What it is
The Circle Thing Camera Stabilizer is a hand-held device that smooths out hand shake and camera vibration to produce jitter-free video when using lightweight video platforms such as smart phones, GoPro, and HD camcorders. The Circle Thing has a unique design that allows quick and super-easy balancing even when switching between cameras. It is easily reconfigured for a variety of advanced effects including low shots, sweeps and boom shots, yet is easy to pack and bring along wherever you go!
- Set up and balance in minutes – guaranteed!*
- Easy to pack and carry
- Designed for lightweight video platforms: iPhone/smart phone, Flip, GoPro, HD camcorders, lightweight DSLR, etc.
- 3-way adjustment
- Industry standard 1/4-20 tripod style camera mount (use your own iPhone /smartphone/GoPro adapter or add ours).
* I'm so confident that Circle Thing will be easy for anyone to set up that I'm willing to guarantee it: if you cannot set up and balance your Circle Thing Camera Stabilizer in just a few minutes, you can return it for a full refund.
What it does
Like other camera stabilizers, the Circle Thing contains a counterweight which allows the mounted camera to be balanced about a low-friction pivot to which a handle is attached. The pivot isolates hand rotations (which cause camera shake) while the inertia of the balanced camera-counterweight system keeps the camera pointed in the same direction. A properly balanced Circle Thing Camera Stabilizer can be moved rapidly through an amazingly large range without disturbing the pointing of the camera. This produces a smooth flowing shot that has the appearance of the camera flying through space! Want shake-free videos on your smart phone? It's easy with Circle Thing!
Why is it a Circle Thing?
OK. You get it. It's called Circle Thing because it's round.
Why is that important?
First, the circular form means nothing sticking out to snag and throw the camera off balance. The symmetrical profile also reduces the destabilizing effect of wind which can spin your rig out of frame. When you're in tight quarters, smooth equipment translates to smooth shots.
Second, the circle itself is a counterweight with a “virtual” center of gravity at its center. The camera, pivot and counterweight lie along a straight line without interfering with hand position. Why this matters is explained in great detail in the Technical section. For now it's enough to know that this design makes the Circle Thing Camera Stabilizer amazingly easy to balance! And, you can quickly change from one camera or lens combination to another because re-balancing is a breeze!
Finally, the circular form expands the range of effects you can produce. The Circle Thing Camera Stabilizer can be reconfigured on the fly as a “Fig Rig” (halo rig). You get two camera rigs for the price of one! While not a true camera stabilizer, a “Fig Rig
” combines inertia, a two-handed grip, and central camera location to produce smoother videos and amazing special effects. With the optional boom kit the Circle Thing can also be used for stabilized crane shots and low-angle scenes to within inches of the ground.
Circle Thing can be configured to produce many different video effects and shooting positions. More details on how to use the various setups is available at CircleThing.com.
Ready to use in minutes -- guaranteed!
The real benefit of Circle Thing is that it is incredibly fast and easy to balance. This is the main reason I decided to develop my own design: others take too long to set up – some bloggers describe how it takes them days to set up their rigs! On many occasions I've wanted to switch cameras, so spending hours to balance properly is simply not an option. The Circle Thing Camera Stabilizer was designed from the start to set up and balance in minutes. After multiple design iterations, the Circle Thing Camera Stabilizer can now be balanced in just a few simple steps. In fact, setup is so quick it's guaranteed! If you find it takes more than a few minutes to balance your Circle Thing Camera Stabilizer, you can send it back for a full refund.
Does the world really need another camera stabilizer?
Does the world really need another camera stabilizer? In a word, yes! As a dad of three I am constantly behind the camera at numerous activities, from family gatherings and sports events to music and theater performances. I have a Samsung HD camera with 10X zoom (which I love!) but am often shooting at the maximum telephoto, which means maximum camera shake. Sometimes I need to be able to move around a lot, like when hiking steep mountain trails near our home or moving through a crowd. Other times, I'm hand-holding while recording a live performance from the audience. Have you ever tried to hold a camera steady for 20 minutes straight? I've tried monopods and other body-stabilized systems but have never been satisfied with the results. I only use lightweight cameras (the Samsung HD or my wife's iPhone), so have no need for a big, bulky DSLR-sized stabilizer. I wanted something compact and light enough to use in a theater seat or maneuver through a crowd, but still capable of a variety of shooting styles.
Will Circle Thing work with my camera?
The Circle Thing Camera Stabilizer is designed for the lightweight video cameras like iPhone, Flip, GoPro and the small HD camcorders. Specifically, it can accommodate any camera weighing less than one pound (454 grams) having an industry standard 1/4-20 thread tripod mounting hole. Smartphones and some cameras like GoPro do not have a tripod mounting hole -- adapters are available for mounting to Circle Thing. For an additional pledge, your reward will include your choice of GoPro tripod adapter or iStabilizer universal adapter which converts any phone to a tripod mount (even phones with bumpers and covers).
While not a complete list, the following are examples of cameras that can be used on the Circle Thing Camera Stabilizer:
- iPhone 3, 4, 4S, 5 (with tripod adapter)
- Smartphone (with tripod adapter)
- Samsung HD
- GoPro (with tripod adapter)
- Flip Video UltraHD
- Sony Handycam
- lightweight DSLR (1 pound or less)
(Based on published weight and specifications available from the camera manufacturers. Not all cameras listed have been tested on the Circle Thing at this time.)
A Circle Thing Version Just for You
Circle Thing Basic includes everything needed for shake-free hand-held movie making and halo rig:
- Camera stage with 3-axis positioning
- Camera mount (1/4-20 threaded stud)
- Ring counterweight
Circle Thing Deluxe adds two-handed grip capability. Includes everything in the Basic kit PLUS:
- A second grip
- Bridge plate for two-hand grip and offset tripod mounting
Circle Thing Complete adds jib (crane) shots and monopod capability. Includes everything in the Deluxe kit PLUS:
- Extendable Mono Pole which extends from 3 to 5.5 feet long for use as a monopod or crane/jib rig. (If you wish, the jib can be counterweighted using standard 1 inch ID weights and clamps available from Walmart, etc. -- sold separately).
- Adjustable angle mount
Circle Thing Limited Edition has everything in the Circle Thing Complete version PLUS some extra special additions:
- You choose the color!
- Autographed in contrasting color Sharpie by the creator, Peter Homer (sure to be a collector's dream some day!)
- Includes both camera adapters - no extra charge
How it works (simplified)
1) Mount your camera to the standard 1/4-20 threaded stage.
2) Balance by turning the knobs to move camera up/down, left/right, and front-to-back. It only takes a few minutes – really!
3) DONE. Ready to shoot your video!
How it works (technical)
A camera stabilizer works by using
inertia to resist camera rotation, which is accentuated in the
recorded scene as shakiness (side-to-side and/or up-down motions).
By isolating the handle from the camera using a freely rotating
gimbal, any rotation of the hand is not propagated to the camera. In
order to function properly the combined system of weights (masses)
defined by the camera and counterweights needs to be balanced exactly
at the center of rotation of the gimbal. This way the camera
continues to point in the same direction regardless of how the handle
Most camera stabilizers use a series of
adjustable counterweights to balance the camera. This can result in
a complex and fiddly process as moving one counterweight can throw
off the balance about another axis, requiring adjustment of another
counterweight, and so on. Circle Thing is different because it has a
fixed counterweight and instead moves the camera up-down,
front-to-back and side-to-side. Balancing Circle Thing is SIMPLE
because there is only one moving weight.
To work properly a camera stabilizer
must be balanced both statically (pendulum effect) & dynamically
(coupled motion). Static balance means that with the pivot (handle)
stationary, the camera will continue pointing in the same direction
no matter which way you point it. It will not have any tendency to
reorient on its own. Static balance is achieved by having the
combination of weights in equilibrium about the pivot – like
balancing a seesaw.
Dynamic balance is a bit harder to
understand but is equally important (there's a good explanation here
). It is possible to have static balance but still not be
dynamically balanced. When that is the case, any side-to-side or
up-down movement (translation) of the pivot will cause the system to
rotate. A simple example of this effect is illustrated by a pendulum
at rest.* If the pivot is suddenly moved to one side the pendulum
will start to swing. We do not want our camera to start swinging
when we move it sideways so it must be dynamically balanced in
addition to statically balanced. Achieving dynamic balance is why it
takes so long to get multi-counterweight stabilizers set up properly.
There are many counterweight settings that provide static balance
but that are not dynamically stable.
In contrast, Circle Thing is EASY to
balance dynamically because it has just two weights (the camera and
the counterweight) arranged with the pivot between them. When Circle
Thing is statically balanced the pivot will lie on a straight line
between the two weights, which is also dynamically balanced. Thus,
dynamic balance is achieved automatically
when you statically balance the system.
a pendulum is only statically balanced at one orientation angle –
when it is vertical.)
Originally I started out just trying to
create a better camera stabilizer for my own use. Along the way I
received a lot of interest and encouragement from others. Now I want
to share Circle Thing with the
world. Many people suggested that I launch a Kickstarter
campaign, so here we are!
What you see in the photos is the latest prototype of Circle Thing. Funds raised through this campaign and pre-orders will be used to complete the production design, source vendors, buy tooling, and get manufacturing up and running (and cover Kickstarter's and Amazon's shares). I'll also be expanding the web site CircleThing.com to create a place to share tips and videos made with Circle Thing.
Progress to date and future plans
I've already built several prototypes
and proven the basic design. All components for the prototypes were
made by hand. If successful, funds raised through this campaign will
be used to update the design for manufacturing, purchase fabrication
equipment to produce higher quality parts, and locate suppliers for
the purchased parts of Circle Thing. My goal is to source and
produce Circle Thing locally and US-made to the maximum extent
possible. With your help through this Kickstarter campaign I will be
able to manufacture Circle Thing at a reasonable price.
configuration and components: Completed!
and test prototypes: Completed!
models for 3D printed version: In Progress
CircleThing.com web site: Launched!
production design, evaluate manufacturing partners, source part
suppliers, and get quotes and turn around times: In progress
production run: This is where I need your help!
production run: If successful this will start within a few days of funding
Circle Things and other rewards! A.S.A.P. after funding
if we don't reach our goal
If we don't reach
our goal then we receive nothing, no rewards will be sent, and you
will not be charged. We must reach or exceed our goal or Circle Thing
will not be made.
if we go over our goal
That would be
great for everyone! I am asking for the bare minimum amount of money
needed to commercialize Circle Thing. If we exceed our goal then any
extra funds will be used to create an even better and more
comprehensive product. I may even be able to provide higher quality
rewards and give back more to you.
If the campaign
exceeds the minimum I will use any excess proceeds to further refine
the Circle Thing design. I have a few ideas for upgrading the design that I will post in an update if the campaign surpasses the $50,000 level.
$9+ One Small
Step – My everlasting gratitude, name recognition as a founding
supporter on our web site, and a very cool Circle Thing sticker that
will impress your friends.
$29+ One Giant
Leap – All of the above PLUS the Circle Thing T-shirt (men's and
women's sizes available). Show your support!
$199+ Inner Circle (limited 50) – be a beta tester! Receive a high quality 3D
printed version in time for holiday gift giving, participate in
product naming, and get a free upgrade to the production
version when available. Add $20 for iStabilizer universal iPhone/smartphone adapter. Add $10
for GoPro adapter.
$209+ The First Hundred (limited 100) – get
a discount and first-in-line priority for the
production version of Circle Thing Basic (add $40 for Circle Thing Deluxe, add $80 for Circle Thing Complete). Add $20 for iStabilizer
universal iPhone/smartphone adapter. Add $10 for GoPro
$219+ Circle Thing Basic – ring stabilizer with adjustable stage, gimbal and grip. Add $20 for iStabilizer universal
iPhone/smartphone adapter. Add $10 for GoPro adapter.
$259+ Circle Thing Deluxe – everything in Circle Thing Basic PLUS
a second handle and bridge kit for tripod mounting. Add $20 for iStabilizer universal
iPhone/smartphone adapter. Add $10 for GoPro adapter.
$299+ Circle Thing Complete – everything in Circle Thing Deluxe PLUS extendable Mono Pole and universal connector. Add $20 for iStabilizer
universal iPhone/smartphone adapter. Add $10 for GoPro adapter.
$799+ Circle Thing Limited Edition
(limited to 10) – everything in Circle Thing Complete, painted in color of your choice and signed
by the creator. Smartphone and GoPro adapters are included.
$4,999+ Circle Thing Angel (limited to
6) – all of the Circle Thing Limited Edition rewards (shipping is included) PLUS spend a day with the creator! Includes transportation from anywhere in the
continental US to Southwest Harbor, Maine; 2 nights accommodations; a tour of the “factory” and surrounding Acadia
National Park; and a Maine lobster dinner.