Remember the versatile Z1 Rider GoPro Gimbal I shared a short while back? Well, the other day I had the opportunity to test it out while mounted to one of my Carbon Fiber Audio Boom Poles. Here are a few examples.
So while the footage may not be perfect, I think the results came out pretty well considering it only took a very minimal set of tools. The GoPro HERO4 is a camera small enough to fit in your shirt pocket, and the versatile design of the Z1 Rider Gimbal allows you to mount it almost anywhere you can mount the GoPro itself.
The original shots were done with a DJI Ronin Gimbal and Sony A7s (not seen here). Needless to say the footage captured from the Ronin was better, but with that heavy setup comes additional effort and risk.
Being able to move a tiny GoPro around at the end of a stick while having full three axis stabilization was both easy and fun. About 2:17 in the video even looks like Aerial Drone footage. Something i'll definitely be experimenting more with, though next time i'll probably choose a different framerate and turn ProTune On for best quality.
The Audio Boom Pole I used could have easily been replaced with a broom stick or cheap Painter's Pole. If you need a rock solid camera tripod mount adapter for a Painter's Pole, make sure to check out the adapter from SeaPort Digital (found here).
Seaport Digital Painter's Pole Adapter with 1/4-20 Male Thread
I chose this particular gimbal over everything else for a few reasons.
1. The 3 Axis Gimbal is separate from the handle, batteries, and control board allowing the lightweight unit to mount to any standard GoPro mount (helmet, bike, chest harness, suction cup, etc). Other GoPro gimbals are attached directly to a handle, which doesn't allow it to be used as easily as the GoPro camera itself.
2. The motors are strong. Strong enough to withstand high winds when driving down the road and mounted to a motorcycle helmet. Strong enough to attach GoPro accessories like the Battery Bacpac, and HDMI Cable for an external monitor, or even a USB cable to power the GoPro from an external battery.
3. It's also cheaper than some of the other gimbals available (personally I feel it should be more expensive).
Two sets of screws (long and short ones) are provided in case you want to use the GoPro HERO3/HERO4 Naked, or if you want to attach a battery bacpac. The Z1 Rider Gimbal can easily compensate for all of the extra weight. Attaching a USB or HDMI cable to the GoPro will easily throw the balance off of any gimbal, but once the Z1 Rider is powered on, it easily manages to keep the horizon of the GoPro very level.
The Z1 Rider can be adjusted so that you have a full range of tilt motion from low shots to high shots. Different modes can be chosen for Pan + Tilt Follow, Pan Follow Only (no tilt), or No Pan + No Tilt (locked off).
Two buttons on the joystick control Tilt in one mode, or Roll in another mode. Unfortunately it does not have enough buttons to manage tilt and roll at the same time. Not a big deal since most people don't want their horizons off axis anyways.
Motors on Z1 Rider about the size of the GoPro
Obviously the benefits of the other GoPro Gimbals are the simplicity of having just a basic handle. I've managed to add a small L Bracket to my handle to simulate the same form factor should I want to travel extra small (albeit i'm left with a cord).
The L Bracket + a GoPro Tripod Mount allows me to mount the Gimbal and still have room for a Smart Phone Mount to use the GoPro App for preview.
DIY L Bracket to Remote for Mounting Gimbal and Smart Phone Clip
I do notice that my hands are much more steady with two handles, so by clamping the Z1 Rider to a 15mm PVGear Carbon Rod, i'm able to add a second handle and still have a very compact form.
Remember that the main reason I wanted this particular gimbal is it's mounting versatility. So combined with a MogoPod Monopod I can get further extension for height and quickly switch to very (very very) low shots seamlessly. With my longer Carbon Fiber Boom pole. I can even simulate a Russian Arm while tracking a subject from a moving vehicle.
So while the GoPro HERO4 is a powerful compact camera with 4K recording and HDMI output, you can get even more out of it by using a good stabilizer. If you're considering a GoPro 3 Axis Gimbal, the Z1 Rider 3 Axis Gimbal is one that I highly suggest for all of it's versatility and strong performance. Find it through the link below.