VENDOR: fotoflot.com

tommcatommca Big grinsPosts: 34Registered Users Big grins
edited December 10, 2009 in Flea Market
Hi everyone,

I'm co-founder of sentiam, a company that has developed fotoflōt, a unique new product for displaying photographic prints. The system eliminates glass in front of the photo, minimizing glare, and uses magnets to simplify mounting and changing pictures. It "floats" the photo off the wall, giving an impression of depth.

[FONT=Arial Baltic, sans-serif]We're featured on SmugMug's partner page at smugmug.com/clubsmug. We provide an interface that makes your SmugMug photo albums immediately available on fotoflot.com without having to upload them again. We also offer a 10% discount to SmugMug customers. Check us out, and let me know what you think. I would appreciate any and all feedback, and will answer any questions you may have.[/FONT]

My partners and co-founders are Juergen Reinold (username beacazil on dGrin, or [email protected]) and Jim Alef ([email protected]). You can email any of us, as well as just posting on this thread, or sending Juergen or me a private message. If you have technical questions, Juergen is the best person to answer them. Hope to hear from you!

[FONT=Arial Baltic, sans-serif]Thanks,[/FONT]
«13

Comments

  • claudermilkclaudermilk Major grins Posts: 2,756Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 5, 2007
    Looks very interesting. I like the idea. Now for a really strange question. mwink.gif

    I've just set up my home with the Stas gallery hanging system. Any way that your hangers could be used with those? It looks like the mount plate is steel? So perhaps approriate holes for the hangers could be drilled? Warning: I have no fear of modifying things. :D

    Also, why is a 150-200dpi 24-bit color file preferred & 400dpi 36-bit files on special request when the printer is noted at being 36-bit, 400dpi? This more out of curiosity than anything--it's great that you give us the option to ask for that.
  • tommcatommca Big grins Posts: 34Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 5, 2007
    Looks very interesting. I like the idea. Now for a really strange question. mwink.gif

    I've just set up my home with the Stas gallery hanging system. Any way that your hangers could be used with those? It looks like the mount plate is steel? So perhaps approriate holes for the hangers could be drilled? Warning: I have no fear of modifying things. :D

    Also, why is a 150-200dpi 24-bit color file preferred & 400dpi 36-bit files on special request when the printer is noted at being 36-bit, 400dpi? This more out of curiosity than anything--it's great that you give us the option to ask for that.
    Your first question is not so strange - we've designed the system for compatibility with cable hanging systems. The Stas system hooks will work with the fotoflōt mounting brackets. In fact, my partner Jürgen has a Stas system, and he can suggest a couple variations on how you can use it with fotoflōt products. He's out of town right now, but will send you a more detailed message in the next day or two when he has access to the Internet.

    Regarding your resolution question...We've actually stopped offering the 400 dpi printing option. We print using a Durst Theta 51 system, and the 200 dpi print is such high quality that it's impossible to see any difference in the 400 dpi print except under highly controlled laboratory-like conditions. And even then, the difference is miniscule.

    By the way, you may have visited our older web site, which was still in my automatic forum signature (I have since changed the signature). If you haven't been to www.fotoflot.com, you should check it out.

    Regards, Tom
  • OsirisPhotoOsirisPhoto Major grins Posts: 367Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 5, 2007
    I've tried to buy some products form the site, but the 'click to buy' button seems to be broken headscratch.gif

    Will try again soon, but thought you should know.. nothing unusual about my PC / browser set-up.
  • tommcatommca Big grins Posts: 34Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 5, 2007
    Hyperbaric wrote:
    I've tried to buy some products form the site, but the 'click to buy' button seems to be broken headscratch.gif
    Stuart - just to recap our private message conversation so others can benefit from it...

    The purchase process is working OK, but I think we need to tweak the interface to make the process a little clearer.

    On another subject, the web site doesn't automatically handle shipments outside the U.S., but we can ship globally. We can quote shipping costs, and handle payment manually if someone outside the U.S. want to fotoflōt their images.
  • claudermilkclaudermilk Major grins Posts: 2,756Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 6, 2007
    tommca wrote:
    Your first question is not so strange - we've designed the system for compatibility with cable hanging systems. The Stas system hooks will work with the fotoflōt mounting brackets. In fact, my partner Jürgen has a Stas system, and he can suggest a couple variations on how you can use it with fotoflōt products. He's out of town right now, but will send you a more detailed message in the next day or two when he has access to the Internet.
    Cool! :D I'm using the Deluxe kits with the Zipper hook. My reason was that I plan to frequently rotate the images, and didn't want a bunch of holes (that, and my wife & I spent a lot of time on nice faux finishes on those walls).
    Regarding your resolution question...We've actually stopped offering the 400 dpi printing option. We print using a Durst Theta 51 system, and the 200 dpi print is such high quality that it's impossible to see any difference in the 400 dpi print except under highly controlled laboratory-like conditions. And even then, the difference is miniscule.

    By the way, you may have visited our older web site, which was still in my automatic forum signature (I have since changed the signature). If you haven't been to www.fotoflot.com, you should check it out.

    Regards, Tom
    Yup, I was looking at the old site. The new one is slick--especially hooking into our SM accounts. :D So it sounds like you can handle not only sRGB, but aRGB and others? Some stuff I'd want to do is scanned 120 B&W, but I keep it in 16-bit color to maintain the tones (grayscale isn't the same)--it sounds like you'd be able to handle that fine?

    Edit: One other question. Since I plan to have more ready-to-go pieces than wall space, will there be an option to buy the image mounted but without the additional wall hardware?
  • tommcatommca Big grins Posts: 34Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 6, 2007
    So it sounds like you can handle not only sRGB, but aRGB and others? Some stuff I'd want to do is scanned 120 B&W, but I keep it in 16-bit color to maintain the tones (grayscale isn't the same)--it sounds like you'd be able to handle that fine?

    One other question. Since I plan to have more ready-to-go pieces than wall space, will there be an option to buy the image mounted but without the additional wall hardware?
    Yes, we can handle Adobe RGB and other color spaces.

    Regarding your scanned B&W images -- when you say you keep it in 16-bit color, what format do you use - 16-bit TIFF? We do handle TIFF files, both 8-bit and 16-bit.

    And yes, you can buy photo panels without the wall brackets. We don't have pricing on the web site yet, but we will shortly. The following data points will give you an idea of the pricing --
    5"x30" product: $45 with wall bracket, $40 without.
    15"x30" product: $185 with wall bracket, $150 without.
  • claudermilkclaudermilk Major grins Posts: 2,756Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 8, 2007
    Cool, thanks! Yes, I keep the scans in TIFF right now--only a couple of rolls scanned so far as the camera is still new to me & I'm just now getting ready to get a decent scanner of my own.
  • Ann McRaeAnn McRae SmugMug BizDev|Educator Posts: 4,584Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 25, 2007
    How much, and how long would it take, to get an order to Canada? When you say handle orders for outside of the US manually, what does that mean?

    Thanks
    Ann
  • tommcatommca Big grins Posts: 34Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 26, 2007
    Ann McRae wrote:
    How much, and how long would it take, to get an order to Canada? When you say handle orders for outside of the US manually, what does that mean?
    Ann, we've now activated online ordering from most countries in the world, including Canada. When you check out, shipping cost will be based on the country.

    The product prices include shipping within the U.S., so the shipping charge is only for our incremental cost. It varies by product, but for Canada, you'll find that the additional cost ranges from $12-14 U.S. for single products.

    We ship via U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, and they quote 6-10 days shipping time. Adding our current production time, you should allow 2-3 weeks from time of order to receipt of product.
  • Ann McRaeAnn McRae SmugMug BizDev|Educator Posts: 4,584Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 26, 2007
    Thanks, Tom.

    I better pick my photos now! Think I'd like to donate one of these to a silent auction - it's three or four weeks away!

    ann
  • OsirisPhotoOsirisPhoto Major grins Posts: 367Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 27, 2007
    Got my first Fotoflot yesterday. Generally very pleased with the product and of course Tom's customer service is on a par with SM bowdown.gif

    Few observations.

    Although the delivery to UK from US was only 7days, the time from order to shipping was 9days... bit quicker would have been really great. thumb.gif

    The finish of the print is very good. There are some very slight vertical scuff marks on the print, even though it was obviously carefully packed in plastic / foam / cardboard. Nothing deal-breaking for me, but someone might be more picky. ne_nau.gif

    The acrylic isn't quite as rigid as I was expecting, and (again although packaging was good and intact) there is a noticable curve in the product, i.e. the ends are further forward than the middle.. almost like I should be trying to flatten it under a stack of heavy books. Not mounted it on the wall yet, but as there are two mounting brackets for this size I'm sure that will straighten it out. If the acrylic was more rigid, then I think one bracket would have been enough for this size (5x20") and preferable for ease of mounting, etc.

    Would I order again? Yep! :ivar Will be ordering more for myself and (subject to demand) for a tourist outlet I'm hoping to sell through.
  • zweiblumenzweiblumen Spec Ops Posts: 369Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 27, 2007
    I posted in the prize thread here.

    Wanted to add my two cents. I received my fotoflot yesterday. I only got a 7.5x22.5, but I'm really happy with it. No curve in the acrylic. Mounting was easy. There are a few minor scratches similar to what Hyperbaric mentioned, but from more than 6" away you can't see them. Definitely thumb.gifthumb.gif And I'll be buying more from them in the future.
    Travis
  • tommcatommca Big grins Posts: 34Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 27, 2007
    Hyperbaric wrote:
    Although the delivery to UK from US was only 7days, the time from order to shipping was 9days...
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]We're producing once per week at this point, and the production cycle is three days. That means time from order to shipping can range from three to ten days. We'll move to twice-weekly production as soon as we have enough volume, and eventually to daily production.[/FONT]
    There are some very slight vertical scuff marks on the print.
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]We hold ourselves to very high quality standards, and there should not be blemishes of any kind on the print that are perceptible from normal viewing distance. If your fotoflōt doesn't meet that standard, please let us know and we'll send a replacement.[/FONT]
    there is a noticable curve in the product, i.e. the ends are further forward than the middle.. almost like I should be trying to flatten it under a stack of heavy books. Not mounted it on the wall yet, but as there are two mounting brackets for this size I'm sure that will straighten it out.
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Slight bowing of the acrylic is not unusual. However, once you mount the fotoflōt panel, there should not be noticeable bowing. If you do see noticeable bowing once you've got it on the wall, again let us know and we'll send a replacement.[/FONT]
    If the acrylic was more rigid, then I think one bracket would have been enough for this size (5x20") and preferable for ease of mounting, etc.
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]We've found that the current single bracket doesn't provide enough support for this size, independent of bowing. A single bracket with wider spacing of magnets is possible, but current volume for that size doesn't justify it.
    [/FONT] [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]
    Hyperbaric, we want all our customers to be delighted, not just satisfied. If you fall into the latter and not the former, let us know and we'll figure out how to get you into the delighted column.[/FONT]
  • OsirisPhotoOsirisPhoto Major grins Posts: 367Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 27, 2007
    tommca wrote:
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]We're producing once per week at this point, and the production cycle is three days. That means time from order to shipping can range from three to ten days. We'll move to twice-weekly production as soon as we have enough volume, and eventually to daily production.
    [/FONT]

    That's cool :D

    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]
    tommca wrote:
    We hold ourselves to very high quality standards, and there should not be blemishes of any kind on the print that are perceptible from normal viewing distance. If your fotoflōt doesn't meet that standard, please let us know and we'll send a replacement.[/FONT]

    No worries Tom, from normal viewing distance the finish is fine.
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]
    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]
    tommca wrote:
    Hyperbaric, we want all our customers to be delighted, not just satisfied. If you fall into the latter and not the former, let us know and we'll figure out how to get you into the delighted column.[/FONT]

    Tom, I am very happy with the product. iloveyou.gif I look forward to ordering larger sizes soon for my own walls, and am sure that this 'ready to go' product is the best was forward for me when I start selling prints.
  • James SJames S Click....Click....BOOM!!! Posts: 439Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 28, 2007
    This type of sytem would work great for mounting panoramic shots on a long wall. Now I need to go get a nice pano shot. Thank you for informing me.
  • cwphotoscwphotos Wedding Grins Posts: 763Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 30, 2007
    Anyone noticing that when you log in to your SM account on fotoflot not all of your galleries show up as options? Im trying to see what a pano I have looks like to order. eek7.gif
    ====My Gear=====
    Canon 5D Mk.2/Grip || Canon 7D Backup
    17-40 f/4L || 70-200 f/2.8L IS || 100mm f/2.8L Macro || 24-70mm f/2.8L
    Wedding Photographer
    www.cwphotos.net
  • beacazilbeacazil Big grins Posts: 25Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 30, 2007
    cwphotos wrote:
    Anyone noticing that when you log in to your SM account on fotoflot not all of your galleries show up as options? Im trying to see what a pano I have looks like to order. eek7.gif

    I just released a new version of the fotoflōt experience (say 30 minutes ago) that, among other things, automatically adds scroll bars for the album tree control.

    In the previous version, albums that did not fit into the space allocated for the tree view were not shown. Is that what your problem was? You need to do a “refresh” in your browser to assure you get the latest version

    Please let me know if this fixes your problem. If not, I'd have to look into the data that flows from SM to fotoflot.com to the fotoflōt experience on your computer.
  • cwphotoscwphotos Wedding Grins Posts: 763Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 30, 2007
    I will try that. Thanks.

    EDIT: Just did and it still is showing like 10% of my galleries..... :(
    ====My Gear=====
    Canon 5D Mk.2/Grip || Canon 7D Backup
    17-40 f/4L || 70-200 f/2.8L IS || 100mm f/2.8L Macro || 24-70mm f/2.8L
    Wedding Photographer
    www.cwphotos.net
  • Ann McRaeAnn McRae SmugMug BizDev|Educator Posts: 4,584Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 30, 2007
    Hey guys - I cannot access all of my galleries either, and in particular I cannot access the ones that I want to order!

    Would love to give this a try, but the interface isn't working for me.

    ann
  • beacazilbeacazil Big grins Posts: 25Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 30, 2007
    Ann McRae wrote:
    Hey guys - I cannot access all of my galleries either, and in particular I cannot access the ones that I want to order!

    Would love to give this a try, but the interface isn't working for me.

    ann

    Sorry for this. We are working on the fix. I found one case where it had to do with Sub and SubSub Categories. Our server did not "find" all albums in the data provided by the SmugMug API.

    My apologies again. I'll let you know as soon as this is fixed.
  • Ann McRaeAnn McRae SmugMug BizDev|Educator Posts: 4,584Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 30, 2007
    Excellent. Thank you - I really love responsive customer service!
    beacazil wrote:
    Sorry for this. We are working on the fix. I found one case where it had to do with Sub and SubSub Categories. Our server did not "find" all albums in the data provided by the SmugMug API.

    My apologies again. I'll let you know as soon as this is fixed.
  • claudermilkclaudermilk Major grins Posts: 2,756Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 31, 2007
    Same problem here, and I know what the issue is. I see all galleries directly within a Category. Any gallery buried another level down within a SubCategory is skipped. deal.gif So, the tree needs to look down another layer to grab everything.

    Edit: ah, I see you already have figured out the problem...missed that post...

    Another Edit: In playing around with the tools, I see they do check for image pixel dimensions & limit your order options. I have a question though; what is the threshold PPI to drop a size from being available? Would you consider displaying the calculated PPI for the selected size/crop? I know some (many?) users might not understand the significance, but for those of us who do it would be a nice reference point to judge whether the size is truly appropriate for the file.
  • cwphotoscwphotos Wedding Grins Posts: 763Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 31, 2007
    I look forward to the resolution as well. This is an amazing system.
    ====My Gear=====
    Canon 5D Mk.2/Grip || Canon 7D Backup
    17-40 f/4L || 70-200 f/2.8L IS || 100mm f/2.8L Macro || 24-70mm f/2.8L
    Wedding Photographer
    www.cwphotos.net
  • Ann McRaeAnn McRae SmugMug BizDev|Educator Posts: 4,584Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 31, 2007
    A workaround would be for me to upload or move the image that I want to print into a gallery that shows up - that is straight forward enough for me to do.

    Ideally, if I set up a new gallery just for fotofloat images, it would be one that shows - so now I need to figure out if it is subgalleries showing, or just what part of the heirarchy.

    I have a further question - is it necessary to precrop to the exact dimensions? Cleary it is necessary to use the right aspect ratio and resolution, but does one need to be more precise?

    ann
  • claudermilkclaudermilk Major grins Posts: 2,756Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 1, 2007
    Ann, I looked very carefully through my galleries vs what showed on the fotoflot page. Anything on the top category level is fine, it's just galleries buried within a subcategory that gets lost. For cropping, I played with the tools & they have a nice crop tool that is locked to the selected aspect ratio.
  • Ann McRaeAnn McRae SmugMug BizDev|Educator Posts: 4,584Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 3, 2007
    Everything is working perfectly now. Nice user interface. Can't wait to see my stuff!!!!

    ann
  • tommcatommca Big grins Posts: 34Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 5, 2007
    In playing around with the tools, I see they do check for image pixel dimensions & limit your order options. I have a question though; what is the threshold PPI to drop a size from being available? Would you consider displaying the calculated PPI for the selected size/crop?
    Chris, sorry for the late reply - I somehow missed your posting. We do provide the threshold PPI for each product size/aspect ratio. Look in "Learn About Our Products", under "Get Great Results." The short version:
    • 10"x12.5" and smaller: 125 ppi
    • 10"x30" and larger: 90 ppi
    • Everything in between: 100 ppi
    Don't know if you noticed, but if you mouse over the red/green indicators in the crop tool, it tells you the crop size in pixels. If the crop is below the minimum size, it also tells you the minimum size in pixels.

    Tom
  • Mike LaneMike Lane I � Unicode Posts: 7,106Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 5, 2007
    Hey Tom!

    I'm very intrigued by your product indeed! But one unfortunate thing, it appears you don't ship to APO addresses. :cry I'd order a 5:1 pano of this image right away if you did:

    167737044-X3-4.jpg
    Y'all don't want to hear me, you just want to dance.

    http://photos.mikelanestudios.com/
  • tommcatommca Big grins Posts: 34Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 5, 2007
    Mike Lane wrote:
    Hey Tom!

    I'm very intrigued by your product indeed! But one unfortunate thing, it appears you don't ship to APO addresses. :cry I'd order a 5:1 pano of this image right away if you did:
    Mike, I believe we can quickly figure out how to ship to APO addresses. It would help if you can give us your APO address. You can send via email or PM if you'd like. Tom
  • Mike LaneMike Lane I � Unicode Posts: 7,106Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 5, 2007
    tommca wrote:
    Mike, I believe we can quickly figure out how to ship to APO addresses. It would help if you can give us your APO address. You can send via email or PM if you'd like. Tom
    thumb.gif In your inbox. Thanks!
    Y'all don't want to hear me, you just want to dance.

    http://photos.mikelanestudios.com/
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