If you’re using an iPhone for filmmaking—either as a primary camera, for secondary work, or simple run-and-gun shots—you’re already aware that it’s a powerful cinematic tool. To compensate for the “shakeycam” effect if you shoot video while moving, Apple introduced a motion stabilization effect in the iPhone 4S that works by expanding and cropping the video. But what if you have an earlier version of the iPhone, or want smoother camera movements without resizing the native video resolution? Enter the Steadicam Smoothee.
The Smoothee is an iPhone mount on a gyroscope (edit: the Smoothee does not use a gyroscope, but rather “the control point is a three axis gimbal.”) with a counterbalance, designed to limit and, well, smooth out jerky video while in motion. By guiding the base lightly with your thumb, you can control the camera angle without giving the audience motion sickness. In the video overview, I show how the Smoothee goes together, and demonstrate how it affects a shot by walking down steps and around a garden, then do the same shot again with my iPhone in just my hand.
Motion makes a shot more energetic, and the Steadicam Smoothee is a great tool for the amateur filmmaker or even a pro who needs a small, fast camera for some guerrilla shots. With a little practice to get used to guiding the gyroscope, you could set up some truly impressive shots.
For more information on the Steadicam Smoothee, read the Appletell review.