Letus has shown prototypes of their gimbal stabilizer, Helix, at NAB before, but, if you remember, the prototype's design was quite different. This year, however, Letus has worked out the kinks and finalized the design, and now Helix is one remarkable piece of gear. Because of its modular design, users have the option to utilize one, two, or all three axises of the optically centered stabilizer, each setup serving a range of shooting scenarios. We unfortunately weren't able to stop at their booth, but cinema5D was, and Letus' Aaron Pinto gives a demonstration the Helix while they were there.
First of all, check out this test footage captured using Helix, as well as Letus' other new stabilizer, a 1-axis gimbal stabilizer for the GoPro.
One intriguing aspect of the Helix stabilization system is that its design and method of operation differs from the other gimbals out there right now, while still maintaining incredible stabilization. Once solely a single axis stabilizer, the Helix has 3 different setups that utilize either 1 axis, 2 axises, or 3 axises (like the MōVI) that can be used for use on a Steadicam or monopod (1-axis), for smooth pans (2-axis), or for handheld shots (3-axis). And as Pinto explains in the video below, one of the biggest benefits of having 3 individual setups is that you can switch out lenses without having to recalibrate and rebalance your camera within the 3D space of the rig. Instead, you only have to rebalance a single axis.
The center of the lens is in the center of the rotational point, which, as you saw in the video above, allows for some really dynamic shots. The handles can be rotated to pan up and down, which may be a welcomed feature, since other gimbals either require an additional operator to work a remote or, in the case of the MōVI, input from the solo operator. However, the Helix does give you the option to operate any camera movement with a remote control.
Check out this video from cinema5D, in which Aaron Pinto of Letus demonstrates the Helix and fills us in on all of its features.
The Helix will be available in about 5 to 6 weeks (sometime in mid to late May) and will sell for an amount somewhere in the $4000 to $5000 range. Thought many of us won't be able to just go and snag one of these right away once they go on sale, the Helix is considerably less expensive than when we first started seeing these rigs come out only a year ago. Gimbal stabilizers are only going to get more intuitive and less spendy as time goes on, so we're definitely excited to see what the future holds for these awesome rigs.
NFS's coverage of NAB 2014 is brought to you by My RØDE Reel and Limelite. Subscribe to the No Film School YouTube channel for the latest video updates direct from NAB, as well as filmmaker interviews, tutorials, and behind-the-scenes features.