The best camcorder is without doubt the one that you have with you at the time, and for most of us that means our smartphone. The iPhone has a great built-in video camera and can capture superb footage. However, the key to a great movie is keeping the motion smooth and eliminating camera shake, and that’s where the Steadicam Smoothee can help out.
The Steadicam revolutionised Hollywood when it first appeared in the 1970’s. Prior to its introduction, directors had two options for capturing scenes where the camera moves during the shot, known as tracking shots. They could use a camera dolly, an elaborate platform mounted on a track, which was time consuming to set up and impractical in many situations. Alternatively the camera operator could hold the camera in his hands. This allowed greater speed and flexibility, but even the most skilled operator couldn't prevent the camera from shaking entirely. Hand-held footage was therefore only considered suitable for documentaries, news and live action. It was an expensive way of capturing dramatic sequences, and meant that a directors’ options were limited.
In 1975 a cameraman called Garrett Brown invented the Steadicam, which isolated the camera from the operators movement to deliver a smooth shot, even when moving quickly over an uneven surface. Following extensive use in high profile movies such as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Rocky – it was deployed to capture Sylvester Stallone’s Philadelphia street training and jogging sequences, culminating in the iconic run up the steps to the city’s Art Museum. Garrett Brown himself was the camera operator for the sequence, and the Steadicam has been a mainstay of film and tv production ever since, notably at sporting events, when you can often see the cameraman with his familiar camera and harness running up and down the touchline.
The key to the success of the Steadicam was the combination of the ultra-low friction gimbal and the pendulum-like counter balance, which helped to keep the camera motion smooth. Over the years the design has been refined and a series of ever smaller versions have been introduced, proving an instant hit with independent film-makers.
The brilliant news is that the Steadicam is now available as an accessory for the iPhone, so you can capture scenes on the move, whilst giving your footage the same smooth looks as it’s $60,000 bigger brother.
The Steadicam Smoothee can transform your iPhone into a creative visual weapon, and is an excellent investment for those who may not have the steadiest of hands or simply want to their iPhone into a fully-fledged action video camera. The Steadicam Smoothee let’s you to capture priceless moments in a fluid movement, is quick and easy to setup and is great for both avid videographers and beginners alike. If you've ever dreamed of becoming a Hollywood movie director, this is the next best thing, all you need is the directors chair. The Smoothee lets you go wherever the scene takes you; up and down steps, indoors and outside, through crowds, almost anywhere, with precise, elegant control and ease.
The quick release mount means you can instantly swap camera connections between your Smoothee and any tripod, and also serves as a tabletop stand. The comfortable ergonomic hand-grip folds up securely when not in use, and the package includes a mount, user guide and belt clip.
The Smoothee makes a brilliant companion to any iPhone, and is ideal for whole host of applications:
• Home movies where you want to follow people or pets around
• Movie-making including action sequences
• Capturing your holiday or key lifestage events
• Visits to museums and exhibitions
• For estate agents wanting to add a new dimension to their sales material
The Steadicam Smoothee is designed for the iPhone 4 and 4S and the GoPro Hero 2 and 3, you get adapters for both the iPhone and the GoPro's in the box. Whilst the recommended retail price is £170, you can start your video adventure for just £99 with Park Cameras.