Vloggers and YouTubers take a look at this phone stabilizer, the Smove.
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One of the biggest downfalls of using a smartphone to shoot video is how difficult it is to hold the phone steady. Shaky video sucks, but setting up a tripod for 1 minute of shooting doesn’t seem like a good use of time.
Enter, a phone stabilizer.
There are a few smartphone stabilizers on the market, the DJI Osmo Mobile and Osmo Pocket, the Karma Grip by GoPro and the Smove. The Smove and Osmo Mobile are 3-axis gimbals, meaning that the tilt, roll, and pan are controlled by a motor that’s built to hold the phone steady while you’re shooting, even if you’re walking while you roll.
I recently used the Smove Mobile on a family vacation to Disney World and thought you’d be interested to hear how it works and what I discovered.
The Smove is a successful Indiegogo campaign that raised over $2.2 million.
The latest Smove, the Smove Mobile is a great gadget for anyone who shoots video with their phone. In addition to being a stabilizer, the Smove has a built-in extension, think selfie-stick, that gives you an opportunity to shoot above a crowd and as you walk and talk for a video blog post. By using the extension, the viewer won’t notice you’re shooting yourself by yourself.
You can control the Smove with a toggle on the handle that controls the pitch, pan, and tilt.
The Smove also has a companion app you can use to control the camera. The app has face follow and object tracking and you can also zoom in and out by using another switch on the handle.
I used the Smove Mobile with both an iPhone XsPlus and a SAMSUNG Galaxy S9.
Before you start shooting with the Smove, you must set it up for each phone by finding a balance with the phone in the spring-clamp cradle. Once the phone doesn’t fall to one side or the other, turn on the Smove. It’ll beep and, if you balanced it well first, will hold the phone perfectly steady no matter if you move your arm side-to-side or lightly bounce the phone as you walk.
When I first walked into the park I shot video without the Smove and the video was what I expected: uneven, shaky and bouncy as I walked toward the castle. Then I placed the phone into the Smove for the same shot and it was as smooth as if it was an expensive camera and steady-cam. The extension stick was also helpful as I could hold the phone just high enough to capture the action over the crowd.
As a parent of a child playing sports or performing onstage, the Smove will be most useful when shooting video from the stands or audience. Since it keeps the camera steady you can zoom in without ruining the video. I can see people using these stabilizers rather than tripods.
If you shoot video through the Smove app you have access to face follow but you can still control the camera’s pitch and tilt if you’re using the stock camera app.
(I forgot Disney World has banned selfie-sticks. No one stopped me but be aware, if you do use a selfie stick extended, you might have it confiscated.)
It isn’t without a few shortcomings. It takes a little time to set up before you start shooting. The phone must be balanced before turning it on. If, after you’re up and running, something bumps the Smove, I found the stabilizer would spin out of control until I shut it down and started over.
The spring-clamps that hold the phone were difficult to use with my larger iPhone Xs Plus. Maybe it would have been a lot easier if the phone wasn’t in a case but there’s no way I’d put a phone in an extender or stabilizer without a case. I also suggest doing the set-up on a table or flat surface. I had some trouble attaching the phone at times and the phone fell out of my hands and hit the ground.
If you’re a video blogger you probably shoot everything with your phone so the Smove is a natural upgrade to your gear bag. Note though if you use an external microphone, you’ll have trouble getting it attached and balanced on the Smove. I tried using the Rode Smart Lav+ and it was having trouble staying attached without causing the phone and Smove to get out of balance.
The Smove is perfect for:
- Parents who want to shoot video of their kids playing sports or in school programs. The gimbal will hold the phone steady without needing a tripod.
- Vloggers or YouTubers who use their phone to shoot video but do not use an external microphone.
Smartphone cameras are just as good at shooting video as many expensive dedicated video cameras, but unless you use a tripod, your video is going to be so shaky no one will want to see it. A stabilizer such as the Smove Mobile will change the game for your YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or vlog videos.