The Camera Bag: Steadiseg Segway-Steadicam mobile camera rig helps capture the Olympic Games
posted Monday, August 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM EDT
If you haven't heard of the Steadiseg before, it's one of those brilliant mash-ups of technology and necessity that only a photographer or videographer could dream up. Part electric Segway personal transporter and part Steadicam rig, the Steadiseg is like a camera dolly without tracks.
Or, in other words, it's an easy way to capture smooth tracking shots at a fairly brisk pace without having to lay down any of those intrusive tracks as with a traditional camera dolly. One place where the Steadiseg was getting a good workout recently was during the Olympic Games in London last week.
In particular, the Steadiseg was a star at the the Track & Field events where its mobility and speed were quick enough to track down and capture the action: even Usain Bolt, aka the "world's fastest human."
Check out a screen grab of the Steadiseg being featured on The New York Times' Lens blog. (The mobile rig, reportedly, almost ran over a New York Times photographer.)
Produced by Camera Kinetics, the device is sold as a Steadiseg conversion kit. Or, in other words, you need to purchase a Segway x2 Turf ($6,499) or a Segway i2 ($6,799), separately and convert it into a Steadiseg yourself with the kit.
According to the Steadiseg website, converting a Segway to a Steadiseg takes between 30-90 minutes.
The Steadiseg mod replaces the regular Segway handlebars with a control-stick that's located between the operator's knees. This is designed to free the rider's arms up so he or she can operate the camera stabilization system while the Steadiseg moves.
The Control-Stick Module is split between a brake and accelerator, much like a car. The entire module swivels to help with cornering and balance.
The upper "hard-mount assembly" of the Steadiseg features a steel, articulating arm, which lets you move the camera in a range of positions and levels: such as for extreme high or low shots.
The device also includes a fender system to protect the wheels and the operator.
The Steadiseg made its debut at the NAB conference in 2011. Here's a video of Steadiseg instructor Chris Fawcett giving a demo of the rig at NAB. Below that is a video of the Steadiseg shooting a scene from a movie while traveling alongside a scooter (via ISO 1200.) At the bottom is the finished footage of that scene, where you can see the results. (Be forewarned though, it contains some profane language.)
If you're interested in purchasing a Steadiseg conversion kit or want ton enquire about pricing, visit the sales section of the Steadiseg website here.