If you want to smooth out the jitters and jiggles from your GoPro action camera footage, check out the Curve GoPro camera stabilizer by Steadicam.
It had to happen right? It was just a matter of time. Made specifically for this hugely popular, tiny little action camera, your HERO now has its very own stabilizer, from none other than Steadicam no less. Using the same concepts and technology as their pricier models Steadicam makes stabilized video capture a breeze. Now, while you're not likely (and shouldn't, for safety's sake) to be handholding a POV camera while snowboarding down your favorite snow covered mountain, there's no reason why the footage of you passing by your buddy's HERO camera should look shaky.
The Curve comes ready for action. It's already assembled, has one extra counterbalance weight that can be stored in the handle and a couple of Steadicam decals for that added coolness factor. There is also a quick start guide which does a concise, yet effective job, of describing the device, proper setup, adjustment and operation techniques.
Parts and Pieces
The Curve's smooth as silk video capture, counterbalancing magic, is made possible with a lightweight, but solid, curved (of course) piece of aluminum plate with a threaded hole at its base. The balancing weight is a hollow aluminum cylinder that threads into the hole.
At the top of the curved aluminum plate is the mounting platform which is designed to accommodate any GoPro HERO with the GoPro LCD Touch BacPac or LCD BacPac. The platform rides on the narrow upper end of the Curve and features a knob that moves the platform forward and back for fine tuning the balance.
Integrated into the base of the platform is the gimbal, which allows smooth movement in all directions. The handle extends downward from the gimbal and has a removable top for storing the extra weight. The base of the handle is notched and contains a pin that locks into an indent in the base of the curve to form a solid hand grip for non-gimbal-stabilized handheld shooting, storage or portability. A sliding button on the handle releases the pin to return the device to full camera stabilizer mode.
We mounted our HERO3+ Black Edition POV camera and got to work. It's important to use the correct GoPro mount. As the device is designed with a particular setup in mind it's an easy matter to get set up quickly. Adjusting the aforementioned cylinders slightly to the left or right places the lens parallel to the ground on the horizontal plane. Tweaking the platform adjustment dial achieves the same thing on the vertical plane (up and down) so the lens is neither tipping back to shoot the sky nor tilting forward to get a view of the ground.
We immediately noticed the disappearance of the up and down, clumpity clump that happens while walking. Initially we had some challenges with sway and the camera wanting to spin in circles around our hand. This, of course, was due to operator error and a need for more practice. Once we learned to get our big clumsy hand to use a light touch, smooth video capture was achieved with relative ease.
Here are some tips: Once the camera stabilizer is balanced, practice a bit before shooting anything important. The quick start guide has some great operational tips. Grip the handle with your middle, ring and little fingers. With your index finger, thumb and a light touch on the round collar just above the gimbal, you can control sway and steer the camera with ease. You big, clumsy handed people, can grip with one hand and steer with the other, still with a light touch. Start by moving the camera stabilizer while standing in place, then, when you've got the hang of it, begin to slowly walk around, picking up the pace as you get a feel for how it works. Soon you'll be moving quickly over all sorts of terrain and up and down stairs with nice, smooth video capture to show for it.
If you want to shoot silky smooth video with your GoPro POV action camera, then you'll want to give the Steadicam Curve a try real soon.
Built-in mount compatible with HERO cameras
Lightweight, durable aluminum frame
Includes one extra weight
Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.5” x 4.5” x 1.6” (16.5cm x 11.4cm x 4.0cm)
Weight: 1/2lb. (227g)
- Solid build; aluminum construction
- Lightweight, mobile
- Easy setup and adjustment
- Gimbal tilt and rotation is very smooth
- Slight learning curve
- No other mounts
- May be too small for some hands
Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.