The Steadicam Volt’s Kickstarter campaign has far surpassed its goal, which means that this latest, and relatively inexpensive innovation, will be available for purchase to all budding filmmakers. This Steadicam gimbal spells trouble for the competition. Tiffen’s Steadicam Volt in action (via Kickstarter)
This reminds me of my Tiva C steadicam I made a few years ago here on element14. I suppose I should have stayed with the idea. Or perhaps, time to return to the idea?
In the 1970’s Garrett Brown revolutionized filmmaking and cinematography with the creation of the Steadicam. He developed a rig that moved the center of mass of the system from inside the camera, to the outside, which allows for more complex tracking shots without compromising the stability and clarity of the image. The counterweight on the bottom of the stabilizer (pictured above) serves to move the center of mass outside the camera which decreases the camera’s sensitivity to movement. The Steadicam technology premiered in Bound For Glory (1976), which went on to win an Academy Award for cinematography, and also enabled some of the most iconic shots in films like Rocky (1976) and The Shining (1980). Now, 40 years later, Steadicam has developed a handheld smartphone stabilizer called the Steadicam Volt, and it beats the competition in performance and price.
As for its technical specifications, the Volt has a lightweight foldable frame; it is Bluetooth enabled; it uses rechargeable lithium ion batteries; it has a “movie” and a “sport” mode; remains functional when batteries are depleted; and fits iOS & Android phones with or without a case from 100 – 200g in weight and 58 to 80mm wide.
A Kickstarter campaign for the Steadicam Volt Smartphone Stabilizer (built in cooperation with the drone company Yuneec) has more than doubled its $100,000 goal with the support of nearly 1400 backers, and still, over fifty days left in the campaign. In a video demonstration, the Steadicam handheld smartphone stabilizer (a.k.a. gimbal) is compared to another electrical three-axis gimbal, and the Steadicam Volt (appearing on the right in the video) is much more responsive to abrupt movements than the slow and delayed movement of the competitor’s model: DJI’ Osmo Mobile. In addition to appearing more fluid than DJI’s gimbal, Steadicam has made the Volt available for $139 for the remainder of the Kickstarter campaign, and has a planned MSRP of $199; both of which are considerably less than the $299 price tag on the Osmo Mobile. Recap: The Steadicam Volt appears to outperform the DJI Oslo Mobile, and it currently costs less than half as much.
According to the Volt’s Kickstarter page, the reason it is able to exceed the capabilities of the Oslo Mobile is because it allows for “haptic control” instead of relying purely on “software for the framing”. Both gimbals use electronic brushless motors for stabilization, but the Volt has an additional mechanical gyro that assists in the stabilization of the image. This mechanism enables the user to manually direct the panoramic movement with greater agility and allows the Steadicam to function even when the battery is dead. The combined effect of the Volt’s stabilization mechanisms is an artificial inertia that makes the Volt an effective and practical image stabilizer that can turn a home video into an independent film.
Look at that... my camera gyro stabilizer project is worth almost a half-of-a-million dollars! (Their kickstarter is almost there!)
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