Is that a DJI Osmo in your pocket?
Introducing the DJI Osmo Pocket
Lately it would seem that DJI has been focused on democratizing filmmaking & content creation. Releases like the Spark, the Mavic Air, and the Mavic 2 (Pro & Zoom) have all been designed to make it easier to bring flying cameras with you wherever you go.
Today, DJI has continued the trend with its release of the Osmo Pocket, a (you guessed it) pocket-sized Osmo that's been designed from the ground up with ease-of-use and portability in mind. To do that, the Osmo Pocket includes some new intelligent shooting modes and has eliminated the need to connect your smartphone (although connecting your smartphone lets you unlock even more of the Osmo's creative potential).
While this is a product aimed at the consumer market, the old adage "it's not the hammer it's the carpenter" or more appropriately, "it's not the camera, it's the photographer" applies here. Yes, this is a consumer tool. That being said, filmmakers with knowledge of composition, exposure, lighting, angles, and movement can create great work with just about anything and having a super portable, inexpensive, and easily deployable camera in your pocket could be a very useful thing indeed.
Let's take a look at this new gadget and see if you'll have room in your pocket for DJI's newest Osmo.
New and Improved
Everything about the DJI Osmo Pocket is new. It has a smaller design and measures just four inches tall (that's shorter than an iPhone). It features a 1/2.3 inch sensor that records 12 megapixel still photos and records 4K video at up to 60fps at 100Mbps. Sound good?
Well, the Osmo Pocket also features dual microphones that DJI claims will help to reduce noise and capture higher quality audio to go along with your videos. This feature alone could be the fulcrum on which balances the success of the Osmo Pocket. If the audio isn't useable out-of-camera (the audio recording on previous Osmo models was useable as scratch audio at best), it will mean adding more gear and post-production time which will work against the goal of being able to capture and share on the go.
Stay tuned as No Film School will be doing a hands-on review of the Osmo Pocket and will be sure to put the microphone recording to the test!
In addition to a new form-factor, DJI has added some new intelligent shooting modes to the Osmo Pocket that are designed to make it even easier to capture your subjects. Combined with its 3-Axis gimbal, these shooting modes are designed to aim the camera where you want it even if you're in front of the lens.
- Active Track is DJI's system for identifying subjects and objects visually (usually by tapping the screen or drawing around them on screen with your finger) and then training the camera on them regardless of where the subject and/or the camera moves. This feature is incredibly useful on DJI's drones and was one of the stand-out features of Osmo Mobile and it is now available on Osmo Pocket.
- Face Track is like Active Track for faces (pretty self-explanatory, right?). Face track is supposed to automatically identify and track one face in your scene even if there are many faces in view.
- Timelapse & Motionlapse modes are perfect for speeding up the passage of time. With a time-lapse, the camera stays put and the world around the camera goes into hyper speed to illustrate the passage of time. Motion lapses combine the passage of time with motion to allow you to transport viewers through your world at hyper speed. Both time lapses and motion lapses can be especially compelling for establishing shots & b-roll and both shooting modes are natively supported within the Osmo Pocket workflow.
- FPV Mode is for when you don't want to maintain a level horizon but instead want to let your viewer feel every twist and turn. In FPV mode, the gimbal will not be locked and will instead turn and tilt to help you share the movement just as the camera experienced it.
- 3x3 & 180 Degree Panoramic Stills There are times when you'll want to capture still images and here too Osmo Pocket offers some new automated modes. The 3x3 mode captures a total of 9 images to be assembled into a multi-image panorama to show more of your scene in greater detail while the 180-degree mode will capture four images that are then stitched into a 180-degree panorama. In both of these modes, the images are stitched automatically by the Osmo Pocket software, letting you focus on creating the next shot rather than worrying about processing images.
Battery life is a critical consideration for any portable video device and DJI claims the battery in the Osmo Pocket will provide filmmakers with up to two hours of continuous shooting at 4K 60fps. As with any gimbal, actual battery life in the field is affected by how much and how hard the gimbal has to work. Shooting lots of pans/tilts or where the gimbal is stabilizing in wind or where the camera is moving a lot will make it work harder and will affect real-world battery life, but all things equal, this is a big increase from earlier models and will be interesting to test.
Story & Pro Modes
While you no longer have to connect your smart device while shooting, Story and Pro modes are two reasons to do so. These two creative shooting modes allow you to unlock Osmo Pocket's full potential by taking advantage of MIMO (multi in multi out) technology. Story Mode helps you quickly and easily create compelling video stories and it manages everything from the soundtrack to coloring and even the camera movement so that you can focus on what to say, not how to say it. Pro Mode opens up access to more granular exposure controls to let you dial in the exact look for your shots.
Price & Availability
Osmo Pocket is available today for $349 and will be shipping on December 15th, 2018.
While the Osmo Pocket certainly seems to be a consumer camera, it packs a lot of high-technology and creative assistance into a small footprint which means that pro filmmakers and content creators should be able to fully exploit its portability and functionality to create some great looking content quickly, easily, and affordably. For indie filmmakers, those are great features for any piece of kit to have. Just how well will the Osmo Pocket be able to integrate with your other production gear? Visually, it seems it will be an improvement over previous Osmo models with its greater portability and new intelligent shooting modes making it a bit more convenient to use.