In my next life, I'd really like to write and direct movies — especially now that the tools for doing so are incredibly cheap. I mean, heck, I've already got a 4K camcorder in my pocket!
Ever priced a Steadicam, though? Decidedly not cheap. So how can budding filmmakers hope to capture silky-smooth footage, especially while moving around? For that you need a stabilization gimbal.
Like this one: For a limited time, Cheapskate readers can get the Smove Mobile three-axis phone stabilizer for $129 with promo code MBL30. It normally sells for $159.
I've shared a few gimbal deals before, some of them priced a few bucks less than this. But those were fairly basic, feature-limited products. The Smove Mobile offers more bang for the buck.
For starters, it has a telescoping handle, making this the most sophisticated selfie-stick you'll ever use. There's a companion app that lets you enable features like face- and object-tracking and time-lapse panning. (Smove supplies a mini tripod for that purpose.)
For those unfamiliar with them, a gimbal uses a combination of weights and motors to keep a camera steady while it's in motion. That means you can walk or even run and enjoy much smoother video than you could just holding the phone in your hand.
The Smove Mobile's spring-load mount should be able to hold most modern phones, though the maximum size isn't specified anywhere. It can also accommodate a GoPro or similar action-camera.
In addition to well-balanced joystick that lets you control up-down and left-right panning, there's a zoom lever on the side and a trigger for temporarily locking the gimbal in place. Oh, and I especially like the USB charging port mounted on the gimbal, so you can supply extra power to your phone as needed. (Yep, the Smove Mobile doubles as a power bank.)
I got the chance to monkey around with one of these for a little while. It looks and feels substantial, like a much more expensive product. There's a bit of a learning curve with the various modes, and the gimbal starts to feel heavy pretty quickly when it's extended — I think it might be challenging to shoot that way for more than a few minutes.
Even so, I'm amazed at how good smartphone video can look when captured using something like this. If you're looking to seriously raise your moviemaking game, this is a solid buy at $129.
Bonus deal: I could live without the flying and super-strength, but I'd sure love to have Superman's X-ray vision. Because then I could easily find wall-studs!
This is arguably the next best thing: For a limited time, the Walabot DIY wall-imaging device is $64.99 shipped. It normally sells for $99.99.
The gizmo piggybacks onto your Android phone (sorry, iPhone users). Then you run it along concrete or drywall to see what's inside: wood studs, metal studs, pipes, electrical lines and so on. It can also detect movement, in case you're trying to catch a critter.
It's the visual element that makes this about a zillion times better than a traditional stud finder (which, let's face it, usually works poorly at best). That said, I haven't tried one of these myself. I just think it looks like a winner, and I like the sale price. Could make a great gift for your favorite handyman!
Giveaways! Are you rocking a sweet Halloween costume today? You've still got time to submit a photo for your shot at an Apple TV and other prizes. Next, sign up for Roadshow's Daytona 500 giveaway, which could result in a trip to see the big race! And, finally, don't forget my very own Canary home-security giveaway, which has five sweet prizes.
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