Finances!

One of the pledges we made in the Kickstarter campaign was to be transparent with the finances for this project. Six months after we received the funds and with the camera nearly ready, let’s have a look at where the money’s gone.

First the build of the camera itself, then the accounts for the project as a whole.

Camera Build

Income:

Kickstarter donations after fees £2,216.44
Other donations £75.00
Total £2,291.44

Expenses:

Budget Spent Remaining
Rewards £627.00 £288.74 £338.26
Contingency £50.00 £0.00 £50.00
Blackout £50.00 £0.00 £50.00
Wood £498.30 £498.30 £0.00
Carpenter £360.00 £360.00 £0.00
Painting £34.97 £34.97 £0.00
Lens £550.00 £200.00 £350.00
Focussing £32.00 £32.00 £0.00
Wheels / base £50.00 £24.50 £25.50
Mirror Housing £40.00 £17.80 £22.20

The astute amongst you will notice out budget is 83 pence over our income. We hope to iron that out towards the end of the build.

So, how does that break down?

Rewards

Reward Budget Spent Remaining
Mini COs £275.00 £275.00
Posters £75.00 £73.50 £1.50
Stickers + Postcards £102.00 £102.00 £0.00
Plaque £20.00 £20.00
Photo Prints £15.00 £15.00
Postage £140.00 £88.29 £51.71

As you can see, we haven’t produced the Mini Camera Obscuras, nor made the plaque or the photo prints, but the money for these is still in the bank. Once we have time we’ll get them done asap. There’s also £50 left for posting the cameras out. Postage for the poster was much higher than we anticipated so if this isn’t enough we’ll subsidise it with our own money.

Contingency

We haven’t needed this yet! If it’s not used we’ll hold for the inevitable repairs fund.

Blackout

This is the curtain on the front of the camera, which we’ll be working on this month. (If anyone has 3 metres of red velvet-style curtain they don’t want, we can use it!)

Wood and Carpenter

Matt Moore built and delivered the camera body to budget, and even did some extra bits for free. Thanks Matt!

Painting

We bought some varnish and black paint. We have plenty of black paint left over.

Lens

The lens that’s currently in the camera is a stop-gap, costing a tenner from eBay. It still creates a nice image, but we’re getting a much better one made. The £200 was a deposit and the £350 is payable on delivery. It will be made to fit the mirror housing and be hand polished by (we’re told) the last lens polisher for the hobbyist market in the UK. We’re hoping to have it this summer.

Focussing

This covered the hand-cranked scissor lift which holds the screen in place. If we have budget left we’re hoping to add a lever to make focussing easier, but as it stands it does the job fine.

Wheels / Base

When the camera body was delivered it was very clear our ideas for mounting it on wheels were desperately wrong. Since much of the budget is being spent on the lens we’ve decided to have the camera standing still and have simply bought some cheap IKEA coffee tables for it to stand on. Next year we hope to raise funds for some bespoke wheels so it can be moved around a festival field.

Mirror Housing

This was donated to us by Tim Norgate and cost him £1500 to get made a decade ago, which was very generous of him, but it still needed some money spent on it, specifically new batteries and wiring. We’ve got the batteries. We’re working on the wiring.

And that’s about it. As the realities of the camera knocked our theoretical budget around we had to make some adjustments, but we’re happy that we’re coming in on budget and have the camera we promised you. The big failure is it’s not on wheels like the prototype, but we can still have it up in 20 minutes, so it’s still technically pretty damn portable. We just feel we’d rather raise some more money for the wheels and do them properly than put the camera on something crappy.

Bham Obscura accounts

We haven’t had a lot of income yet. Our applications for Arts Council funding to develop the project as a resource were turned down which was intended to give us time to create income streams, but this just means it’s going to be a slower process than we anticipated.

The end goal is still that we’re able to make significant personal income from this project so we can dedicate more time and energy to getting the camera out. Volunteering our time for free is great in the short term but not sustainable.

So here’s what’s happened money-wise since December.

Date Item Income Expenses Balance
29/11/2014 Carried over from 2014 £70.00 £70.00
07/12/2014 Investment £100.00 £170.00
08/12/2014 Racking Shelving – studio £27.99 £142.01
08/12/2014 Cork Boards – studio £30.99 £111.02
19/01/2015 Company Registration £35.00 £76.02
30/01/2015 Mag Glasses for Workshops £19.80 £56.22
29/04/2015 Flatpack Installation income £200.00 £256.22
29/04/2015 Flatpack Installation fees £90.01 £166.21
29/04/2015 Flatpack Installation expenses £109.99 £56.22

We had £70 left over from running workshops last year and put in another £100 of our own money to give us something to work with. The shelving and cork board were for the studio at BOM. Company registration was necessary for the Arts Council application and was something we’d be wanting to do eventually anyway. Magnifying glasses are what we do our workshops with. The Flatpack Festival was our first paid installation / workshop of the year and after the costs we split the remaining £90 between us.

As you can see, Bham Obscura is not a particularly lucrative business and we need to develop more paid work through it for this to be a sustainable venture. We’re confident that once the camera has been out and people have seen what we can do with it this shouldn’t be insurmountable.

We decided the other week that all income from camera obscura related activities will be pooled and divided between us equally. Income in this case is money from appearances, talks, workshops and other things where someone pays us to be there. Other income, such as donations and fundraising, is ring-fenced for the development and maintenance of the camera itself. We intend to keep these very separate.

And that’s everything. Any questions, please do get is touch!