It has been a very long time since we have put out a fresh blog article and as I write this I am reminded of the incredible support we have had over the years from customers just like you. Without you we would simply not exist. If you have been with us from the beginning you may remember it was really not too long ago when our website literally just had a couple of products. Now 4 years later, we have over 300 unique products available to you that ship right out of our warehouse, here in Bend, Oregon.
Our new website design is a testament to the growth of EVO Gimbals and our continued effort to support you with the best hand-picked, tested products we find useful for mobile content creation.
So I want to take a quick second to express my greatest gratitude and give thanks to all of you who have supported our business throughout the years, including everyone who has helped build our business as well.
When I started EVO Gimbals in 2015 with my business partner Hans, we both knew that consumer gimbal technology was going to rapidly change the way people captured content. Looking back on it now, it was truly remarkable that just a few short years ago we had this “first world struggle” of capturing smooth video with our cameras; given that today it is now so common to see a stabilizer in hands of video creators.
And while the gimbal technology EVO Gimbals has rolled out over the years has given videographers much more creative control, along with an incredible increase in production efficiency - let’s also not forget the “cool factor” in terms of owning a really rad piece of gear - I do remember having a conversation about 5 or 6 years ago with Hans while we were building and programming a custom gimbal for a drone and discussing that I predict someday all of the stabilization will be digital and built into the camera.
My prediction was that this would come sometime between 2022 to 2025 and we would see fully digital, stabilized video coming from a different type of camera - a 360 camera.
To my surprise, it was just shortly after we started EVO that the first 360 cameras made it to the market. As you can imagine, I was extremely excited knowing the possibilities of the technology - but like many others who were first adopters to the new technology I was quickly let down because while 360 cameras at the time were really innovative, they truly lacked the quality of any camera that I was used to, the post processing experience was simply too CPU intensive, too technical and quite frankly really not ready for mainstream consumers.
Keeping my pulse on the industry however, I fast forward to the beginning of this year while walking the aisles of CES in Las Vegas. On a whim, I walked around the corner and came across Insta360’s booth. To my amazement, their team was so desperate to get their new cameras into the hands of regular people - they were literally giving them away.
Insta360 had a sign up on their booth that said “recycle your old action camera and get a free Insta360 ONE X” - I had such a sour taste in my mouth from all the headaches of putting 360 footage together that I almost walked away. But a little voice in my head said “Hey Peter….you know you have an old Virb in your backpack…” - so I bit.
I asked the rep at the booth if they would take my old camera to trade in and the rep yells over to his co-worker - “James we finally have our first trade in!” - I’m like wait…what’s wrong with this picture here. There are over 100,000 people here and it’s 3 hours into the show the first day….you have had no one trade in their camera for one? The rep looks at me and says “No you’re the first one! Would you mind if we put you on our social media?“ , …sure…”, I said.
I recycle my old camera, threw the new ONE X into my backpack and continued to walk the show.
I finally opened the ONE X about 10 days later to try it out…
Remember when I said there would come a day that we would see fully digital, stabilized video coming from a 360 camera? Well, my prediction was right but my timing was way off.
Not only did the ONE X capture great quality 5.7K 360 photos and videos - it came out fully stabilized with the FlowState stabilization feature. No motors, no extra weight - all digital. Further, I could easily download, automatically stitch, edit and manipulate the content I captured right on my iPhone X. I could then Keyframe the footage in my desired aspect ratio and export it super fast to share with my friends and family.
As a proponent of all things that can help content creators capture and share smooth video, I asked myself, “why has this not taken off?”
I had to investigate further, so three weeks later plus 22 hours of travel I found myself in Shenzhen with my business partner visiting Insta360’s corporate headquarters to get a tour.
We learned that Insta360’s 280 person team was made up of over 60% programmers - with the companies core focus on bringing 360 cameras mainstream - pairing great hardware with easy to use, ultra efficient software and APPs.
Their lineup of products, from their ever popular Insta360 ONE X to their professional PRO 2 and Titan models, are a direct reflection of the team’s hard work and dedication to changing the way content creators approach video and generate digital content for the next era in VR, spatial mapping and content sharing.
So you may be asking yourself as you read this, “Well hang on a second here Peter, you OWN a gimbal company and your telling me that gimbals are going to basically become obsolete?”
My answer? Yes.
Gimbals will be obsolete someday, but definitely not anytime soon. There is absolutely still a place for gimbals and stabilizers in terms of Mirrorless, DSLR cameras or new smartphone models like the iPhone 11 Pro. Several legacy products we have available like the EVO Rage Gen2 or EVO RAGE3 model for Mirrorless and DSLR cameras, or even our popular EVO Shift for smartphones will continue to support content creators efforts for capturing high quality stabilized video content.
You should also understand that there are certainly hardware limitations of 360 cameras in their current form. A pro-level 360 camera like the Insta360 Pro 2 or Insta360 Titan will definitely not replace the look, depth, or ‘feel’ of your favorite piece of glass paired with a high end camera like a RED Dragon or your Sony full frame camera. And in terms of video quality, comparing the spherical 5.7K video of a Insta360 ONE X to a 4K GoPro Hero8 is not even close because they’re literally not the same thing.
The applications of 360 content is much more than just reframing the content for 2D 16:9 or 4:3 photos & video.
For instance, spatial mapping and virtual 3D walkthroughs of homes can be created using the ONE X with the Insta360 Matterport integration. Check out an example of an apartment walkthrough that Hans put together here:
Another example is the application for generating certified Google Street View content and virtual walkthroughs of locations and businesses in Google maps. This is an entirely new business in itself allowing content creators to use 360 cameras to offer VR imagery as a service to their local real estate agencies as well as local businesses that need updated street views of their google my business listings.
These are just a few examples of the possibilities of 360 camera technology and in my opinion, it is really just scratching the surface. From here out, my prediction is that in the future we will see the cameras get much smaller (like the new Insta360 GO) and the content and playback interaction will be much more than just viewing a video on your phone or tv. Virtual experiences will become the norm eventually in the next 5 to 10 years - and if we are going off of how well calibrated my hourglass is - it will probably be much much sooner than that :)
To sum up - really at the end of the day you as a content creator now have more choices than ever when it comes to capturing smooth video and whether you decide to use a EVO Gimbals product paired with your favorite camera or do decide to try out a new 360 camera our team is going to have your back to help you Keep It Smooth.