Vincent Laforet just posted up this video BTS of a new Hand Held Stabilized System from FreeFly that allows you to operate a video camera with smooth results. When this becomes available, this will truly be an awesome product, but retail prices for such a product are looking to be floating around $7,000-$15,000 US dollars. That actually sounds like a great deal if it comes complete with a way to stream HD Video out for a remote operator to maintain framing.
It really is an amazing tool to use that will free you from Cranes/Jibs/Sliders/Track Dollies, etc. Not to take anything away from FreeFly, but my guess is this system is strongly based on what is known as ‘Brushless Gimbals’ used in Ariel Photography/Video. In fact I just received an email a while back about how the technology for brushless pan / tilt stabilized systems have become more affordable and is a trend in the DIY RC Groups. Brushless motors are used in place of noisy and slow Servos.
Normally these DIY Brushless Gimbals for cameras are designed to mount under Quadcopters and stuff, but here’s a couple of DIY project videos showing these brushless stabilizers in action over the past year.
There’s a variety of these ‘brushless gimbal’ systems on the market, including many for the GoPro Hero Cameras. You can find some small systems for under $200-$300 bucks. Here’s a ready made off-the-shelf product from DJI called the ZenMuse that looks pretty good. They claim to have very fast response time which is important to keeping your video shake free as you move about.
It’s cheaper to go the DIY route if you can tackle the project, because a product like this DJI Zenmuse Gimbal will runs for $3,500 bucks (found here)
DJI ZenMuse Stabilized Gimbal for Photo/Video
DIY Wireless HDMI & Wireless Follow Focus
So then there’s the question about working with a remote operator or maybe two remote camera operators? One operator on a system like this would be in charge of framing or keeping the subject in focus. You’ll need a wireless video stream from the camera. If you’re moving about with a shallow depth of field, then someone needs to be in charge of what should be in focus.
This oddly segways into a video I just uploaded last night specifically for a remote camera operator, showing a DIY wireless HD video stream from a GH3 camera, and testing a Wireless Follow Focus system (below).
Thanks to Patryk for pointing out this small Nyrius ARIES Prime Digital Wireless HDMI System for me. I’ve in the past used the Asus WiCast (old article here) but the transmitter was a bit large and required too many amps which meant I had to use a large battery. This Nyrius ARIES Prime Digital Wireless HDMI transmitter can operate on 1A and is powered via mini USB, so i’m able to use a very small USB battery pack. The receiver still requires 5V/2A, so right now i’m just working with the Tekkeon battery pack on the receiver end.
Another reason why i’m excited to build this project is because of the GH3 camera! Canon DSLRs will lose the lcd display if you plug an HDMI cable in, so that meant that aside from my Wireless HDMI, I was required to plug in an LCD monitor with HDMI passthrough for the cam operator to see. The GH3 camera can continue to output a 1080HD signal through the HDMI without dropping the LCD display on the camera – (c’mon Canon get it together).
For controlling focus remotely, there are many different Wireless Follow Focus systems on the market, but right now i’ve been testing out the Senna All Recall Wireless Follow Focus system that was sent to me (below). I am still putting it through it’s paces, and will have more information about the product on a later post. There are a few quirks about the design, but so far the performance of the unit has been great and I haven’t had any issues.
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