SteadXP Aims to Stabilize All of Your Shaky DSLR and GoPro Video Footage

With impressive looking example videos and a relatively inexpensive price tag when compared to a MoVi or Ronin, the Kickstarter for the SteadXP has already blown past its fundraising goal. I wasn't sure what all the hype was about until I watched their video with before and after examples.

In case you don't want to head over to the SteadXP Kickstarter page, here's a breakdown of what this product offers and what it will cost.

There are two versions, with one for GoPro Heros and another for other cameras, from DSLRs to mirrorless to professional level cinema bodies. The SteadXP@ works with GoPro Hero 2, 3, 3+, and 4 cameras, but not the Session. The SteadXP+ is built to work with any camera body that has the following:

  • an accessible flash mount (standard coldshoe),
  • a stereo microphone input,
  • and a clean video output (AV Out or HDMI).
  • You can also use SteadXP+ on professional cinema cameras, with several options how to ensure the synchronization (standard Genlock signals: bi or tri-level sync).

As of the publishing of this article, the cheapest available units were $157 and $257 for the SteadXP@ and the SteadXP+, respectively.

A question I found myself wondering was how they were able to achieve this seemingly magical motion correction without completely destroying the quality of the video through scaling and distortion? The video below tries to explain things a little bit but doesn't go into too much detail.

After some digging online, I found this review by Dan Chung, and with a pre-production model he was able to run all sorts of tests and analyze the footage. His findings are quite telling and worth a read if you have time, otherwise I've paraphrased some of his notable points below:

• Any change of filter, lens, focus, or zoom will result in a need to re-calibrate
• The image is cropped to allow an area for scaling to smooth footage (not unlike software-based stabilizers)
• Best stabilization results come from shooting at higher speeds of at least 1/250
• The software does do an incredible job of stabilizing, but at a slight loss of quality
• You can't record audio internally unless you're on a camera with more than two audio inputs
 

So I guess the questions becomes this: Is it worth it to lose a little resolution and save a shot, or have a shot that is too shaky that ends up on teh cutting room floor? Not everyone can afford a gimbal-based stabilizer or a steadicam, and the small size and weight of the SteadXP means that it can be used in places the aforementioned items can not.

Personally, I could absolutely see this being helpful for when I'm shooting with a GoPro; I don't typically need the audio, it's usually very shaky, and a high shutter speed is the default. Losing a bit of quality on those clips would be fine with me if it meant more stable shots... I usually process them with a Warp Stabilizer anyway, and from the examples it would seem to me that SteadXP does a better job of smoothing footage.

[via engadget]

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13 Comments

Brad Tomlinson's picture

That's pretty rad.

Brian Rodgers Jr.'s picture

I'm surprised there aren't more comments on this article. I think it looks like a pretty sweet device. I like the idea of being able to handhold a camera without the use of a steadicam and still get stable shots. Honestly though, for the price, you can buy a flycam that does a pretty nice job, and if needed Adobe Premiere's Warp Stabilizer does a nice job most of the time. This is still something I'd like to try out though, looks pretty awesome. Thanks for posting Mike!

Well if you think about it, you still benefit from using a steadycam, because you can still improve a steadycam shot in post.

But you're right, it's less gear to cary \o/

Brian Rodgers Jr.'s picture

Plus you have to shoot wide while using this device because the software is going to crop in. It would be really hard to frame your shots not knowing where the software is going to crop. I guess until someone tries it though, it's hard to say

Kyle Zirkus's picture

That's pretty cool. It will be interesting to see where this type of technology goes in the future.

what about that:
- the company is bought by gopro/canon/nikon/whoever
- feature gets injected in the product
- price goes up!

Take a closer look as well!! I don't know if they mentioned or not but the model on the DSLR hot shoe can be taken apart it looks like and put on the gopro! I thought it was 2 separate units at first, hurry up and hit production and take my money!

Seems like a mounted cellphone could do this as well

Sean Fenzl's picture

Agree! Using all the tech in a device you already have - that's future thinking. The app "hyperlapse" already uses this technology.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

The idea is actually pretty cool. Too bad with the qualityloss. I guess it would make sense to record in higher quality like 4K or the weird one GoPro has just above fullHD and then downscale in post :)

Chris K.'s picture

Hmm, if people think a stabilizer like a Ronin/Movi on a Steadicam is overkill... Would one of these on a stabilizer also be overkill? Think I just might pick this up to help stabilize what my Ronin doesn't get

Jayson Carey's picture

" Best stabilization results come from shooting at higher speeds of at least 1/250"
Too bad the best looking footage is shot at 1/48 of a second (or 1/double the frame rate). Unless you're shooting a gritty action scene, 1/250 will look SUPER choppy.

Hey guys probably should do a followup article on this product just warning people not to order until they actually start shipping.