During a shoot with Tony Roslund and Gary Martin for PRO EDU this past December, I was lucky enough to operate a Movi M5 for lots of behind the scenes and "color" footage. The motion rendered from the Movi, even while running, was most impressive. Just recently though I learned of the Nebula4000 Lite, and at a fraction of the price, I think this might be the next big compact video camera accessory to have.
I come from a background where we used $10,000 Steadicam systems to "fly" large video cameras in and around our subject. They were heavy, required lots of practice to properly balance and operate, and after using it for 5 minutes you needed a break.
Other handheld stabilizers like the Glidecam 4000 have been popular among the DSLR crowd, with their affordable price and relative ease of use.
As technology has come along though, now we are seeing products like the Movi M5. Unless you were living under a rock, the Movi blew the video world away with what was possible with "handheld" shooting. Here's their original Movi video below.
The Movi is really cool, and can handle some weight in terms of the camera it uses. The price is not terribly expensive, relative to the cost of other professional toys in the video production playland, but still a bit much for part-time shooters or those simply on a budget.
This is why I think the Nebula4000 is going to be a hit.
Coming in at $700 and at a size where it can be thrown into existing gear kits makes this product look very attractive to me. It's not literally pocket-sized but you get the idea. The frame and mount for something like a Movi or even a glidecam can be rather cumbersome, so a small package will open up the use of an item like this for the traveling or outdoorsy shooter.
Of course you're limited to certain cameras (A7s, GH4, and smaller) and you need to calibrate it (like all other systems) but if you can deal with that, you'll definitely want to learn more– I know I do. Some more specs:
Stabilizer Weight: 800g
Calibration Software: Mac or PC/Anrdoid
Battery Life: About 2 hours (according to the manufacturers website)
Below I've compiled a bunch of test footage videos, some better than others in terms of how stable the footage is or isn't. My guess is that user calibration and how well the user operates it plays a huge role in final results.
I'm hoping that I can snag one of these for a review at some point, but if you've already been able to check one out, share your thoughts in the comments!
Also, Dave Dugdale at LearningDSLRVideo has a great breakdown of information on the Nebula4000 on his site, as well as a few videos. I've included the videos below but check his site to learn even more.