A few weeks back, I went to the Mountaineer Mall with David Smith, WVU professor, to test 360 degree camera stabilization methods. I tested the differences between the GoPro rig and the Kodak rig. I wore “Heelys” skating shoes as a smooth form of stabilization, and balanced the cameras with a Steadicam HD-4000.

Unfortunately, one of the GoPro cameras was set to a different frame rate and ruined the shots–but I can still discuss the procedures.

After attaching the GoPro rig to the Steadicam, it was apparent that the camera was a little too close to the mounting base. However, with no way to raise it any higher, we decided to go on with procedures. The end result wasn’t too bad–this is what the first camera looked like:

Camera 1 view: This camera shows the mounting base more than the others, which affected the final stitch

In the future, I would definitely find a way to raise the camera higher. Although I wasn’t able to prevent the mounting base from being shown, I at least tried to hold the Steadicam higher so my distorted face wouldn’t take up the whole shot.

For the actual stabilization procedure, I compared walking Steadicam shots to Heely Steadicam shots, which both were filmed with the GoPro rig. My brother, Johnny Robinson, carried the Kodak SP360 4K  rig on a handheld stick and walked alongside me. This tested the stitches on both the GoPro and the Kodak, and compared the stabilization between the Steadicam and handheld carrying.

Here is a short video that David Smith made of the procedures:

 

For the Steadicam shots, I found that the Heelys gave very smooth motion similar to roller blades (which are often used in the film industry). Walking with the Steadicam seemed better than handheld footage, but still had subtle bumps to it.

Overall, I learned to ALWAYS check the frame rate of every camera, because there is no way to re-encode the footage and stitch it properly. I also learned that Steadicams certainly make a difference, and Heelys are very efficient for getting smooth shots (on even ground, that is). Next time, after mounting the camera higher and checking the frame rates, I would like to see how speed variations influence the look of the camera. I’m curious to see where the audience can follow along versus become motion sick!