ikan FLY-X3 Handheld Electronic Gimbal: Smooth Smartphone Video Footage
The ikan FLY-X3 is a handheld, 3-axis electronic gimbal designed to give the camera operator the independence of handheld shooting without camera vibration or shake. Powered by three brushless motors, the gimbal has the ability to keep cameras level on all axes as the camera operator moves the camera.
Electronic gimbals have come a long way over the last few years, thanks to the rising popularity of aerial video shot with remote-controlled model aircraft. The gimbals we see everywhere today evolved from 2- or 3-axis, servo-driven affairs that helped to stabilize the shots, but the servo motors weren’t efficient enough for the kind of smooth operation required for aerial video. Eventually, the brushless motors used to spin the props of RC aircraft were repurposed to replace servo motors in gimbals, with much better efficiency.
It was not long before these gimbals caught the eye of traditional filmmakers and videographers. Eventually, handheld rigs with motorized stabilization were created, and the Steadicam type of stabilization was getting some serious competition. It took a lot of practice to operate a Steadicam effectively, and the prices were out of range for many indie filmmakers just starting out. The initial handheld gimbals were also expensive, but the learning curve was easier, and eventually the prices of gimbals came down. As electronic gimbals have become better, cameras have become smaller, with ever-increasing image quality, which means virtually any size camera available today can benefit from electronic gimbal stabilization.
Smartphones have become a viable tool in filmmaking, but when handheld, the footage can be quite jittery and shaky due to their small size and low weight. The ikan FLY-X3 Handheld Electronic Gimbal is designed for stabilizing smartphones from 2 ¼ to 3", as well as GoPro cameras: the HERO, the HERO3, on up to the HERO4, with its 4k image. An included adapter frame is included for mounting GoPro cameras without their protective housing.
With one hand, you can now achieve extremely stable shots with the smartphone cameras most of us carry in our pockets every day. And with the smartphone being stabilized, not only are the vibrations reduced, but the image quality itself is better because the artifacts caused by shaking the camera, such as motion blur and rolling shutter jello, are also minimized. With the FLY-X3, your GoPro goes from being a sports camera to a serious cinematic tool.
Designed for portability, the FLY-X3 fits easily into backpacks or purses and can be set up in less than a minute. You just secure your smartphone or GoPro into the spring-loaded, foam-padded clamp, hit the power button, and let it automatically calibrate to the size and weight of the camera. Rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries that provide roughly 2 hours of operation power the gimbal. It even comes with a ¼"-20 mount and lanyard attachment. Realtors can benefit from a tool such as this because now they can shoot fluid, smooth, professional-looking shots of the properties they list without the need to hire someone to do it for them. Student filmmakers can execute long, stabilized shots at a price point more within their reach. Travelers will love this gimbal too, because it’s small enough to keep in your carry-on bags. Soccer moms can finally be proud of the footage they shoot of their kids as they run around the field. Basically anyone who likes to shoot with his or her smartphone will love shooting with this gimbal. Imagine how good your home moves of birthdays or holiday festivities will look with smooth and stable footage that can be shot by anyone in the family who can operate a camera.
That’s not to say a little practice won’t help. When you walk, the physics of walking make you rise and fall with every step, so as you use the gimbal more you will develop a way of walking with your feet more flat to minimize bouncing. Your arm can absorb some of this bouncing too, so work with that to increase your stability even further. Where most motorized gimbals will try to keep the camera perfectly stable, and looking forward at all times, the FLY-X3 operates in a follow mode that lets you pan and tilt naturally. Heavier phones can limit the range the motors allow as more strain is put on them, but with an operational limit of 200 grams (7 ounces), most phones will work just fine with an operational range of approximately 20º of pan and tilt. This will let you aim up or down at something instead of only being able to look straight ahead.
Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker, realtor, news gatherer, sports fan, or just someone who likes cool gadgets, the ikan FLY-X3 Handheld Electronic Gimbal can bring improved smartphone video to the masses.