If you have ever shot standard handheld video using a GoPro HERO, you know how hard it can be. Sure, the GoPro is meant to be used to capture live action, and there are many mounts that you can use to do so, mounts for helmets, surfboards, and handlebars, as well as car mounts. But what if you want to use your GoPro to film like you were making a Hollywood movie?
Well, when the masters of Hollywood films want to shoot smooth footage, they rely on a camera stabilizing mount for motion picture cameras. This device isolates the movement of the camera from the operator even when moving over an uneven surface, giving the film a steady, even motion.
The original device that revolutionized the film industry was the Steadicam. Now, with the introduction of Steadicam CURVE for GoPro Cameras, Tiffen has produced a product that can give the same movement isolation for your GoPro HERO and allow you to give your videos that same steady, even motion.
The Steadicam Curve is small and comes in one piece. The main unit contains a gimbal handle that rotates through several directional planes. It has a curved, weighted, counterbalanced frame that works to keep the unit balanced. This does require that you also have the GoPro LCD BacPac, the LCD Touch BackPac, or a Curve Weight Kit, which is sold separately.
Different than the Steadicam Smoothee, the Steadicam Curve is a much more compact product and in many ways easier to use. Unlike the Smoothee which worked with the iPhone as well as the GoPro, the Curve works only with the GoPro camera line.
Once you place the camera on the mount, your goal is to get it level. This comes from a combination of the angle position of the camera on the base mount, the forward/backward adjustment screw on the back of the mount, and the right/left counterbalance at the base of the unit. You also get some counterweights that can be added to the base of the unit for additional control.
Once you get everything in balance, you have to get the hang of working with the sway – the floating movement that the Steadicam Curve wants to do as you move. There are several ways to try to do this. The one that seemed to work best for me is a light touch of the thumb and index finger to the area where the gimbal handle mounts, while using the bottom three fingers to hold on to the handle. You just have to play with it to get the hang of it.
Once you do, it becomes a matter of learning how to tilt and pan the unit to accommodate the terrain you’re crossing. The other issue is coping with the wind, since that can have a big effect on the unit as a whole. This can be counteracted through finger pressure on the base of the Smoothee. Below is a walk-through-the-park test using very basic pressure.
I found that the Steadicam Curve is a real winner if you want to shoot video with your GoPro using a steady mount. And while it does work miracles with the general smoothness of the video footage, it will still take practice to really get it down – especially with strong winds or lots of movement on your part. But it really does work very well.
The Steadicam Curve is priced at $99.95 USD and comes in four colors: black, red, blue, and silver. If you want to shoot much more stable video with your GoPro in handheld situations then a Steadicam CURVE will get you there. With a little practice, you will be able to shoot anything at a much more professional level. This is why I highly recommend the Steadicam Curve.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00GGM6J56]