It’s kind of funny ... no sooner does technology allow high-definition video cameras to be shrunk to the size of a smartphone, than people start adding stabilizing rigs – essentially making the cameras bigger – in order to smooth out the shakes in hand-held footage. One of the latest such devices is the Circle Thing, which takes a unique approach to steadying up small video cameras.
Most stabilizers, such as the Steadicam Smoothee and its various imitators, incorporate a counter-weighted arm that curves down below the camera and the gimbal-mounted handle. On the Circle Thing, however, that arm is replaced with a counter-weighted hoop. According to its inventor, mechanical and aerospace engineer Peter Homer, this design offers several advantages.
First of all, because the counterweight, handle pivot and camera are all aligned, it is reportedly much easier to set the balance. On some other systems, the positions of the camera and the counterweight must be set just right, in order to keep the rig from tilting forward, backward, or to either side.
Its flat, curved profile is also said to make it less likely to get snagged on things while the user is walking, or to get caught and spun by the wind.
Finally, it can be used in several different configurations. One of these is the steering wheel-like “Fig Rig” setup, where the camera is mounted inside of the hoop, which the user holds onto either side of. This configuration allows for some stability, but is intended more for incorporating swooping, wide movements into shots.
Other configurations are also possible, including one in which the device can be mounted on the end of an optional boom pole, for getting smooth crane-like footage.
Homer is currently raising production funds for the Circle Thing, on Kickstarter. A pledge of at least US$209 will get you a basic version of the rig, when and if the funding goal is met and manufacturing commences.
More information is available in the pitch video below.
Source: Circle Thing