(The EasyGimbal is also compatible with the new GoPro 3+.)
(Check out the video above)
If you are shooting videos, be it sports, documentaries, weddings, narrative films, traveling movies, or even home movies; the EasyGimbal is what you have been waiting for!
Have you ever tried moving around with your camera while recording and were then disappointed by the shaky footage you got? Have you ever wished you could get smooth moving shots like you have seen in professionally produced movies without having to spend a small fortune?
Wish no more! With the EasyGimbal, shooting smooth moving shots is easy. The days of shaky and unwatchable handheld footage are over. The EasyGimbal removes the shakiness by stabilizing all three axes (Pan, Tilt, and Roll) with the help of brushless motors, sophisticated electronics, and a thoroughly thought out gimbal design. The results are stunning. You can freely move around with your camera and the EasyGimbal will keep it steady.
Design Goals and Process
We wanted to make a small and lightweight gimbal that works out of the box and is easy to use. Furthermore, we wanted it to feature a clean design, and most importantly, perform excellent not only while riding a bike or skateboard, but also during handheld use on foot. We designed the EasyGimbal for the GoPro Hero 3 because this camera offers a lot of performance in a very small form. For maximum stability, we decided to go with a 3-axis design over a simpler 2-axis design. Unlike 2-axis designs, having all 3 axes stabilized allows for optimal results even when walking around with the gimbal. We started cutting the first prototypes from sheet plastic, that we then heated over a stove to bend into our desired shape. We soon realized that we needed to find a better solution for prototyping, so we decided to switch to computer aided design and acquired a 3d printer. Being able to design parts and then print them within a few hours turned out to be invaluable.
It's been a long process, full of trial and error, with many ups and downs but it has been worth it. We are extremely happy with how the EasyGimbal has turned out.
How the EasyGimbal works
The GoPro Hero 3 mount on the EasyGimbal contains a sensor that can detect the orientation of the camera. This sensor is connected to sophisticated electronics that then use this orientation data to calculate which direction the camera has to be moved for it to become level. These calculations happen many times each second. The electronics use this data to precisely control the three motors on the gimbal. Each motor controls one of the three axes (Pan: left/right, Tilt: up/down, and Roll: lean left/lean right) and thereby keep the camera level and steady.
In other words, if you move around with your camera, your hand will not be completely still. The electronics detect the unwanted movements and compensate for them using the motors. As a result, the camera shake is cancelled out so you can achieve those professional smooth moving shots.
EasyGimbal vs traditional stabilizers
The EasyGimbal marks the beginning of a new generation of stabilizers that has many advantages over it's predecessor:
A traditional stabilizer uses gravity and the inertia of weights to keep the camera steady. This leads by nature to large, clumsy, and heavy set-ups, that need to be very precisely balanced in order to work properly. Even the smallest disturbances, like wind, can ruin your shot. A lot of practice is needed to operate them, or the results will be mediocre at best.
The EasyGimbal is the perfect solution! It is very compact and lightweight because it uses motors to keep the camera steady instead of weights. It is only a fraction of the size of traditional stabilizers which makes it ideal for traveling. Also, you can shoot for extended periods of time without having your arms get tired. You won't even need both your hands to operate it.
There is no balancing involved, you just attach your GoPro Hero 3 and your EasyGimbal is ready to go. Shooting on a windy beach, or on top of a mountain? No problem! The EasyGimbal doesn't mind a little wind blowing. It is simple to operate and will do all the hard work so you can concentrate on your subject. It's even possible to hand it from one operator to another, without introducing camera shake. This will allow you to get some "impossible shots", like the camera moving through a narrow opening in one smooth move.
The EasyGimbal runs off standard rechargeable DSLR style batteries that slide into the grip. We use electronics that compensate for the voltage drop as the battery gets depleted so it will perform equally well no matter if the battery is fully charged or almost empty. One fully charged battery will last for about a full hour and is very simple to switch out so downtime is reduced to a minimum.
Accelerated development in gimbal electronics over the last half year made this project possible. We use available gimbal electronics combined with other electronic components to power the EasyGimbal. The final version of the EasyGimbal will be a little bit more compact because we will be able to save some space by having the electronic components consolidated into a smaller footprint.
In designing the EasyGimbal, we didn't let manufacturing constraints hold us back. We wanted to create the best possible design without cutting any corners. Our design cannot be laser cut, but will need to be molded which is expensive. Molded parts can be real 3d objects which allows for complex shapes including cable channels. We decided that the optimal material for making the EasyGimbal would be a type of Polyurethane. It is very durable, lightweight, and allows for complex shapes to be produced. We have already test molded parts to ensure this process will satisfy our needs and prove feasibility. Also, we will be able to custom color the EasyGimbal by mixing the Polyurethane with a color dye. Besides the standard black, we will offer yellow, green, blue, and red.
Why we need your help
In order to get the manufacturing costs of a EasyGimbal to an affordable level, we need to mass produce it. Buying the necessary parts and manufacturing it in small quantities is not economical and makes producing the EasyGimbal prohibitively expensive. Unfortunately, we are not some big company that can spend thousands of dollars in advance to finance mass production, but this is where you come in. With your help, we can raise the money to turn the EasyGimbal into a reality. Your pre-orders will allow us to order all the necessary parts in large quantities (wholesale) which drives prices down. Also, the initial investment for the necessary tools to build the EasyGimbal and making molds will be spread over a large amount of orders. Without the help of crowd sourcing, this project could not be realized.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and support.
Key advantages of the EasyGimbal:
- 3-Axis stabilized, so you are not limited to using it only on skateboards, bicycles, or when standing still, you can actually walk around with it and get smooth footage.
- Clean design with cable channels so you have less unsightly cables hanging off your gimbal.
- Powered by standard DSLR style batteries. No clumsy RC-Lipos you have to fiddle with. Just slide a charged battery into the grip and you are ready to go.
- Gimbal electronics compensate for the voltage drop of the battery as it get depleted, so performance stays consistent.
- No adjustment of settings are necessary to make it run.
- No time-consuming balancing required, it works straight out of the box.
- Lightweight and Compact.
- Easy to operate.
August/September: Finalizing design details and prototype testing.
October: Preparing for mass production, creating molds, ordering of material and components.
November: Mass producing first units and make tweaks to possible problems.
December: Mass production including assembly.
January: Buffer for unexpected delays.
February: Shipping starts.
Can other cameras be used with the EasyGimbal?
- The EasyGimbal is exclusively made for the GoPro Hero 3, we currently have no plans to support other cameras.
Why the GoPro Hero 3?
- The GoPro is a powerful, light and compact camera, that is already owned by many. It was the perfect camera to build a small handheld gimbal for.
Does the EasyGimbal include the GoPro Hero 3 camera?
- No, it does not.
Will the EasyGimbal work out of the box or will I need to invest in other accessories?
- All you need is a GoPro Hero 3 camera, everything else is included.
[Disclaimer: The final design and specs of the EasyGimbal may change as we are committed to further improve it as the project moves along.]
Risks and challenges
All the major design challenges are solved, but the devil is in the details.
We are now in the process of ironing out small but important details, like tolerances, manufacturing procedures, making the switch from printing the parts to mass producing them, etc. There shouldn't be any major issues, as we have built many working prototypes and developed a mass production workflow.
- (40 days)