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STABiLGO keeps your GoPro on an even keel

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June 17, 2013

The motorized, computerized STABiLGO GoPro stabilizing rig

The motorized, computerized STABiLGO GoPro stabilizing rig

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Looking for smoother hand-held video, but wanting something a little more high-tech than the SteadiCam Smoothee? Well, you might be interested in the STABiLGO. Designed for use with the GoPro HERO2 or HERO3, the gimbal-mounted stabilizing rig utilizes a gyroscopic sensor, a 32-bit high-speed microcontroller, and two electric motors to keep the camera horizontally and vertically level at all times.

Developed by New York City-based film-makers Michael Boczon and Christine Reilly, the carbon fiber-bodied STABiLGO weighs 23.5 oz (670 g) with the GoPro attached, and allows for 180 degrees of pitch movement and 270 degrees of roll. Users can hold it by its pistol grip-like ABS handle, or attach it to the end of a monopod (or folded-up tripod) to achieve simulated crane shots.

The STABiLGO utilizes a gyroscopic sensor, a 32-bit high-speed microcontroller, and two el...

When first mounting their HERO in the device, users have to set the center of gravity for their particular camera. From there, the gyro detects any horizontal or vertical movement, the CPU instantaneously processes that data, then activates either or both motors to compensate. As can be seen in the video at the bottom of the page, the result is a GoPro that appears to float in mid-air.

The rig is powered by an onboard 7.4-volt lithium-polymer battery, that is reportedly good for over 90 minutes of continuous GoPro-stabilizing action per charge.

Needless to say, the wire-festooned gadget pictured in this article is still a prototype. Boczon and Reilly plan on getting some demo units into the hands of professional videographers for feedback, after which they hope to begin commercial production of the device. They’re currently raising funds on Kickstarter, with a pledge of US$550 getting backers a STABiLGO of their own, when and if they’re ready to go. The estimated retail price is $699.

Sources: STABiLGO, Kickstarter

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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6 Comments

Very cool.

But with motor-controlled stability, I'd like to see a lot more control over what the camera is pointing at.

As is the problem w/ most hand-held stabilizers, you are giving up a level of control in order to get stability. (That's why my favorite stabilizers have always been the big heavy weights w/ no linkage... just a big suspended weight to reduce the shakes).

If anything, this design (as depicted in the video) is even more restricting in the sense that it doesn't seem to allow for panning left-to-right. It's basically saying: "I want my camera to point this direction, and only this direction, regardless of what my hand is doing". Which isn't always a desirable result.

W/ something like this motorized controller, I'd like to see:

1. A wireless device that the thing tracks, that the subject being filmed could place under their clothing.

and/or

2. An option to still retain all camera-movement, but simply slow-down the rate at which the camera reacts.

On a side note: I call "BS" in the comparison videos they show, and here is why:

I don't see any form of vertical "bounce" prevention w/ this product, yet when comparing side-by-side w/ the other skate-footage, it was as smooth as can be. Unless this thing was also suspended in space on the z-axis, you would still be getting "bumps".

I can see how this thing would be great at preventing "shakes", but bumps not so much.

Milton
17th June, 2013 @ 04:40 pm PDT

Does not seems to work particularly well as the footage is shaky, most likely due to cheap and cogging motors and what is much more serious it violates US patent of Adam Sidman (Movi gimbal of freeflightsystems as well violates the same patent) see the patent at www.google.com/patents/US8179078 It will be way too risky to back it at Kicstarter unless they have valid license from patent owner

PeterAkacs
18th June, 2013 @ 04:32 am PDT

Seems odd that the two presenters on the video are not very enthusiastic and excited when they are asking subscribers to be enthusiastic. I also agree with Milton that the device can only supply axial stability and no protection to bumps. $699 is way too expensive for what it does, divide the price by 10 then come back to me.

Light_Lab
18th June, 2013 @ 04:46 am PDT

Ditto to all the comments above. Plus, how can you possilby believe people will pay 3x the price of The Smoothie for electonics that do nothing more than gravity?

I would also expect, at this pricepoint, to have - in addition to Milton's wireless 'tracking device' - the ability to monitor from a mobile device the movements, without / or in-addition-to the need for tracking point.

I would want this unit to work with more than just GoPro units as well. I'm not going to shell out cash for 'designer stabilizers' for various products. Not necessarily a 'one-size-fits-all', but it should work within a product weight/size range. Not just product name range.

Solve the issues raised, lower the cost to the $200-250 range and you will have a market to sell to. Don't... well, there's a long-ling of history, filled with good ideas that didn't work out you'll be added to.

net500cg
18th June, 2013 @ 12:43 pm PDT

I built something similar in two days using 3 servos, a Playstation Move controller and an Arduino. It worked but there was a lot of latency because the communication was done over bluetooth. But I might just make a better one some day.

Basically what I am saying is that you can make one for yourself for a tenth of the price. Just make sure to keep the latency at a minimum.

mihafeus
18th June, 2013 @ 01:06 pm PDT

Nice idea, but have a quick look at what aerial videographers have come up with, and you might ask why this project/product is relatively expensive while having less features than other solutions that you can already buy.

The video also doesn't mention any remote pan & tilt capabilities, which are essential for many applications. Maybe that's in the pipeline already, I cannot imagine that they would omit such a feature.

BTW, where did they get the GoPro "Black That Actually Works Edition" ?? ;-)

Atlantide
19th June, 2013 @ 03:17 am PDT
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