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Consumer cameras are becoming more and more popular every year and we are starting to see some really great professional settings and features on some of the cameras at our local electronics stores. However, probably one of the most used and most important camera that is used on a daily basis to take photos and shoot videos is the one we have on our phones. Smartphones have ever increasing technology that goes into the camera which allows us to take photos and videos that weren’t even imaginable 10 years ago. So much of the industry has changed and as camera technology gets better, the homemade movies, student films, and even blockbuster favorites that people make will benefit from this newer and better camera technology.
One drawback that is commonly seen when shooting a homemade movie or even just some simple shots for a vacation montage is a shaky camera. Well luckily, Tiffen, has released the Steadicam Smoothee. Many motion pictures use Steadicams these days because of how maneuverable they are which allows the camera operator to get certain shots that cannot be done on a camera dolly. These Steadicam rigs are rather expensive and usually geared toward the professional world. Tiffen’s answer to this was to release a Steadicam that works with iPhone. It’s reasonably priced at around $150, it’s compact, and fairly simple to use. If you own a iPod Touch, or iPhone, Tiffen has different mounts at about $25 that you can buy to fit your device.
Now I’ve never used a Steadicam before and I thought this rig was just a bunch of rubbish designed to entice consumers, but I was proven wrong. It took me about 30 minutes to learn how to balance, adjust, and get the Smoothee to work how I wanted. I’m a fairly quick learner when it comes to these things so it may take someone else just a long if not maybe an hour to pick up and learn how the Smoothee works. The trick is to put very little pressure on the bottom plate of the Smoothee. I found it easier to use two hands to control where I wanted to point the camera. Once I was in control, there was a world of difference in how smooth the video was! I was able to pan from left to right easily, as well as even use my arm as a mini camera crane to get some professional looking shots.
We shot some video on Balboa Island with and without the Smoothie. Check it out for yourself and see the difference a Steadicam can make:
I feel the Smoothee is a great tool for nearly everyone looking to improve the quality of their movies. Even small productions could benefit from using this rig since it help gives the image that professional smooth look. With a little practice you can learn the different techniques on how to hold and use the Smoothee to make you video that much better. Tiffen even provides some free helpful video tutorials on how to use the Smoothee and they can be found at http://www.tiffen.com/steadicam_smoothee_U_tube.html
For more information on the Tiffen Steadicam Smoothee please visit http://www.tiffen.com/steadicam_smoothee_homepage1.html