Monopods are not normally associated with smooth dynamic camera movements like what can be achieved with a Steadicam, wheeled dolly, or crane, but 2013 looks like the year to break that mold. In this article, i''ll list a few Monopods that are trying to take stabilizing video along with creative movements to the next level. Let's hear your thoughts in the comments section.
First up is a the new Steadicam Solo. A familiar Steadicam setup that doubles as a full sized monopod. The folding sled moves the counterweights out of the way when you need to operate the system from a stationary point. The handle can be used with or without an optional Steadicam Vest when you have to fly for long periods of time.
Prior to the Steadicam Solo, a similar Monopod / Steadycam has already been available (seen above) sometimes called the 'Speedly'. This one offers a few interesting additions.
Besides transforming quickly between a Video Stabilizer and a Monopod, the gimbal can be relocated along the post and can be used as a makeshift crane/jib (probably not a very good one). The bottom weights can be swapped for a monitor, and there are quick release adapters at the post to throw on various other stabilizers without compromising the balance of your setup. You can find the Speedly Monopod / Stabilizer via eBay (here).
Speedly Multi-Function Monopod Video Stabilizer
Another new product that attempts to offer the stability of a Monopod with the convenience of a Stabilizer is the latest Wondlan Magic II. It looks like your basic hand held stabilizer, and offers many features similar to the Speedly. One main difference is the adjustable Tilt Head. This is a very simple, yet clever design that many stabilizers seem to miss out on.
Most Steadicams only offer a level horizon, but many shots require a different angle i.e. looking up, looking down, or just managing the headroom. It's advertised to work like a make-shift crane, provides a quick release system at the post to maintain balance position when the camera is remounted, and quick release adapters to be used on other mounts. The post can also be used as a handle. You can find the new Wondlan Magic II Stabilizers online (Click Here).
Wondlan Magic II Stabilizer Monopod
Next up is Cinematics' Scorpion King Monopod / Dolly. Adding wheels to monopods has been done before, but they've come up with a creative way of using one wheel on the back to control steering. I'm sure the other uses such as a shoulder support may help to stabilize footage, but looks fairly awkward in use. You can see more images of the Cinematics Scorpion Monopod (here)
There's also the Steddiepod, available from B&H. Combination stabiliser, tripod, monopod, etc.
You forgot to mention the Stealthy from Varizoom.
I purchased two of them for a shoot two weekends ago when they were at the $300 introductory price.
Have yet to set up the stabilizer, but in regards to the rest of the features, it is very solid.
@nitsan - I think they were trying to not use the sliding plate as a 'quick release' because when sliding it back in, the balance will be thrown off. By doing it from the post, the camera can be reattached without changing the center of balance.
I love the idea of these but wish they'd figure out a way to incorporate a fluid head as well so you could actually use the monopod function. Maybe with a head that would snap back to stabilizer mode.
that super tall quick release is a bit useless, that's what a quick release plate is for.
but yeah interesting stuff, the last one seems a bit useless unless you want a sideways shakey angled shot. lol
A review/comparison of these different Monopod/Stabilizers would be nice. I trust your judgment with stabilizers, so I would be curious to know what you think of these in the real world?
I really like the idea, but I would need your critical & honest review before I bought any of these.
I've been flying with a flycam nano dslr but want to upgrade to something else. I like multi-functional, light weight, portable products but for a steadicam the main thing is how stable it flies. But that depends on several factors from what I have experienced.
1) More weight is better when flying but up to a point before it becomes to heavy for hand held flying. For heavier setups a vest and arm are needed I guess but then that is more stuff to buy and carry around with you.
2) The wider the lens the less wobbly the footage will look as the wide angle hides the wobbling. And also with wide angle you have more footage in focus. But it is also nice to have some steadicam shots that give that shallow depth of field look but its harder to maintain focus for those kind of shots. Want to know how to pull off steadicam shots with shallow depth of field. But then there is also the issue of changing lenses or focal lengths to get wide and telephoto steadicam cam shots and then also re-balancing the steadicam for those changes.
3) And of course there is also how well you are able to balance the steadicam and how you move around with it that makes a difference.
Wondlan Magic II sales page is very misleading. They make it seem like the rig will transform into 10 complete rigs.
i've been an early adopter for too many things and end up selling items on craigslist or ebay after they've failed in the field.
Seems like people can make a great promo video but the product doesn't live up.