This $53 accessory is a portable smartphone studio with light, audio, and 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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.

Photography News: Startup redesigns tripod heads ‘inside out’ for more flexibility

Well, this doesn't look like the ball heads that we've seen before. Instead of designing a tripod ball head with a small cutout, the Colorado Tripod Company created one with most of the ball exposed, allowing for more possible angles.

Luminar’s new libraries don’t even need you to manually import images

Luminar 3's new libraries feature doesn't require importing -- images are automatically added after clicking on a folder. The long-promised libraries feature gives editors a Lightroom alternative with organization tools as well as syncing…
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.

MIT science photographer isn’t an artist, but her work could fill galleries

Felice Frankel is an award-winning photographer, but she doesn't consider herself an artist. As a science photographer, she has been helping researchers better communicate their ideas for nearly three decades with eye-catching imagery.

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.

Leica targets street photographers with a pricey camera bundle

Described by the camera company as "your perfect companion in the city," Leica's Street Kit comprises a Leica CL camera body, a 23mm (35mm full-frame equivalent) F2 lens, batteries, a handgrip, and a black leather carrying strap.
Product Review

Meet Z6, the breakout star in Nikon's new mirrorless lineup

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…

Photographers can now customize the layout of Lightroom Classic controls

Tired of scrolling past Lightroom tools that you don't use? Adobe Lightroom Classic now allows users to reorganize the Develop panel. The update comes along with new sharing options in Lightroom CC, and updates to the mobile Lightroom app.