Meet Volt, a Steadicam for Smartphones
Steadicam adds power to the longstanding Merlin design for hybrid smartphone stabilizers.
The original Steadicam design is one of the most innovative in the history of cinema, driven by the passionate vision of Garrett Brown. Of course, the arm and vest rig was designed for much larger cinema cameras, while more and more filmmakers are working with smaller and smaller cameras. DJI has gained a foothold with the Osmo line of stabilizers for small cameras, and GoPro has even gotten into the mix with the Karma Grip.
Now, the original innovator Steadicam is making its play for the market with the new Volt. Built around the design for the Steadicam Merlin, a clever bit of engineering that Steadicam has made in various forms for decades, and combined with technology from drone maker Yuneec, the Volt is quite possibly the best solution for smoother smartphone shots yet.
By using a combination of motorized gimbal stabilization along with the weight-based stabilization of the Merlin design, the Volt offers a lot of compelling benefits. First is that it can continue to function even after the batteries run out, though the batteries claim eight hours of life, so that is more likely to be a benefit if you simply forget to charge the batteries in the first place. Secondly, the combination uses patent pending technology to simulate inertia in operation, creating smoother moves that feel less robotic and more organic. The Volt folds up to a self contained package that is easy to keep with you for a variety of shooting situations.
This also seems like a great move for Yuneec. Rather than build its own stabilizer and take on the challenge of fighting DJI in yet another marketplace, the company takes advantage of the technology it has developed and partners with the premiere name in the stabilization universe. Considering the trouble in the drone world, with everyone aside from DJI appearing to struggle and Parrot's recent decision to lay off a third of its staff, strategic partnerships like these seem like a great way to grow into new markets while sharing the risk.You can support the Volt now via Kickstarter, with shipments estimated for June 2017.
- Built for phones weighing 100 – 200g
- Can handle phone 58 to 80mm wide
- Comes with rechargeable LiOn batteries
- Works (more limited fashion) with batteries dead
- Simulated inertia