“In the film business, it’s always children and dogs. How do you get them to look?” asked Steve McWilliams, the inventor the EyeDirect® camera mount system.
In 1997, Steve was asked to shoot a television commercial for Target Department Stores featuring their “spokesdog,” PBS’s Wishbone. When the animal trainer told Steve that she could not direct the dog to look directly into the camera, Steve had an idea. Fashioned MacGuyver-style out of a pizza box, a foam core and a couple of mirrors, the first EyeDirect prototype was born. Wishbone saw his trainer in the mirror and looked directly into the lens behind it.
The first patent on the device came three years later, and Steve founded EyeLiner, Inc. to market and sell his devices. He began as a small operation, handcrafting each device, personally loaning them out or splitting commission with a rental house. Since 2000, EyeDirect sales have grown from two or three units to over 500 units per year, and the accolades have not stopped coming.
As sales have grown, directors and photographers from around the world have had no issue getting their subjects to look into the camera lens. Like maintaining eye contact with a backseat passenger through the rear-view mirror, EyeDirect creates an intimate experience between the audience and the subject. Clients such as Masterclass, Disney, Facebook, Apple, NASCAR, ESPN, Google and numerous colleges and universities have used EyeDirect to foster a more authentic experience.
For all of its success with big names, EyeLiner, Inc. remains a small operation with a laser-focused expertise. While other devices like EyeDirect have appeared over the years, Steve has stayed true to the spirit of his first handcrafted designs. Filmmakers choose the EyeDirect device over its competitors for its superior build quality and flexibility to use with any camera.
Always understanding of the quick response needed in film production, Steve believes in offering superior customer service. He can be reached directly through EyeDirect’s main number. EyeDirect offers same-day, expedited shipping for all units and spare parts.
“If you can have someone telling their story to the lens, that creates an even stronger experience than if they’re telling their story at an angle,” Steve says. “I don’t think we’re ever going to lose our appetite for eye contact.”