Even though photo and video stabilization software inside smartphones is steadily improving, it's still pretty hard to shoot good videos, as you no doubt know after viewing too many bobbing concert clips from friends, or jittery shots from family vacations. Professional videographers often use rigs that include something known as a gimbal to keep their shots straight, but gimbal sticks are often heavy, big and/or expensive. Enter Smoovie, a Kickstarter product that could affordably put the power of gimbal stability in your pocket.
Gimbals are a type of suspension that keep an object level even if its surroundings are moving; think of the compass on a ship. The Smoovie stick is being developed with a magnetic gimbal that will do just that for your smartphone or GoPro while you're shooting video.
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You simply clamp your phone or GoPro camera in and drop down a weighted pole to the number corresponding to your device's model. You then hold the phone using a small handle on the Smoovie, and the pole counterbalances your phone as the gimbal pivots and swivels to keep it straight — even if you're hand isn't. The setup also has an adjustable tilt bracket, so you can aim your camera at the angle you need before you start shooting.
When folded, the Smoovie measures 19 x 4 x 3.5 cm (about 7.5 x 1.6 x 1.4 inches) and weighs 125 grams (4.4 oz).
"Smoovie uses a pair of neodymium magnets to bias the gimbal so that the camera gently follows your hand – the magnets want to remain aligned but allow some relative motion before realigning," Smoovie product designer Alex Kalogroulis told Gizmag. "Sudden movements and tremors get damped out and you get great, smooth control as a result."
Certainly, the product videos seem to bear out the assertions. We'll be getting our hands on a model later this summer to try it out, but if you can't wait for that, you can reserve one for the pretty reasonable price of £11 (about US$16) if you're an early bird or for £12 or £15 if you're not. If the campaign is a success and the product gets manufactured — not always a given in crowdfunding campaigns — it is due to deliver in June of this year.
Footage shot with it can be seen below.