San Francisco-based AeriCam has been building drones and camera stabilizers for Hollywood for many years. Recently, however, the company set out to make a much more consumer-oriented product: a miniature, three-axis gimbal with an integrated camera that’s small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. It’s called the Idolcam, and according to the promo video, it seeks to bring out “your inner idol” by providing high-quality, stabilized selfie videos.
Unlike most of AeriCam’s previous products, the Idolcam is not a drone (although it could be mounted to one). It’s simply a handheld box with a camera, gimbal, and battery. It can be wirelessly operated from a smartphone up to 40 feet away. In an interview with ABC 7 News in San Francisco, AeriCam founder Jason Lam explains the idea for Idolcam came about after trying to develop a gimbal for a new, much smaller aerial drone. Lam stumbled into a different type of product entirely.
Although details remain slim, the Idolcam’s unique features extend beyond the gimbal to the camera itself. The sensor is capable of 4K resolution and a bespoke interchangeable lens system provides greater flexibility compared to other integrated gimbal cameras. A 20mm (full frame equivalent) lens comes standard, while 24mm and 35mm lenses are available as optional add-ons. An attachable weatherproof cover encases the entire gimbal to protect it on more adventurous shoots and an LED lighting module helps out when filming at night (it even accepts different modifiers, including a tiny ring light).
This may be the first time such a technologically advanced camera is aimed squarely at such a casual user. Smartphones have become the most popular selfie cameras simply out of convenience. Large screens and front-facing cameras make it easy to shoot a picture or video of yourself, and of course apps make the process of sharing to social media painless. Adding a second piece of hardware into the mix, despite its advantages, can erode that convenience factor.
Idolcam, however, may have a larger life outside of simply revealing the idol in everyone. Its small size, interchangeable lenses, and advanced stabilization put it in a unique position to eventually compete in the action camera space. Still in prototype, the Idolcam will be launching on Indiegogo soon.
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