The question all of us with CFast 2.0 cameras have been asking – can we record to something cheaper than $600 cards? Maybe to SSDs? Please? – has been answered. Clifton Stommel’s Kickstarter campaign for the C-Box System is looking to raise $15,000 to build dual bay SSD drives that hook up to CFast 2.0 camera’s card slots.
Sound too good to be true? Here are the highlights of his campaign:
There are some incredible cameras coming out with great technical specifications and at competitive prices, but many of them require very expensive CFast memory cards. Depending on the size and length of your project or video, using readily available solid state drives and the rig friendly C-Box, you could save thousands of dollars in cost of media alone!
Key Benefits and Features:
Truly Uncompressed Footage! This is not an external recorder, it is a way to record your camera’s highest quality footage directly to SSDs. External recorders require the camera to which they are connected to send a video signal which then must be encoded by the recorder. Most professional-grade external recorders will only handle up to 4k resolution footage and with a limited number of frame rate options. With the C-Box system you can record all of the frame rate and resolution options that your camera offers for internal cards, directly to external SSDs.
No Camera Modifications Necessary! The C-Box does not require any internal modification of any kind to your video camera. It’s truly “plug and play.
Easily Attaches to Modern Rig Setups! With a standard quarter-inch screw thread, you can hook your C-Box to any tripod, lightstand, ball-mount, or magic-arm with that size thread.
Use Any SSD You Want! Sustained write speeds for solid state drives varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and we’ll happily suggest our favorites; but you are welcome to use any SSD you want on the C-Box system. We do not require anyone to buy proprietary drives from us.
Have Confidence in Your Data Rates! As of this Kickstarter’s launch, the fastest CFast card we could find boasts a maximum sustained write speed of 440MB/s, compared to over 500MB/s boasted by numerous solid state drive manufacturer’s highest-performing products.
Draw Powered From Your Anton Bauer, V-Lock, or Wall-Mount Power Supply! The C-Box system comes equipped with a standard 2.1mm x 5.5mm DC female power port. Use this with any 5V 2A power supply and you’re ready to go. We recommend using at least 2 amps of power in order to ensure proper powering of device and all connected drives.
Dual-SSD Bay! Plug in two of your favorite SSDs to take advantage of the advanced data-management options on CFast cameras which feature two CFast ports.
Your Camera Can’t Tell the Difference! This means you can manage the C-Box system directly through your camera’s normal memory management interface. No need to handle multiple interfaces before shooting takes.
Save Thousands! We encourage you to go and look at the price of current CFast cards and compare them to the cost of current top-of-the-line solid state drives. At the time of writing, we calculate a savings of $4000 or more when using the C-Box system and two 1TB solid state drives compared to the cost of equivalent storage space in high-performance CFast cards.
Longer Record Times! Record up to 4 times longer before needing to swap media with the use of 1TB solid state drives in place of 256GB CFast cards.
First Wave C-Box Systems Arrive in August 2015! For those of us who have already pre-ordered select CFast cameras, this means a ready-to-shoot rig arriving all around the same time.
“Have You Tested That Thing?”
Of course! I’m bringing to you a product that I will be using, and I wouldn’t bring anything on set I’ve not thoroughly stress-tested. When you receive yours I recommend you do the same so you can know the full potential of what this thing is capable of; I’m sure you’ll be impressed!
A Little Info From The Stress Tests:
During continuous filming sessions over an hour long (average of 3 hours of continuous activity), my SSD of choice – the Samsung 850 Pro 1TB – reached a maximum temperature of approx 30 degrees cooler than the specified safe operation range posted by Samsung. Additionally the same SSDs ran cooler in the C-Box system than they do inside of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (2.5K version).
Not a single frame was dropped or corrupted at 4K uncompressed raw 60fps when the camera was recording in dual card mode (Samsung 850 Pro 1TB)
Not a single frame was dropped or corrupted at 4K uncompressed raw 30fps when the camera was recording in single card mode (Samsung 850 Pro 1TB)
I’ve successfully powered the C-Box system via a 5V 2A cell phone charger, 5V USB port in a Lanparte V-Lock plate, 5V DC port in a Lanparte V-Lock plate, Blueshape’s D-Tap to 5V 3A USB cable on an Anton Bauer plate as well as a Lanparte V-Lock plate, and even off of a 5V 2.4A USB port designed for iPads on a mobile backup battery (rated 22,400mah it powered the C-Box system for over 10 hours of continous activity)
“Did You 3D Print That Thing?”
Yes, I did. Not to worry though, the final version which ships will have a casing that isn’t made of 3D printed mesh-looking material. These images are of the nearly-final form factor of the product. The difference between what you see and what you get will boil down to a smooth outer-surface and a little more space between the drives to ensure the bottom drive can properly keep cool.
“What’s in the box?!”
This is What You’ll Receive:
One (1) Dual-SSD Bay C-Box System
One (1) 2.1mm x 5.5mm DC to USB Cable
One (1) 2.1mm x 5.5mm DC to DC Cable
Two (2) SSD Spacers (for 7mm SSD’s)
One (1) “I Helped Launch C-Box” Sticker
One (1) User Guide With Special Thanks Information
What We’ll Use the Money For:
Recouping R&D Costs: Product development takes tremendous time and expense to accomplish. Between numerous iterations and revisions of the C-Box system, as well as investment in numerous technologies to bring you the most functional and easy-to-use version of the C-Box system, we have spared no expense in bringing to you the very same product we intend to use on all of our current and future CFast cameras.
Investing in Equipment for Future R&D: We’ve got big plans for the future of the C-Box and with the necessary funds we can implement even more changes. Part of this process includes gaining access to future CFast cameras as they are launched and ensuring that our product holds up to the standards of the CFast systems as they become implemented.
Collaborating With Filmmakers: In order to ensure the best possible product for everyone moving forward and with future iterations/revisions of the C-Box systems, we’ll need travel funds to work with filmmakers directly to find out what industry professionals like yourself would like to see happen with this sort of product.
SSD technology is still ahead of the CFast technology in sustained write speeds, and at a fraction of the price.
Ordering through this Kickstarter means you get the C-Box system cheaper and sooner than you would through our website after this campaign closes (the C-Box system will retail for $499.95 + shipping).
The first 106 C-Box systems ordered will arrive around the same time as many of our new CFast cameras. And the 200 ordered after those will still get their C-Box systems this year.
Your support means additional development and an affordable transition into the CFast camera market for independent filmmakers.