A few months ago, Steadicam announced the Steadimate S. It’s a device to attach your DJI Ronin-S or Zhiyun Crane 2 to a Steadicam arm and vest system. Steadicam was exhibiting at IBC 2019, so we paid them a visit to find out how it all works, how to set it up and why you might want to use one.
In short, the main point of combining a handheld motorised gimbal with something like a Steadicam arm is to take the weight off your own arms. Motorised gimbals are great, but when you’re walking around with them all day, especially something that weighs as much as the DJI Ronin-S with another 1-2kg camera and lens rig on top of it, your arms can get really sore, really quickly.
This is where the Steadimate-S bridges the gap between the two systems. It’s essentially a collar that fits around the handle of your DJI Ronin-S or Zhiyun Crane 2 gimbal which attaches to the Steadicam A15 or A30 stabiliser arms, along with some counterweights to sit at the bottom of the gimbal to make sure the gimbal itself stays the right way up.
As well as taking the weight off your arms, though, the Steadicam arm also helps to remove z bounce from your footage. So, when you’re walking, your camera stays more level. It doesn’t go up and down as your body does. And it makes it much easier to do things like pans, as well. Because the gimbal rotates in the collar, you can get perfect smooth spins much easier than you can by holding the gimbal directly in your hands.
The whole system might seem like overkill for many of us, but the Steadicam arm & vest system combined with a motorised 3-axis gimbal makes for some beautifully smooth footage.