April 10, 2014

Letus Introduces 'Helix', a Modular Gimbal Stabilizer for Less Than $5000

Letus StabilizerLetus 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.

Link: NAB 2014 video: Letus Helix: A new sub $5000 stabilized gimbal with a twist -- cinema5D

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.

Your Comment

33 Comments

Warp stabalizer. LAME...

April 10, 2014 at 10:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Yeah. Anytime a product that's suppose to help stabilize a shot and it uses warp stabilizer... that's just weak.

April 10, 2014 at 10:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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For 5000$ I'd expect this thing to shoot a video for me.

April 11, 2014 at 2:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bamboo

That video with the warp stabilization wasn't the $5000 gimble, it was a single axis mini gimble for the GoPro...

April 11, 2014 at 4:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Super wide lenses and Still I could see shake, it seems like a gimbal from 2003... if this cost less than 500$ someone could actually want it. Really bad video and bad gimabl. :(

First time I see such a bad and biased article, it looks like Renee didn't watch the video at all. what is this ?:

"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."

Incredible Stabilization... maybe Invisible Stabilization.

April 10, 2014 at 11:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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yes to much shaky

April 11, 2014 at 4:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Guys the video footage is from a 1-axis stabilizer for GO PRO, not the 3 axis. READ

April 11, 2014 at 8:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The promo video is a perfect example of a situation where someone has all the elements (budget, equipment, location, etc...) and will still end up with the worst possible outcome; a promo video that turns people away. I don't think it would have been hard to make a good looking video even if the stabilizer is a bit shaky, anyone with a bit of experience would have been able to tell that most of those shots would look awful. Also the 'made in china' label couldn't have been placed on a more prominent place...

April 11, 2014 at 12:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Raul

Someone will make a shoulder rig for it ... it'll be perfect ... (though, someone does make a shoulder rig already ...
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not this - only body support - http://cinescopophilia.com/the-hollywood-gimbal-camera-rig/
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OK, here it is - http://vimeo.com/89529728

April 11, 2014 at 1:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

This is incredibly lame footage, I cannot believe they would use this to try and promote a new product launch.

I've seen much better sample footage from Chinese brands, Letus this is pathetic.

April 11, 2014 at 2:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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vit

A body support rig from Full Power (Tony Reale's vid, about 4 minutes in) ... a Movi style stabilizer with a bungee cord!
.
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siaQMY7LX_o ]

April 11, 2014 at 4:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Doesn't look like this product works.

April 11, 2014 at 4:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Listen here... with a wide angle lens like that even my handheld footage would look stable... $5000 WHAT A FAT JOKE!

April 11, 2014 at 6:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Chris

I that familiar start up beeping sound is probably and AlexMos controller board... they may have customized the GUI software, but I bought my CAME 7000 3 Axis Stabilizer for $950.00... and it works great!

NAB what a joke.

April 11, 2014 at 6:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Chris

So, being someone who actually read the article, and looking at this video on vimeo with it's descriptions: All driving shots are a 1 axis gopro, and the party/ Vegas shots were the helix 3-axis. A few unsteady shots in the city, but all in all, with the right people and the proper use this could work very well. Though, I'm still very interested in dji's new 3-axis gonna, as they said their price point will be under $5000.

April 11, 2014 at 8:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Warp stabilizer much?

April 11, 2014 at 9:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Joseph Mama

This doesn't look very good at all.

April 11, 2014 at 9:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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All Hail the Helix Fossil!!

April 11, 2014 at 10:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Edgar

Warp stabilizer??? I decided to buy the Glidecam with the Eroz instead! https://vimeo.com/89451081

April 11, 2014 at 10:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rick

The plural of axis is axes. Jeez. "Axises?"

April 11, 2014 at 11:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ronn

Great design. Best one I've seen yet. My only worry is that they need to come up with a proper monitor mount that's not off to the side but directly behind the rig. Also, I wish these damn gimbal makers would show it with a camera rigged the way we plan to use them (with wireless feed, follow focus, monitor, MB, filters and PL mount lens).

April 11, 2014 at 2:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You meant to say "Rigged the way "I" plan to use them". I think. For my part, whenever I use a stabilizer, it's never fully rigged: it's more as a "B" cam.

April 11, 2014 at 7:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Fabdex

No I'm with Tim, these look clean until we get them all rigged up the way we plan to use.

April 12, 2014 at 11:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Can't wait until a company makes a gimbal that costs less than the camera. Too bad Black Magic isn't making these.

April 11, 2014 at 7:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Check eBay.

April 11, 2014 at 10:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

It exists. Rock solid with no warpo. Can run with very minimul to no shakes. Check out the results

http://www.ostrc.com/collections/gimbals/products/ost-steady-v2

my experience and initial testing with with this vendor's product:
https://vimeo.com/91025408

https://vimeo.com/91656086

https://vimeo.com/91558408

YOu can also buy their DIY kit cheaper than the ebay versions.

April 13, 2014 at 5:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike

second vid is their little mini gopro version

April 13, 2014 at 5:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike

IMO, these hand-held MoVi style units have reached the point where it makes more sense to find a stable platform for them. The running footage still looks very shaky. It needs a Segway type of a vehicle or suspended cable, so the operator can keep the shot steady (unless the shaky effect itself is desired .... in which case, one may as well do everything hand held). One of the best sequences in "Shining" was done by Garrett Brown while he was being pushed in a wheel chair. The chair provided the stabilization, the Steadicam provided mobility.
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvwSi7ta0P4 ]

April 14, 2014 at 5:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

roller blades work well. now there is not much shake in my vids at all. not sure what you are talking about. Couple of jitters on the quick up moments at the end but my flat feet are pounding the concrete with flip flops on. It looks liek the cam is floating in last vid.

April 14, 2014 at 6:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike

if you're talking about z axis then yeah slight up down but there was a subject in the frame you;d never notice. That's incredible stability for 1600 bucks

April 14, 2014 at 6:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike

You have it backward. The Steadicam provided the stabilization. The wheelchair provided the mobility.

April 19, 2014 at 6:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

Some more tests. I pretty much have the new 32 bit dialed in perfectly. This is with one sensor. There is a second on for more stabilit. More stability!! I need a longer wire as I will do the second asap once I get it. I added some vimeo free music be careful with volume as there is no control to two songs in vimeo until after the fact.

It is pretty perfect IMO.

http://www.ostrc.com/collections/gimbals/products/ost-steady-v2

https://vimeo.com/92359069

April 18, 2014 at 6:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike

more tests ost steady

https://vimeo.com/93072854

April 27, 2014 at 1:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike