The enemy of all handheld gimbals is unwanted movement on the “Z” or “4th axis”. The Steadicam Steadimate-S promises to solve this for good.
The Steadicam Steadimate-S
The Steadicam Steadimate-S is a gimbal adapter kit to mount a handheld gimbal on an Aero 15 arm with the Aero vest, or the Aero 30 arm with the Zephyr vest. This turns your handheld gimbal into a fully isolated body worn stabilizer, greatly reducing z-axis movement and enabling more natural looking pan movements. Not only does it allow more precise control, it relieves the load from your arms, reducing fatigue and extending operating time.
Everyone who uses a handheld gimbal of any kind, of any brand, whether it’s for smartphone, mirrorless, DSLR or larger, faces this issue. This is the one axis a handheld gimbal can’t compensate for on its own.
For most, the solution involves the “Ninja Walk”, which is difficult at best, and not entirely effective. Even employing this mythical mode of walking, most of the shots you see are recorded at high frame rates and slowed down in post.
The solution is to isolate the gimbal entirely from the source of this unwanted movement (your body), and that requires one or more sprung and dampened articulated arms.
The Steadimate-S promises some important advantages.
- Affordably converts handheld motorized gimbals into body worn stabilizers
- Stabilizer arm greatly reduces the common bouncing image effect on the z-axis while walking with handheld gimbals
- Execute more natural-looking manual camera pan movements
- Wide vertical range of motion, including “low mode”
- Greatly reduce operator fatigue and increase operating time by translating system weight to the hips through spring arm and vest
Hand Held 4th Axis Stabilizers
There are a few hand held mechanical 4th axis stabilizers on the market, and they do seem to work, to varying degrees depending on the design, quality and how well the spring tension and dampening are tuned. These can be in the form of single handle, single arm, or dual handle, single arm, or dual handle, dual arm designs.
However, the best solution has been around long before electronic gimbals were even an idea.
The Steadicam Advantage
Before the motorized gimbal revolution, the Steadicam was (and still is) the go to prized solution for truly spectacular floating camera movement in sports, television and film. A highly specialized and practised skill set, together with the high cost of entry meant the Steadicam was not for everyone.
Still, the Steadicam is superior to the now common motorized gimbal in many ways, and the Steadimate-S combination of a body worn, mechanical spring arm with an electronic motorized gimbal could bring out the best of both technologies.
- SDMS-GIM Dimensions:
- Gimbal Collar/Yoke: 10.5” L x 5.1” W x 1.2” @ 1lb
- Weighted Base: 9.7” L x 3.9” W x 1.5” H @ 5.7lbs (all weights attached)
- Arm Capacity:
- Steadicam A15 Kit: 15lb / 6.8kg
- Steadicam A30 Kit: 30lb / 13.6kg
- Handheld motorized gimbals compatibility:
- DJI Ronin-S
- Zhiyun Crane 2
- Compatible with Ø½” stabilizer arm posts
- Weighted base utilizes Ø15mm x 60mm rods
- ¼-20 accessory mounting holes:
- Gimbal Collar/Yoke handle
- Weighted base clamp knob
- Weighted base rod ends
The pricing for the Steadimate-S depends on exactly what you need. If you already own an A15 arm and Aero 15 vest, or an A30 arm and Zephyr vest, then you only need the Steadimate-S gimbal and base, at $295. If you need a complete kit that includes a vest and arm, you can choose between the Aero 15 kit at $995, or the Aero 30 kit at $2,495.
The difference between the A15 kit and A30 kit is the payload capacity. The A15 arm and Aero 15 vest will accommodate up to 6.8kg, and the A30 arm and Zephyr vest supports up to 13.6kg.
Steadicam have said the Steadimate-S should be available from August.
While this will be considered a premium solution, it is likely to be significantly more effective than handheld mechanical 4th axis stabilizers bringing many operational advantages of a traditional steadicam.
Is this a tempting option for you? Let us know what you think in the comments.