Steadicam sets out to make smartphones feel like big-boy cameras
Large, broadcast-quality video cameras may be a lot harder to lug around than camera-equipped smartphones, but that larger size also offers a benefit – because they're so much heavier, they pack more inertia, resulting in smoother handheld pans and tilts. The Tiffen Company claims to have replicated that inertia for smartphone videographers, in its new Steadicam Volt motorized stabilizer.
Utilizing electronics borrowed from drone manufacturer Yuneec, the device looks not unlike Tiffen's non-motorized Steadicam Smoothee. Its Simulated Inertia haptic feedback system, however, puts it more in the category of things like the DJI Osmo Mobile – and it works in essentially the same way.
"Whenever the Volt starts to rotate, it instantly senses how much external force or more precisely external torque is being applied," director of product marketing Andrew Tiffen tells us. "Volt software then computes a counter-torque applied through the motors which pushes back against and cancels out some of the external torque. It thus picks up angular speed more gradually than would an un-powered Volt. It has a lower angular acceleration, so it behaves as if more massive."
The electronics are also used to precisely balance the user's phone in the mount, with some help from an accompanying iOS/Android app – the Volt accepts all phones weighing 100 to 250 grams and measuring 58 to 85 mm across. Under typical shooting conditions, its lithium-ion battery pack should be good for around eight hours of use.
If you're interested in picking one up, the Volt is currently the subject of a successful Kickstarter campaign that's just about over. A pledge of US$149 will get you one, which is $50 less than the planned retail price of $199. If everything works out, shipping should take place in June.