DIYP reviews the SYRP Genie Mini – A Clever camera motion solution
If you’re looking for an economical way to add clean, smooth motion to your time lapse or live action video clips, the Syrp Genie Mini is a great place to start.
However, I didn’t expect just how easy and fun the Genie Mini would be to use in the field – continue reading for the complete review…
Syrp Genie Mini Panning Motion Control System
The Syrp Genie Mini is a small motorized single axis (horizontal rotation) panning control system that is designed to sit between your camera and your tripod.
With an L-bracket, the Genie Mini can also be used for single axis tilt motion (vertical rotation).
The Genie Mini is just a little larger than a hockey puck and about the same weight. It has a nice rubberized coating with a cork finish top and bottom and a standard 1/4″ camera mounting screw on the top and a 1/4″ tripod mounting thread on the bottom.
The Syrp Genie Mini is part of the expandable mix-and-match Genie motion control system and can be used with many other Syrp components.
For two axis moves (pan and tilt ) a single Genie Mini can be paired with another Genie Mini or with the full size Genie along with a pan tilt bracket. B&H sells a two axis Genie Mini motion control kit for $587.
For three axis moves (pan, tilt, move) two Genie Minis can be paired with a pan tilt bracket for horizontal and vertical rotation and a full size Genie for slider or hyperlapse movements. B&H sells a complete three axis kit for $1,654 including a 2’6″ slider.
Build Quality & Portability
The Syrp Genie Mini looks and feels like a high-quality piece of photography gear.
One really nice feature of the Genie Mini is that it is small and portable – especially compared to the full size Genie and many other time lapse and video motion control devices.
If you have a video project that involves a remote location, it would be totally feasible to slip a Genie Mini into your pack.
The Mini has a built in lithium-ion battery that provides 48+ hours of time-lapse and 5+ hours of smooth continuous panning (according to Syrp’s product specifications). The battery is charged by a standard micro-USB cable.
I really like the built in battery because there are no loose batteries or cables to secure and remember to charge and pack.
The Syrp Genie Mini doesn’t have any control buttons or dials on the unit itself – it can only be controlled via the Syrp Genie App for iOS and Android devices.
The Genie Mini connects to your device using Bluetooth – which I found to be much easier to use and much more reliable than the WiFi connection procedures typical for many camera accessories. I had no problems connecting the Genie Mini to my phone simply by turning the unit on with the Syrp Genie app installed on my phone and Bluetooth enabled on my phone’s connection settings.
After connecting to my phone for the first time, the Genie App notified me that a firmware update was available – which was then automatically downloaded and installed – another really well planned and well executed feature.
I was a little skeptical of controlling the Genie Mini via the Syrp Genie app at first – I am not a big fan of touchscreens or the necessity of having to bring along a mobile device just to control my gear – however, I was pleasantly surprised.
The Syrp Genie app is extremely intuitive and very straight forward to use to set up both time lapse and live action video sequences.
If you’re like me you’re always in a hurry to set up your time lapse or live action video shot – and usually in the dark, so I really appreciate how simple it is to setup a motion shot with the Genie Mini.
Time Lapse With the Syrp Genie Mini
The Genie Mini is designed to control the motion of your time lapse sequence – it doesn’t control your camera except to trigger the shutter release.
Setting up a time lapse sequence is relatively straight forward. Using the touchscreen on your connected device, you set the motion range that you want to capture. Then you also set the length of time you want your sequence to run and the interval time between individual shots.
If you are new to time lapse, there are presets for people, clouds, stars, night traffic, GoPro people and GoPro clouds.
If you are a time lapse expert, there are a number of advanced settings available including movement ease in / ease out, HDR mode, movement type (move-shoot-move is the default) and move shoot delay (the delay between moving the Genie mini and releasing the shutter).
The user interface is very well laid out and easy to navigate.
In fact, setting the Genie Mini is the easiest part of getting the shot – you still have to set up your camera: leveling your tripod, setting the exposure, adding filters etc…
If you plan on filming time lapse sequences, you will also need a sync cable to connect the Genie Mini to your camera.
Live Action Video With the Syrp Genie Mini
Setting up live action video is similar to time lapse, except you really only need to set the motion range and length of time it will take for the Mini to complete the defined motion.
You can also set an ease in / ease out time under the advanced settings.
If you’re interested in adding motion to your time lapse or controlled motorized motion to your live action video the Syrp Genie Mini is a great first step that is affordable, portable and extremely user friendly.
With a retail price of $249 from B&H I think that the Syrp Genie Mini is very cost effective for what it does.
The best part is that you don’t have to invest in the entire Syrp Genie motion control system up front – you can start with just a Mini and then expand your rig as your filmmaking needs grow.
What Do You Think?
Have you been thinking of adding motion control to your time lapse or video work?
Do you think the Syrp Genie Mini would fit into your workflow?
Leave a comment below and let us know!
JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand. To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube. JP’s photography is available for licensing at Stocksy United.