SteadyWheel takes a circular approach to stabilizing video
By Ben Coxworth
February 20, 2013
As can be seen by the increasing number of stabilizing rigs available for DSLRs and small camcorders, people don’t like shaky hand-held video. Most of those rigs are inspired by the Steadicam Smoothee, utilizing a counter-weighted arm that extends below the gimbal-mounted camera. It’s an effective set-up, but one that’s also kind of fiddly. Fabricator and machinist Robert Stone has created something much more simple, in the form of the SteadyWheel.
The ABS-bodied device looks like a steering wheel, with a mounting point for the user’s camera located on a beam that goes from one side to the other. A series of stainless steel weights are strategically embedded around the outside of the wheel. By moving much of its mass to the edges in this way, the wheel’s moment of inertia is increased – this means that it becomes more resistant to rotational acceleration, such as might be caused by a shaky-handed cameraperson.
Despite its steel weights, the rig weighs in at a fairly reasonable 1.6 pounds (726 grams).
Additionally, the SteadyWheel acts as what professional cinematographers would call a “Fig Rig” – this allows users to get a wide, stable grip on the camera, and to be able to incorporate swooping, twisting movements into their shots.
Stone is currently raising productions funds for his product, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$50 will get you a SteadyWheel of your own, when and if they’re ready to go. Hopefully the campaign will go better than that of the Circle Thing, another circular camera stabilizer that recently failed to meet its funding goal.
Footage shot using the SteadyWheel can be seen in the pitch video below.