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Wednesday
Feb192014

Steadicam Smoothee with a GoPro H3 Black

One thing I really can't stand in my GoPro videos is all the shaky, jarring footage.  This is pretty hard to get away from if you have the camera mounted to your helmet or on a chest mount, but if you're planning on doing some hand held shots, there are a few options out there, one of which is the Steadicam Smoothee.

Full blown Steadicams are used all over professional film making, but one of my favorite examples is from the movie Goodfellas:

 

You can see you get one long, continuous shot, that is very smooth and dream like.  Once you're aware of the technology, you'll be spotting it everywhere.

Like so many things these days, the technology has come into reach of amateurs like myself and for around $100 you can create some pretty nice shots.  The trick with consumer level steadicams is that they take a little more work to get them just right.  In the case of the Smoothee, you'll notice that it takes a bit to learn how to "steer" it when your thumb and index finger.  You'll also find that getting a smooth shot goes up in difficulty as the wind does.

One thing to note is that the original Smoothee was developed for the GoPro H2 series which is a bit heavier than the H3 series.  To compound that, the device was intended to be used with the LCD backpack which also adds a bit of heft to the GoPro.  What this means is that when you first get the rig, if you just mount a standard GoPro H3 with no LCD backpack, the device is going to tend to swing.  You'll notice this in some of the shots in my sample video where I'm filming my wife on her horse.  These shots were before I decided to adjust the weight.  The swinging is also really compounded with wind and sunded changes in direction, so you're unlikely to get any great footage without adjusting the balance on the device.

After shooting some test footage with the camera, I decided to try and adjust the weight that comes on the front of the device and see if I could get a better dynamic weight setup.  Turns out, I was able to easily adjust the weight, and the results were perfect.  Here's a picture of how I moved the weight up:

 

I had to fiddle with the weight a few times to get it just right, but it's worth spending a few minutes to get the proper balance as your videos will turn out A LOT better.  Anyway, check out the a few clips I put together using my lovely wife as a subject:

 

Next up, I'll be showing the home made cable cam I built.  Stay tuned.

 

-- Rob

Reader Comments (1)

This is the one I use. steadicam It take a little getting used to, but it definitely does make a difference.

June 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Elfers

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