During the last couple of years, smartphone cameras became a real threat to an average consumer digital camera, in terms of price and quality. Since it’s quite common to have 8-megapixel camera in your phone, the latest innovations are now transferred to lens technology and built-in software.
Starting from iPhone 4S, Apple has introduced video stabilization technology, which was somewhat improved in iPhone 5. This actually made a visible difference in comparison to videos shot with iPhone 4, since now video is much more stabilized and fluid. After all, you can take 1080p HD video using your iPhone, which means that having a video stabilization technology is clearly very important. The burden of this task isn’t only on Apple, since in order to create some high quality videos you’ll probably need a quality tripod, and some other semi-professional home equipment.
A company called Tiffen is well known in movie industry, and produces really wide range of photo and video related products like filters, lights, steadicams, and editing software. Tiffen’s Smoothee steadicam can be used with iPhone 5, as well as any previous model, and is perfect for any aspiring home movie creator. This steadicam is able to create very fluid and stable looking videos, regardless of your movement, which is a great success.
Smoothee is a strange looking device. There’s a grip where you hold it while shooting a video, and on top of it there’s gyroscopic base with an adapter (holder) for your iPhone. You can also notice a curved pair of metallic bars, which are used to balance and level the camera. You can also easily attach Smoothee to any tripod, or even a tabletop stand.
Just like you would expect, if you don’t have any prior experience with steadicams, it will take some time to learn how to properly use them. Luckily, Tiffen provides plenty of video tutorials on their official website, which I warmly recommend to anyone who plans on buying Smoothee. This steadicam is not hard to use, but it a good idea to take some time and learn how it functions, so you can fully utilize it. After that, you should be able to take perfectly fluid videos, especially if you pair it with some kind of video stabilization software.
In general, Smoothee steadicam is currently one of the best on the market. It costs $169, but delivers professional grade results. It is easy to use, and can be utilized in many situations and at different angles. There are also some downsides, but they are tolerable, for most people. For example, if you use an iPhone case, you’ll need to remove it every time you mount your iPhone since otherwise you won’t be able to position it. Also, if you plan on dedicating serious time to capturing video, I would recommend buying a tripod, since it can be tiring to hold steadicam in your hand for longer periods of time.