By now most people have seen the Mōvi camera stabilizer. This handheld 3-axis digital stabilized camera gimbal provides very smooth steady cam style shots in a very compact package. The price of $15,000 might not seem to bad if you’ve had too invest in a high end Steadicam vests and sled, but it’s out of the range of most budgets.

A few lower price options have started to show up. The Rotorview for example uses the same method of stabilization with a smaller design profile. You can pick up a Rotorview for around $3,800 USD (2,900 euro). The demo video shows the Rotorview in action, flying what looks to be a Sony FS-100. The results appear to be just as smooth as those of the Mōvi camera stabilizer, with a cost savings of around $11,000.

Movi Gimbal (1 of 1)

If you take a look at the Mōvi design (picture from NAB, they let me touch it), you can see that two out of the 3 brushless motors are doing most of the stabilization. Pitch and roll do most of the work well the yaw (top motor) is being used by a remote operator for pans. Even though the technology was praised as new and innovative, there have been a lot of other companies and DIY groups working on the same tech. The Mōvi camera stabilizer was simply the first to make it to market.

The DIY versions of the Mōvi have come a long way in the last few months. Now for $600 or less you can build your own DIY Mōvi and get very similar results. There are already a few kits showing up on ebay designed around the Sony NEX 5 and GH2 cameras. That form factor would also be ideal for the Black Magic Pocket Camera.


There are still some downsides to the 2 axis DIY design. Walking motion is eliminated but you can still introduce a little bit of jitter when panning the camera by hand. There’s a kickstarter version of the 2 axis concept that’s designed around the gopro called the STABiLGO. Even though the two founders in the video look like zombies, their demo footage makes it easy to see the effect. As long as the camera isn’t making a dramatic pan everything looks pretty nice.

All the parts used in the STABiLGO (above) look like they’ve come right from kits on ebay. Basically it’s just the two brushless motors, mounting bracket, controller, and battery attached to a BARSKA hand grip. It looks like they’ve taken a dremel to the handle in order to accommodate the battery. All together, it’s about $300 worth of parts and it looks like they are shooting for a $600 price tag.

I’ve already started to see DIY 3 axis kits showing up on ebay. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before this sort of thing completely eats away at the traditional steadicam market. Hopefully we’ll start seeing sub $1000 kits with no DIY required designed around smaller cameras like the Black Magic Pocket Camera showing up on the market by the end of the year. If I had a steady cam like this on set every day, it would probably start to take over my shot list.

UPDATE: Looks like you can now buy a ready to assemble kit for $299 on ebay. You get everything but the battery and that price includes shipping. Still only designed for smaller cameras, but that’s a better deal then the STABiLGO kickstarter.

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