Article by Aaron Johnson, Owner & Inventor of SHOTBOX
I’ve been in the scrapbooking industry for over 25 years. This may sound strange coming from a 6’8” sports-loving dude, but the scrapbooking world is what really gave me my start.
Dianne Hook, an incredible artist and businesswoman who founded DJ Inkers, was the person to introduce me to the crafting world. She was very well-known for her rubber stamps and books that frequented schools, craft stores, hospitals and more. It was my job to take the drawings Dianne did for her products and digitize them for computer use. I figured out the optimal way for it to be used as general clipart and fonts.
I started with Dianne in the golden years of scrapbooking—the 90’s. Back when .wmf and .cgm file formats reigned supreme while Word and Print Shop dominated the Windows 3.1 landscape. It was awesome in its way. This was when Creating Keepsakes introduced the “crazy” new concept of the oversized 12x12 scrapbooks, which eventually took the world by storm. With this new way of scrapbooking came a whole slew of problems.
Problem One: The Amount
The first issue is less of a problem than an incredible feat—the 12x12 scrapbooks have taken over. The sheer number of scrapbooks in existence would be an impossible number for anyone to claim. The issue falls not even in that there are “too many” of them, because the world can’t have too much of a good thing… right? I’ve witnessed and experienced the awe-inspiring sight of bookshelves full of meticulously crafted scrapbooks. The problem really lies in the question that begs, “What do we do with them now?”
Problem Two: The Risk
These magnificent creations are continually at an alarming risk. The saying goes that, if your house is burning down, you get the kids, the photos and the husband… in that order. I can only cringe in knowing how many scrapbooks, photos and other family treasures are destroyed by disasters such as fire, flooding and storm. It is truly a tragedy.
Problem Three: The Impermanence
These books are one-offs. They often dangerously perch alone on their dusty shelves. They are lonely and desire some redundancy, I say!
Problem Four: The Limitation
These books are not easily or conventionally shareable. No one can experience them anywhere but plunked down on the sofa with the book spread across your lap. The only “sharing” that happens at this point is when curious eyes crowd around to see what you’re looking at. Plus people are reluctant to loan these out… I’ve experienced the horror of loaning a scrapbook once when I lost one for almost a month. By some miracle it was eventually found, but many people aren’t that lucky.
Problem Five: The Size
An apparent solution to most of these problems would simply be digitize these materials. This, however, leads to the last and most significant issue—they are just too big! While glorious in their 12x12 terrific-ness, the size of these pages is simply too big for traditional scanning.
Scanning would require one of two things—finding an expensive large-format scanner to use or scanning your page in different parts and stitching them together with a photo-editing program. These are two significant hurdles that are rarely overcome, leaving scrapbooks to continue on in their problem-laden existence.
SHOTBOX: The Solution
There must be a better way… and now, there is. It’s called the SHOTBOX, and it was specifically created to disrupt and replace the traditional method of scanning by simply taking a picture with your camera or smartphone. And it was made to solve all the problems discussed here.
The SHOTBOX emulates what major digitization companies are doing—they prefer using high-end camera and computer setups to traditional scanning. It’s easy to see that pressing a shutter button is significantly faster than watching a light bar scan back and forth. A SHOTBOX and smart phone are a small-scale version of this theory that can be done on your kitchen table.
The SHOTBOX was made specifically to capture a 12 x 12 document in a microsecond. To achieve quality results, it has been outfitted with LED lights to provide balanced light devoid of shadows. It has holes on top of its cubed shape to position the camera lens straight down without jiggle and blur. It's collapsible, portable, and extremely durable to boot. There is nothing like it on the market.