Hand held and body mounted camera stabilizers revolutionized the film industry years ago with the ability to isolate the operator's movement, allowing for a smooth shot, even when the camera moves over an irregular surface. Now, as cameras in smartphones continue to get better the technology is making its way into this segment, the latest such effort comes by way of a Kickstarter campaign for the Steadicam Volt.
Built in association with drone-maker Yuneec, the handheld device uses Steadicam's mechanical gimbal in combination with an electronic motor system to steady tracking shots. The result is superior tracking without the lag of alternatives like the DJI Osmo, according to Steadicam’s parent company Tiffen. Steadicam inventor and Garrett Brown calls it an “electronically gyro-augmented Steadicam for smartphones that just weighs one pound, with the inertia an feel of a 40 pound rig."
The Volt can accept smartphones weighing 100 to 200 grams (3.5 to 7 ounces), from 58 to 80 mm (2.2 to 3.2 inches) wide, and works with an iOS or Android app that helps you balance and tune it. Its lithium-ion batteries last eight hours on a single charge, though you can it in a reduced way with no power.
High end smartphones already include some type of image hardware or software based stabilization. However, for fast paced handheld shots you often need more support. The Steadicam Volt Kickstarter campaign has received $212,685 as of this writing, way past its $100,000 goal. It’s available for an early-bird price of $139 — $60 off the planned $199 retail price — and should begin shipping in June.