Steady Shot Bot: Hyperlapse + Steadycam + Automation Robot
A multi-function 4-axis steadycam robot for manual or automated hyper lapse, steadycam or motion film camera shots.
As a hobbyist, I recently found myself wanting to do more with my photography. Technology had reached a point where some very interesting specialized techniques like steadycam filming, time lapse and hyper lapse were within reach, tools were becoming more prevalent, as such, I pursued interests in the fields of Cinematography, HDR, Time lapse and Hyper lapse and their related tools.
Current Tools Are Limited or Pricey
I quickly found that although there are a variety of options and manufacturers for sliders, steadycams, motion controllers, they were very specialized and expensive for an average consumer. worse than that, few if any provide multi-purpose functionality.
As I embarked into these fields, I was hit with the hefty cost associated to specialty equipment. An expensive "slider", "motion control device" (that was very limited in its movement), a "steadycam gimbal". The list goes on and on and the prices compiled fast.
It occurred to me that there should be a tool for consumers that could provide multiple capabilities - advanced capabilities generally reserved for high-end studios - in a single platform. A useful multi-function piece of equipment that is easy to use that provides these high-end features, let's your creativity flow without major investment in multiple niche tools. A tool that can change with your interests and be what you need while encouraging your professional growth.
Who Is It For?
Steady Shot Bot is designed for people into photography or film. Below are a few specific user types that it's particularly well suited for.
Film Students: Get studio capability on a students budget. Steady Shot Bot is a great tool to allow you to shoot high quality cinematic shots with any standard digital camera. You'll love the steadycam Kit and the impact it has on the quality of your shots and resulting film quality will make you shine!
Photographers: Ready to offer specialized techniques such as hyper lapse ("moving time lapse") or a 3-axis stabilized video? With Steady Shot Bot you'll have one of the most capable tools. With tracking and remote modes of operation you can capture precise wedding, landscape video that comes alive. You'll also benefit from great automated shots with the intervalometer and 4-axis motion control to take your business to the next level. offering superior pan, tilt, roll shots and beautiful time lapse sequences. When you're ready, grab either the Motion or Pro Kit and you'll be up for any challenge.
Marketing: Sell real-state fast by capturing beautiful, steady walk through that separates you from the market or Capture an enticing automotive walk-around that stands out from the competition with compelling visuals that drive interest. The Steadycam kit will give you everything you need to capture great marketing videos. The Motion Kit is best if you need to capture product review panning shots or video log intros that take your work to the next level.
Casual Photographer: So you're a capable photographer and a pro at Diy projects, you want to build a motion control system that you can own and modify to your liking. If you're okay with assembling it yourself following clear and comprehensive instructions grabbing the Diy Kit is best for you. Save money on the price of the kit then hack it to your hearts content. It's all good, we're open hardware!
Steady Shot Bot was designed to operate in multiple ways to provide broad capability.
Time Lapse / Hyper Lapse
When you want to perform a Hyper lapse (a moving Time Lapse) it can be configured like the illustration below which is geared to be mounted on a slider or tripod to perform automated 4-axis movements over a period of time.
With the built in intervalometer you can automatically control your camera shutter over IR or a wired connection. the device also performs bulb ramping while allows you to take photographs over a period when the light is changing without having to adjust your camera settings. it can also has some specialized movement and mirror lockup mode that help make it even more stable for sensitive shots.
When you want smooth and steady video shots it can be configured like the illustration below which is geared to be carried around as a steadycam .
Steady Shot Bot captures beautiful, steady shots using its 3-axis stabilized controller and light compact design. It's comfortable to hold and supports several usage scenarios including steadycam , Mono-pod, Hyper lapse with full Remote Control. The Stabilization supports a few modes of operation for gimbal-based control. The camera can follow the bot movement. As you carry the bot around the camera will track movements to smoothly in the bot's movement and always face it's designated front. The bot can also lock and track a position to keep the subject in frame while you navigate a complex path, for example while capturing a time/hyper lapse of a mountain face while hiking up a trail. For more dynamic needs, the bot can be remotely controlled by a director controlling the shot while another person carries the steadycam .
Tracking or Product Shots
A tracking shot can include smooth movements forward, backward, along the side of the subject, or on a curve.. Steady Shot Bot captures beautiful, steady, tracking shots using its 3-axis stabilized controller and built in belt drive system. Up to eight presets can be defined that identify Start and End positions in 4-axis along with specific trigger inputs to automate the capture. Like the steadycam , Tracking Shots can follow your path of movement while moving along a linear track as well as performing a planned camera movement in while compensating for rail movement. a prime example would be performing a moving time lapse on a boat or suspended cable that is swaying while the stabilization compensates for the boat/cable movement automatically. Additionally, giving you real-time control of the field of view, the user can have complete control of the gimbal camera movement via a wireless remote control.
The Steady Shot Bot features a remote control unit that is used to compliment the bot functionality by configuring preset positions remotely as well as full remote camera control when in steadycam / freestyle mode.
An All-In-One Tool
The Steady Shot Bot. Designed as a multi purpose 3-axis stabilized consumer solution, Steady Shot Bot does all of the above. Seriously, it's the photo tool that you've been waiting for! Below are various configurations of the core Steady Shot Bot demonstrating its multi-purpose flexibility. Built upon an intelligent bot base, it is capable of dead-silent 3-axis stabilization, motorized Time lapse and Tracking Shots as well as dynamic freestyle steadycam and auto balancing mono pod capabilities. Steady Shot Bot is here to inspire your creativity,
Steady Shot Bot will be available in 4 colors including Lime (as seen), Blue, Red and Black. Backers will be able to select their desired color once the funding campaign is complete.
Demonstrated stabilization while mounted on a Mono pod.
steadycam real estate walk-through with mirror demonstration of stabilization.
Walking around the block with a mono pod and stabilized gimbal in follow mode provides a clean steady hyper lapse with very little effort.
Jogging through the park back country looks clean when in steadycam mode.
Shooting a time lapse sequence in the Valley of Fire state park.
The Slider configuration used to shoot the above time lapse.
Simple demonstration of a tracking movement on a slider.
A lot of work has gone into making Steady Shot Bot the product it is. We have gone through multiple rounds of development to establish and prove out the current design. Below is a small collection of parts that we're a result of that process.
When possible, we employed the use of 3D Printers for rapid development and evolution of the design. For Diy users, all of the open source models are able to be printed on a standard FDM 3D printer.
- DIMENSIONS: Height: 12" Width: 11" Depth: 10"
- CAPACITIES: Camera sled: 6 lbs* Bot weight: 3 lbs* I/O 2-USB mini - Bot Controller/3-axis Controller (Firmware / Configuration) 1-Bluetooth - wireless controller (API) Infrared - camera focus/shutter control 1/8" stereo jack - focus/shutter trigger 1/8" stereo jack - external trigger (motion, sound activation)
- INTERFACE: 3"x2" Color TFT Resistive Touch screen 1-RGB status light 1-Yellow/Red Focus/Shutter light on camera tray
- SENSORS : Dual 3-axis Accelerometer/Gyroscope - Stabilization Single 3-axis Magnetometer - Compass/Direction
- DRIVE SYSTEM: XL Belt 1/5 tooth spacing Auto-Feed belt drive system Slider Pulling Strength: 10 Lbs @ 60 deg.*
- BATTERY LIFE: Internal: 8 hours* External Bat-Pack: +4 hours*
- MOTION: Gimbal Speed: 5 to 45 degrees /sec (configurable) Bot Speed: 1 to 5"/sec (configurable) active 3-axis stabilization Waypoint-based planner Real time and lapsed movement logarithmic movement easing.
- MATERIAL: Bot: ABS Plastic Gimbal: High Impact Poly Styrene, Carbon Fiber
- INTERVALOMETER: Wired and IR trigger (focus/shutter) Shutter Bulb-Ramping Linear/logarithmic Auto Bulb-Ramp with Ambient light Sensing
*As Steady Shot Bot is being finalized specifications are subject to change.
The Project Timeline
Below is a high-level breakdown of the major activities remaining in bringing Steady Shot Bot through manufacturing.. The red line on the timeline represents our progress to date and the yellow task/flag represents this campaign.
Remaining activities include Finalizing the production design, FCC certification (note: we have used all pre-certified components in our design to minimize this process), Development of Production Tooling, Manufacturing Assembly Procedures and Packaging. We have buffered 30% on all activities to account for any contingencies while ensuring the best chances of meeting all milestones and look forward to getting started on this critical stretch of the journey we hope you're as excited as us!.
This kit is for the individual that is comfortable with the assembly of hardware and electrical components. the Diy open hardware kit comes complete with all parts to build the main unit. Full detailed assembly instructions are provided online along with community support to help you through the process. Circuit boards are fully assembled but require full wiring and mechanical assembly to build the final assembly. (Advanced)
This kit is for photographers that want to benefit from 4-axis motion control, stabilization and an intervalometer. take on the most challenging time-lapse and hyper-lapse on a slider, tripod or mono-pod. With an advanced intervalometer, take on holy-grail and astrophotography or try your hand at complex automated or remote controlled pan shots and take you skills to the next level.
This kit is for cinematographers looking for an affordable multi-function steadycam setup that will get you going fast with everything you need to shoot and monitor quality steady video as your primary function. Remotely control the gimbal or leverage tracking mode to capture beautiful cinematic shots.
This kit is for photographer that wants the full capability that Steady Shot Bot has to offer. Full steadycam Setup, Full Motion Control Setup, Hard Travel Case, a Motion Sensor trigger and an additional external battery. This is the full Steady Shot Bot Experience!
Steady Shot Bot is a complex piece of hardware with lots of integrated parts, as such Tooling for injection molding accounts for 41% of funding expenses, all electronics and hardware account for another 32%. Specialized manufacturing assembly of the technical sub assemblies account for 15%, remaining amount is distributed across Development (finalization of production models /design), Software (Development of final software functionality) and Packaging (a quality package that will protect SteadyShot Bot during shipping)
Special Thanks To
Risks and challenges
We've done a considerable amount of research in the industry to plan for challenges other projects have faced coming to market. We benefit by standing on the learnings of many other teams and prepared for the challenges ahead.
We have taken the time to test our design and challenge it in areas to expose it's vulnerabilities and we actively engage industry experts for feedback. We're confident that you'll enjoy using Steady Shot Bot as it is today, while we are finalizing production design, we are tempering our affinity to perfect with a pragmatic sensibility to get you a solid tool you'll love using. We have a clear scope and solid expectations for production quality.
We have dedicated a great deal of time and expense to bring the Steady Shot Bot project online. I have worked to establish a gold standard for assembly and production of the Steady Shot Bot units. As we continue to work to define strict guidelines to ensure the highest quality of craftsmanship in every Steady Shot Bot we build. We have implemented buffers and margins to ensure that we can deliver Steady Shot Bot units according to our schedule.
In many cases, we've used "commercial, off the shelf" products for many of Steady Shot Bot's electronic components and subsystems. This significantly reduces risk in design, development, production and operation. The gimbal stabilizer leverages the highly proven 32bit SimpleBGC gimbal controller to ensure we have solid functionality you can depend on.
We have done a great deal of research and planning to carefully select our vendors and production facilities and have redundancy to ensure adequate resources to drive final production volume but plan to partner with a well established product development firm to overcome any unforeseen obstacles through the manufacturing process.
All of the components used in Steady Shot Bot are pre-certified however we are required to obtain FCC certification on the final electrical design, there is a possibility that this may require some final reworks prior to production of the electronic components but we do not anticipate significant impact to the timeline by this activity as it is running parallel with our manufacturing process.
Although, events can happen that are out of our control, such as postal strikes and natural disasters. We have identified multiple supply channels to enable us to adhere to our planned shipping date. International shipments could be affected by the local customs regulations and schedules.
We pledge to provide good communication to all of our backers, surfacing project information as we have it. including milestone updates related to progress of timeline and any course corrections related to manufacturing or part procurement.Our backers will have 24/7 access to a dedicated section on our website where they can view videos, updates and strategies combined with our scheduled backer progress reports. This page section will be consistently updated until the last Kickstarter Steady Shot Bot is delivered.
We plan to maintain a high standard of support but please beware that we do not have a dedicated support staff. As such, please be sure to refer to the FAQ and Kickstarter support center of our site. If your question isn’t answered by any of these venues, then by all means ask. We will be sure to provide an answer as soon as possible and incorporate it into these areas to share this information with all project backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)