I remember the first time I used a GoPro in a film. I was making a student documentary about roller derby and I got to strap one of those bad boys on the helmet of a delightful derby girl named Bullet Brains (Andromedolls fan here.) The footage was amazing because of the POV, but it was so shaky that you could barely watch it. Anyone who has ever tried to capture something on a GoPro knows this frustration, but there might be a solution to this problem: a handheld motorized GoPro stabilizer that uses a gyroscopic sensor and gimbal called STABiLGO. Hit the jump for more info.
Michael Boczon and Christine Reilly developed this stabilizer in their NYC apartment out of readily available and affordable materials.
-- our creative focus and ability to produce and direct our own projects has led us on many adventures. We both enjoy snowboarding, biking and visual arts.We set out to build a device that would help us better shoot the action sports we love to do.We didn’t imagine this as a mass-produced product until friends and bystanders saw us using it and encouraged us to share it with the community.
Boczon and Reilly have 15 years of cinematography and photography experience each, and decided to create a Kickstarter campaign for STABiLGO to raise funds to begin production on the units.
Check out the videos below to see what the STABiLGO can do:
Now, let me state the obvious -- the assumed purpose of a GoPro is to capture the action of a live scene, whether that's by jumping out of a plane or biking down a treacherous trail. A lot of the GoPro footage we see comes from the camera being attached to the person experiencing the action, which gives us, the audience, a rare 1st person experience. It doesn't look like you'll get that footage with the STABiLGO, because it's handheld.
But that doesn't mean that STABiLGO isn't filling a need somewhere. According to TechCrunch, "After STABiLGO went up on Kickstarter, six different groups reached out to say that Boczon had beaten them to the punch by only a few weeks."
Here are the specs straight from the STABiLGO website:
- Weight: 1.5lbs
- Run Time: 90+ minutes on full charge, continuous usage
- Roll angle limit: 2700
- Pitch angle limit: 1800
- Suitable payload: 120g-400g; width: 79mm max
- Cameras known to fit: GoPro HERO2, HERO3
- Power: LiPo battery- 7.4v 1000Mah 20c
- Current: 160mA ~ 400mA
- COG adjustment range: X: 27.5mm Y: 11.5mm Z: 35.5mm
Currently, and this might be a little hard to swallow, the suggested retail value for STABiLGO is $699. If you said, "Ouch!" I'm right there with you. However, it's currently available on Kickstarter for $600. (In all fairness, the reported cost of the prototype was $450.) I suppose it depends on how much you use a GoPro. Someone like me who rarely if ever uses one might find the price a little too high, whereas a person who does most of their filmmaking on one might find it reasonable. But, as these things tend to do, many more like it will flood the market and prices will start going down. Beta devices will be available as early as September 2013, and retail units by March 2014. (Currently, all of the Beta Testing perks for $1000+ donations are gone!)
What do you think about STABiLGO? Could you see yourself using a stabilizer like this? Is the price a deal breaker for you, or do you think it's reasonable? Is this unit a game changer? Let us know in the comments.