For mobile and GoPro photographers, the MiniRig brings light, audio, and stabilization in a portable, affordable gimbal.
If the smartphone puts a camera into a pocket, then the MiniRig turns it into a mobile studio. Launching April 11 on Kickstarter, the MiniRig, from Smoovie, is a lighting, audio, and stabilization solution for smartphones and GoPros.
At the heart of the MiniRig is a magnet-based stabilization system. By balancing the smartphone or GoPro with lightweight magnets, the MiniRig corrects unwanted motion for smoother video, even while walking. While many gimbals, like DJI’s Osmo, use an electronic system, the MiniRig uses physics. It doesn’t have any fancy auto-follow features, but it’s lightweight at six ounces. The MiniRig can also be tightened for smooth action shots or loosened for more cinematic motion effects.
When not in motion, the MiniRig can convert into a tabletop tripod simply by popping out three small legs at the bottom of the unit. An included wireless remote triggers the smartphone’s camera shutter.
But the MiniRig is designed to be more than just a gimbal or tripod. It’s a complete mobile studio too. A removable LED ring light allows photographers and videographers to move the light off camera, with a greater level of control – the LEDs can be adjusted to five different intensities, to create a number of different effects. The light can also be adjusted to different color temperatures, Smoovie says.
The mobile studio also includes an audio solution for enhancing the sound in videos. A covered mic reduces wind noise versus the built-in mic in a smartphone, the company says. For those who want to attach their own accessories, the MiniRig has connectors for using with third-party mics and lights.
The MiniRig measures about 8.5 inches at its largest side, and can extend out to over 13 inches. The rig is constructed with ABS and acetal plastic with aluminum tubing and lightweight neodymium magnets. The battery for the LED light lasts around two hours.
The MiniRig is the second crowd-funded project coming from Smoovie. The company’s first gimbal product, the Smoovie Pocket Video Stabiliser, raised nearly $150,000. The design comes from Alex Kalogroulis, a London Royal College of Art graduate who has designed products from Underwater Sea Scooters to kitchen gadgets.
The company hopes to raise 10,000 euros, or about $15,000 USD, to begin production on the MiniRig. Kickstarter backers can get the MiniRig for 50 euros or about $53, provided the Kickstarter reaches full funding and the company doesn’t run into unexpected production issues. The MiniRig is expected to retail for about $75.