will also give you discounts when shopping at our site – starting with a one-time discount for your next UNLEASHED (we know you have an UNLEASHED already, but in case you need one for your second camera or a friend of yours would also like to have one).

If you are interested in becoming part of the Crew and would like to learn more, just let us know, contact us via Facebook, Instagramor write us to crew(at)foolography.com. Send us your Instagram-Account or some sample photos. We would love you to be a part of it and would be honoured to have you on board.

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New app and firmware update available!

App-Icon with Badge

A couple of weeks ago we published a new app update for iOS and Android. Not only does it fix many bugs and improves overall performance and stability, it also includes a first firmware update for your Unleashed. This firmware update will fix all known bugs and issues that were caused by, or had something to do with the firmware on the Unleashed. Check out our forum entry “What are UNLEASHED’s 1.0 known issues?” to get detailed infos on what’s exactly been fixed.

In case you haven’t done the update yet, here’s a quick explanation. To get the firmware update you need to update the app first. Once you did this, the update will be available in your Unleashed profile in the app. To install the firmware update, make sure the Unleashed is plugged in, the camera is turned on and the app is connected. Tap “Install Update” and the magic happens. Updating will take about two minutes and once it’s done, a big checkmark will appear. For all Canon users: Please keep your camera “awake” by half-pressing the shutter button of the camera every ten seconds. This is necessary so the Unleashed gets power.

Unleashed App Screens

We are continuously working on the Unleashed and are planning to provide app and firmware updates on a regularly basis. The next update will probably include new features that we will announce at some point in the future.

If you have any feedback, please let us know. You can either have a look at our forum or write us an email to our info@ address. Thanks for your on-going support. Let’s continue to make a great product even greater! :-)

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How to? – Unleashed Tutorials

Unleashed Video Tutorial

When you order the Unleashed, it comes in a beautifully designed box. In order to get started, all you need to do is to install the free Foolography Unleashed app, plug the Unleashed into your camera and start the app to connect. We designed and developed everything with the goal that you won’t need a manual. However, we did get some feedback that a couple of explanations would be helpful. That’s why we shot several How-To-Videos that you can find on our support page. So if you’re still wondering how some of the modes work, check out the videos that explain all features in detail. The tutorials come with English and German subtitles as well as text transcripts so you can get the most out of your Unleashed.

UNLEASHED TUTORIAL VIDEOS

If you have any feedback, please let us know. You can either have a look at our forum or write us an email to our info@ address. Thanks for your on-going support!


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Update on shipping of the 1st batch UNLEASHEDs

Shipping Container

After an amazing photokina 2018 – watch Kai W’s photokina roundup on YouTube – you might find something interesting in there ;-) – we’re all back in Berlin, ready to get the Unleasheds to everyone who backed us on Kickstarter and Indiegogo as well as pre-ordered a 1st batch Unleashed on our website. The first backers (about 50) already picked up their Unleasheds at photokina so we don’t want to keep the rest of you waiting much longer.

This upcoming week we’ll start packing and shipping. We will ship in batches, probably starting with Nikon Unleasheds N1 + N2, then Canon Unleasheds C1 + C2. You’ll get a shipping confirmation mail as soon as we shipped yours.

For behind-the-scenes-photos check Facebook and Instagram.

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Unleashed Journey Pt. 1: Crowdfunding – Why and How?

Crowdfunding: How to run a successful campaign

30th of September 2016: Against all odds, the Foolography office in Berlin Mitte is filled with over 50 people. Not employees, but friends and family who want to celebrate the successful funding of the new Unleashed on Kickstarter. 186,723 €, more than 300% of the initial funding goal. All achieved by a couple of people committed to a dream and passion. Honestly, we could have never imagined of the amount of support we got – from the people around us, and especially from the Kickstarter backers and supporters who also believed in what we were trying to achieve.

11th of April 2018: Looking back today, we’re still amazed by the journey we are on and the development of Foolography and its employees. Being finally able to ship the Unleashed in a couple of weeks, we decided to give people the opportunity to be part of that journey: The journey of the Unleashed.

In this three part series we want talk about crowdfunding, what it’s like to be and run a hardware startup and where we see Foolography in a couple of years. The goal is to give you valuable insights, tips, dos and don’ts and hopefully encouragement to chase your dreams and hang in there – whether you have or want to start a business, are a photographer yourself or just interested in what we do and wondering how we do it.


WHY

Why crowdfunding?

This is the question we asked ourselves two years ago when we decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the new Unleashed – a smartphone DSLR remote control. And to be honest: We’re still asking us this question today from time to time. Clearly, crowdfunding is one of the best things that ever happened to help you to turn ideas into reality. Kickstarter puts it this way: “Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life.” However, what many people don’t know or at least underestimate: Doing a crowdfunding campaign is a lot of work – before and after it. Especially after it.

Maybe you didn’t know, but there is a Berlin hardware startup community. And many of those startups actually started off with a successful crowdfunding campaign. This is great and was especially helpful to us when we were playing with the idea of doing a Kickstarter campaign ourselves. We met with people who were further along the journey and absorbed all infos and insights we could get. Even though Foolography has been around for a couple of years at this point, doing a crowdfunding campaign was definitely a step into the unknown.

After a couple of weeks we had our “whys” and essential reasons why crowdfunding could be helpful and, what is even more important, why it might be the right next step for us. This is why we launched the new Unleashed on Kickstarter:

1. Money for production.

Marc Andreessen, a pretty famous investor, once said: “Hardware is hard”. Well, we couldn’t agree more. Building a technology hardware company is by far much harder than building a software company. There are many reasons why that is and one of the biggest is: In order to deliver the product to your customer, you need to produce it first. Meaning, physically produce it. Including finding the right parts, producing the PCB, the casing, the packaging, taking care of the assembly and much more. All things you don’t really have to worry about when having a digital product. And those things mentioned are usually pretty expensive and most important: You have to pay for it in advance before you are actually able to sell your product. So crowdfunding definitely is a big help when it comes to production of your product.

2. Proof of concept.

Whenever you have an idea for a new product it is wise to find out if there is a market for it. What do other people say about it? Are people already signing (or lining) up to get your product? And with people I don’t mean your grandparents or close friends. I’m talking about people who don’t know you but who could potentially be your future customers. Do you have a proof of concept? The cool thing about a good proof of concept is that it not only helps you to understand whether there are people out there who want to have your product, but to understand whether people like the way and method how you present and sell your product. See, the proof of concept is not a single yes or no. It’s a commitment to pay for what you offer. And usually that happens – yes, because of the greatness of your idea – but also because of how you marketed and sold it. So a proper proof of concept not only confirms your idea but also helps you to find a the right go-to-market strategy. Crowdfunding definitely is a good tool for that since people are supporting you not only with words but with money.

3. Building a community.

Having a community (or even customers) when you start shipping your product is one of the best things you can have. It literally is a kick-start. You will have people talking about it, testing it and in best case recommending it. And in the end, this is something worth more than thousands of online ads: People that recommend and advertise your product to their friends and family, in their own personal and unique way.


HOW

How to do crowdfunding?

You can find thousand of infos, you can read hundreds of articles and you can talk to dozens of people on how to approach this whole crowdfunding thing. And to be honest, I believe all of that is good and necessary. Because as it is with most things in life: Preparation is the key. So you actually can prepare a crowdfunding campaign and you actually can increase your chances of getting funded. We did all of the things listed above and they definitely helped us. But nonetheless, people still keep asking: “What are the biggest tips you can give me, when I want to do a crowdfunding campaign?” So here are the top ten of, I believe, most important things to consider and prepare well when doing a crowdfunding campaign.

1. Have a working prototype.

Oh yes. Something that is super important (probably the most important) and non-negotiable. Before you go public on a crowdfunding platform, have a working prototype of your product ready. (This is something we will discuss more in detail in part two of this series.)

2. Talk to people who (successfully) did it before.

I mentioned this before and cannot emphasize it enough. Reach out to people who did a crowdfunding campaign before and get as many insights as possible. Come prepared and ask questions.

3. Have a strategy, including a Plan B and C.

This seems to be an obvious thing to do, but it is those simple things that you forget or don’t do properly. Take enough time to write down your vision, goals and strategy. Try to sharpen your product’s USPs, verbalize them and get feedback.

4. Have a CI. Or at least PI (Product Identity).

It should be clear who you want to reach out to and what people perceive when getting in contact with your business or product. This includes a logo, slogan and everything you learn in Marketing 101.

5. Have a website or landing page outside of Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

You could argue about that point, but I personally think it’s necessary in order to be able to provide further information, have an official point of contact and most importantly to build trust.

6. Have a (large) newsletter list before.

This is something that can determine whether your campaign is successful or not. Having people that are ready to support you at the very start will push you forward in many ways. One way could be that the faster you get a lot of support, the more you become interesting for press or the crowdfunding platform itself. And this in return will generate awareness of your campaign.

7. Have a good video.

When looking for tips on the internet this is one of the things you will find the most. And yes, it’s very important. But what makes a good video is such an enormous topic for itself. Write us if you want further infos. ;-) Maybe we do an own article just about that – let us know in the comments if this is something you’re interested in.

8. Spend time on an appealing crowdfunding page.

The page of your campaign probably is the first or second point of contact for your potential customers. Make sure it’s visual, appealing and nicely structured. For example, remember to not overload it since most people will only have a look at the first few paragraphs and just a few will scroll down to the bottom.

9. Have a PR strategy.

This is something that certainly needs quite a bit of preparation in advance and is something we definitely could have done better: Have a good press release prepared and a well chosen list of people ready that potentially could write about you. If possible send product samples to those people beforehand.

10. Think about (but not necessarily do) online advertisement.

We didn’t do it, but could have done it and certainly would have gotten a bigger funding. Have a strategy and decide whether it’s helpful and possible due to production, pricing and production cost.


Well, this is it for now. There are certainly more things that are important to consider when thinking about doing a crowdfunding campaign. These, however, are some things that we learned along the journey and are telling most of the people who ask us about our campaign. We hope this gives you a little insight and helps somebody. We’ll continue with this series another time and will then talk about what it’s like to build hardware and what challenges can occur along the way – and how to overcome them.

Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get exciting news on Foolography, photography, videography and other interesting topics. Scroll down to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter to stay up-to-date and become part of the Fools. ;-)

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Meet us at CES 2017, Sands Hall G, 51500 – Eureka Park!

foolography at CES 2017

For all our American customers, partners and friends (or anyone who will be in Vegas for CES): We’ll be exhibiting at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show 2017 in Las Vegas, from the 5th to 8th of January and would be happy to meet you there. You’ll find us in Eureka Park – the flagship startup destination at CES. Booth 51500 (Sands, Hall G) right in the middle – opposite of the Indiegogo booth.

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The new Unleashed: Pre-order now on Indiegogo

Pre-Order the new Unleashed on Indiegogo

After the new Unleashed was successfully funded on Kickstarter with more than 300% of its funding goal, we are constantly asked whether there is any chance to still pre-order the Unleashed. After thinking about it we now decided to give people the option to pre-order the new Unleashed for a special price and to be part of one of the early production rounds in order to be one of the first to receive it.

Starting today, you can pre-order the new Unleashed through the InDemand program on Indiegogo. Check the compatibility list at the bottom of our Indiegogo page, choose a perk (that’s how Indiegogo calls the rewards or product bundles) and select your shipping country. As with our Kickstarter backers, we’ll send out a survey of which camera model you want the new Unleashed for some time in spring, and you can make the final choice shortly before shipping.

SEE THE UNLEASHED ON INDIEGOGO

Receiving all these mails and requests, we hope and believe this option will make many people happy who just missed the Kickstarter campaign, want their photographer friends to have the Unleashed as well or just want to support us. So have a look at out Indiegogo page and send the link to all your friends who are jealous that you got your Unleashed on Kickstarter and forgot to tell them about it. ;-)

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We made it! Funded on Kickstarter after just 5 days! But what looks like the end, is just the beginning!

Rocket Launch on Kickstarter with the Unleashed

We are literally speechless. After just five days we reached our funding goal on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. This means our next product, the new Unleashed, will definitely go into mass production. A wireless smartphone remote control for DSLRs unlike any other on the market!

After months of hard work we’re so happy and grateful to see that people trust in our products, in us and our vision. We know that our workload won’t subside, but we’re pumped we’ll be able to deliver a remarkable product and make the lives of many photographers around the world easier.

This is why reaching the funding goal isn’t it. We have big plans and are convinced that these first 5 days are just the beginning of a much bigger story. We want to get as many backers as possible to say: “I want to be part of it!” and pledge their support on Kickstarter.

So as a customer, friend or just visitor, we ask you to continue to share the Kickstarter campaign with all your friends and colleagues! Soon we’ll announce our stretch goals: the higher the total sum pledged, the more features we’ll add to the Unleashed.

Stay tuned, subscribe to our newsletter and back us on Kickstarter.

Check out our Kickstarter campaign

Greetings from Berlin