There are many features in our handheld and wearable gimbals that set our products apart from the competition – our gimbal performance through our unmatched stabilization algorithms and our new advanced EVO Gimbal Smartphone APP just to name a few. However, let’s take a step backward for a moment and recognize one of the key physical features of our gimbals that REALLY makes a big difference when it comes to getting great shots. That specific feature is very simple, yet many competitors are still catching up to speed – it is the industry standard ¼-20 female thread which can be found on the bottom of our line-up of handheld gimbals.
Now you may be thinking “…ok big deal you can screw your gimbal onto a tripod or a small stand..” – well believe it or not there is so much more you can do with this!
In fact, one of our favorite setups is using this ¼-20 threaded handle to connect to a set of our custom manufactured carbon fiber extension poles. What’s unique about these carbon fiber poles is that they are light, compact and extremely strong – you can connect them in multiple sets (up to 2 sets) allowing you to have a portable extension pole with you ready to use at a moments notice.
Having this option to extend your gimbal and camera from low to the ground to high in the air opens up the door to so many possibilities of different types of shots. With this configuration, you can literally replace that expensive (and bulky) jib-arm or crane and eliminate having to transport a huge piece of gear with you to the shoot. With the carbon fiber extension poles, you can now achieve those same style shots because not only do you have the camera stabilizer to keep your camera smooth and level but you now have the reach with the poles to lower and raise your camera across a dynamic range of vertical and horizontal movement.
Not only that – but you also get another unknown benefit from the extension poles – vertical z-axis stability. Now you may be thinking – “…yeah right how are extension poles going to help stabilize my 3 axis gimbal which does not stabilize vertical z-axis movement?...”
Well, the answer can be found through geometry. You see what happens when you walk or run with a gimbal is your body moves vertically up and down – a motion that a 3 axis gimbal cannot compensate for. At times this vertical z-axis movement can result in semi-jittery footage depending on the situation but this vertical z-axis movement can be minimized a great deal (if not eliminated almost entirely) by using a set of extension poles.
Let me explain further…you see as we run our torso is moving up and down, this motion is transferred through the limbs in our arms through to our forearm and into our wrist. Our bodies automatically compensate for this vertical movement naturally but we do not entirely stay steady at our wrist.
Now add the extension poles out in front of your body away from you. What happens is the arc to the center of rotation in the tilt axis of the gimbal now creates another artificial joint which is electronically stabilized. The distance gained out from the wrist to the tilt axis of the gimbal using the length of the extension poles now limits the amount of vertical movement in the camera. Your running shots are now going to be significantly smoother – with one additional benefit of the poles – vertical range.
You see not only are you now going to be able to get smooth running shots, you are now able to take those running shots and start them down low and finish them up high or vice versa. It may take a little practice – but your ability to get a great shot with little effort just increased 10 fold.
If you browse through our Instagram feed from last year, you’ll find classic examples of great footage shot with this type of setup – especially in our snowboarding footage. One of the things worth mentioning when it comes to action sports such as snowboarding is that the poles make a huge difference. Not only for the added stability but also for the reach.
It may take a little bit of practice to learn how to ski or snowboard with a gimbal but doing so can really open the doors to the possibilities of getting fast-paced dynamic ski or snowboard footage.
If you are interested in our set of custom carbon fiber poles we have 2 different diameter sets of poles: 25mm & 31mm. The 25mm poles work best with the EVO GP-PRO GoPro Gimbal, EVO Shift Smartphone Gimbal, EVO SS Chest Mount Wearable Gimbal or similar handheld gimbals. The 31mm poles have a slightly bigger wall thickness and are designed to work with the larger EVO Rage DSLR Gimbal and EVO Rage-S Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer mid-size model for mirrorless cameras.
If you are looking to take your gimbal up into the air even further (think drone airspace minus the death propellers and FAA nightmare) then stay tuned for another up and coming post that will talk about our new painter’s pole adapter – allowing you to get your gimbal up into the air 12-18 feet!