s3nki by March 2022, 24 | 0
Funsnap Captur3 gimbal test - excellent hardware and snap software
With the cheapest 3-axle gimbal, is it worth buying or collecting a little more?
I have been planning to revive my much neglected Youtube channel for the last year in a very long time. The desire to restart is alive in me, and sometimes that desire motivates me to buy a device to make the show better. That's why I ordered this gimbal too.
Ever since you were shooting a movie, you want to make nice smooth running shots. at the time, before 1976, when Garret Brown invented the Steadycam, films were filmed by either standing on a fixed tripod or, if they had to be moved, building an intricate rail system and moving the equipment on small wagons. Needless to say, these methods were a serious hurdle, as it was difficult to track the characters with the camera, and rapid movements such as running were almost impossible.
In the mid-XNUMXs, the aforementioned Garret Brown - who was a cameraman by the way - invented the Steadycam, which was able to remedy these problems. The word Steadycam comes from the English words ‘steady’ (meaning sure, steady, solid) and ‘camera’. The name covers a camera stabilization system. You can use it to filter out shocks during handheld shooting. The original Steadycam consists of a detachable vest and an arm with ball joints and counterweights attached to it. The arm and counterweights support the weight of the camera, at the same time eliminating and dissipating vibrations. The vest is needed because it allows the weight of the camera and Steadycam to be distributed over the entire upper body.
The recorded film makes it feel as if the camera is flying or swimming at a height of about one and a half to two meters above the ground. The film gives the viewer a feeling of weightlessness, as the camera is able to move without spatial limitations, and without any kind of smooth or jamming. It allows you to achieve complex camera movements without building rail systems and other scaffolding.
Steadycam systems - because we can talk more about systems nowadays - are very diverse. We can meet them at sporting events, film shootings, in any place where a moving image has to be recorded. In addition to the cameras, on the vest solutions we can see a monitor on which the operator can see the image of the camera, as well as large battery packs with which the cameras provide power. Steadycam uses increasingly complex solutions. In larger systems, not only springs reduce the force required to move the cameras, but also servomotors.
The importance of Stadycam in filmmaking is well illustrated by the fact that the inventor received a technical Oscar in 1978. Since its creation, the solution has been used in thousands of films. One of the best-known Steadycam scenes is seen in Kubrick’s Stephen King classic, Shine, when a cameraman follows a child tricycle in a hallway, but a scene recorded in a snowy maze in the hotel’s garden was similarly recorded.
This brings us to the end of the first chapter of our article. Here, if you’re interested in “old” Hollywood, you could watch a very interesting, about 26-minute film about the inventor, Garret Brown. If I may suggest you should definitely check it out, it is extremely interesting and mostly fun material!
Over the years, video technology has changed a lot. The cameras have become lighter. Instead of the 90-pound monsters of the beginnings, 20-25-pound professional cameras are now used. Meanwhile, of course, home videoing has also undergone serious trunk development. The few-pound structures have now been replaced by solutions under a pound or even a pound, tiny Moroccan cameras, DSLR cameras, action cameras and, of course, telephones. This change, along with advances in technology, has allowed a new structure to appear on the market with the gimbal, on which the balance of the recorder, be it the camera or the phone, is not done by complicated counterweights and springs, but by various sensors and electric motors. The geomagnetic sensor and gyroscope detect the movement and the built-in two or three brushless motors correct it. The more the engine, the more accurate and faster the correction. Currently, solutions with three axles are cool, two-axles are cheaper. It is understandable why the three axes are able to move in all directions in space.
In this article, we present one of the cheapest 3-axle gimbal available on the market and look for the question of whether it is worth buying.
Packaging and exterior
The Funsnap gimbal comes in a flashy and fairly large white box. Under the outer showy cover we find the structure in a harder cardboard, including a soft bed, a charging cable, a rather detailed description and a small metal disc with a short threaded shank in the middle. This should be screwed onto the arm of the gimbal into which the phone is attached, exactly to the side of the arm opposite the phone where it acts as a counterweight.
The structure, as you may have read in the introduction, is a piece with three axles, that is, three motors. Due to the three axes, we can definitely classify them as more moderate hardware, but as you will see at the end of this article, the price is still closer to two-axis solutions.
There are two buttons and a small joystick on the handle, the operation of which is reported in the next section. In addition to the buttons, there is also a USB port for charging and a standard thread that allows you to attach the gimbal to a tripod or other mount.
The whole structure, including a complete counterweight and a 3,7-volt 2600 mAh battery, is only 40 deca. According to the factory data, it takes an hour and a half to charge, and with one charge we can use it continuously for 8 hours. It is definitely a great pleasure that the battery can be inserted through the small door at the bottom of the handle, which means that it can also be replaced if it is accidentally damaged.
The Funsnap gimbal is quite a convincing structure anyway, it is built of good materials, the plastics affect the quality, the grip is pleasant. The stuff is also good in terms of ergonomics, the handle can be gripped with a wide palm, and if it gets into a woman's hand, it can be held by a lady, so the buttons fall on the hand, or more precisely on the finger, regardless of the size of the hand.
Use and software
If you haven’t had a gimbal in your hand yet, then you might rightly think it’s going to be quite easy to operate, put your phone or action camera on, turn it on, start recording, and then just enjoy the nice smooth-floating shots. Today, however, these tools know much more than that. Some of the capabilities are hardware, independent of the recording structure, and others can be used with software and phones running Android or iOS.
Funsnap is like that. Hardware functions can be toggled with the power button. We have three choices. In the basic mode, the activated geomagnetic sensor determines the position of the phone or camera, and wherever we turn the recorder will always face in one direction. In this mode, the joystick is used to rotate the camera or phone, that is, if you turn and you want the phone to turn, you must also use the joystick to turn your head. In this mode, the joystick can be used for both lateral and upward movements.
In the second mode, the vertical axis can be locked, i.e., if it is turned, the recording structure rotates along with the axis. In this mode we cannot control the lateral movement with the joystick, it is necessary to turn the gimbal manually. In this mode, if you are using the factory software for recording, you can zoom in by moving the joystick left and right.
The third mode is portrait mode. If you press the power key three times, the head turns the phone vertically, then you can return to normal mode by pressing the key once.
We get a really detailed description of the operation anyway, and the following easy-to-understand video on the manufacturer's site shows the use.
The capabilities of gimbal are greatly expanded by telephone software. There are several interesting options available in the program. There is object tracking, for example. If you do not move your hand too fast or the object you want to follow does not move too fast, the gimbal will hold the camera continuously on the selected object. We make the selection on the phone display. In addition to object tracking, there is also face tracking, the software detects when you see a face and my designated one follows more with less success.
From the software, you can set the photo function to monitor one, two or more faces. The first is selfie mode, the second is marked with a small heart, meaning it will be a favorite of lovers, and the third will help you take group photos. a special extra is the smile detection, we see a countdown from three on the screen, at zero an automatic photo is taken of our grinning head.
In addition to the photo functions, we can also adjust the video functions, in addition to the normal recording, there is also a timelaps function, which is really enjoyable.
We also have a settings menu item, here we can set the resolution of the photo and video, we can turn on the professional mode, in which we can adjust the white balance and ISO value, for example, even during shooting.
If you’ve gotten into reading so far, you’re suspicious that you’ve started thinking about the title of the article, which I mention is sneaky software, as it can’t seem bad at all based on what you’ve described so far. However, there is a big problem, and it only affects the quality of the recording and the images. Unfortunately, be it any phone and any quality camera on the phone, the video can only be FHD i.e. 1920 x 1080 pixels (update at the end of the article!). This is a minor problem because this resolution could be lived with. The bigger problem is that the finished material disintegrates into large pixels, which is due to the poor compression. The frame rate is basically 30 fps, but at a glance it is more like 20. So we can say that in vain the software has a lot of good features, if we can not use it due to poor recording quality. It's a shame, but we're trying to see the good in it, the software can be improved, a newer version can be released, so there's still hope that the thing will improve.
So here’s a gimbal that we can currently buy under three brands. I bought the more expensive one with a foolish head, for some reason the cheaper one escaped my attention, even though I could have saved about 5000 forints, ie 20 percent of the purchase price. The iron itself is perfect, I don’t even think it would take much more than that to make a home video. The shots are perfect in all three modes, no jerking, the camera movement is amazing.
So here’s a gimbal whose software is useless. Unfortunately, I can’t judge how much more expensive is the category where the program can already be used, but I suspect the situation may be better somewhere above $ 120. So you have to decide whether to spend $ 60 on perfect hardware and essentially only software that can only be used with great compromises, or at least double that and hoping that the software will be good in that category as well. Let's add that the gimbal can be used not only with a phone, but also with an action camera, in which case we would not use the software that can be downloaded to the phone anyway.
If you ask me I will stay with the first version, which is why I don’t even mind the weaknesses of the software. If I have time again for HOC TV broadcasts, I will use the gimbal with an action camera anyway, because I can connect an external microphone to it. So for me, phone software is secondary. If, for some reason, I want to use the phone with the gimball, at most I turn on the mobile's own application on the phone, I start recording on it. I'm not curious about software zoom anyway, just as I'm not interested in face tracking and auto photo, and timelaps are available in other ways.
So the point is, I would have been happy if the software had been perfect, if it had been so, I’d say never get worse, it’s the perfect reception. However, due to the weakness of the software, I say if the subject and face tracking are important to you, if you want to take automatic smiling pictures, don’t take this gimbal. Otherwise, however, I highly recommend and ask anytime I will maintain my opinion, this gimbal is currently the best buy.
If you want to buy the FUNSNAP gimbal like me for about HUF 22, look here: FUNSNAP Capture Smartphone Gimbal
If you want a runner called Beyondsky, which is exactly the same based on the description and the pictures, but cheaper, which can be purchased for about 17 thousand forints, then look here: Beyondsky Eyemind (EU warehouse!)
If you want to buy this gimbal under the name Alfawise, you can find it here for 18 forints: Alfawise AS01
Update: I wrote this article back in late 2018, and there has been some change since then. The most important thing about the software. I don't know what the reason is, but you can already select 4K resolution for video resolutions. I don’t know if it was due to a software update or a phone replacement, but the fact is that it wasn’t the case with the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2, but now that I used it with the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 it already worked. The bad news, though, is that you can't use Gimbal with MIX 3. When commissioning, the first task is to set the phone to balance the engine when it is switched off, so that the phone does not tip over. In the case of the MIX 3, this cannot be done because the center of gravity is so much on the top side of the phone facing the cameras that it will not be in balance at all, so the phone will be tilted slightly even when it is switched on. I note I tried it on a Xiaomi A1 too, there was no problem with that either, so I suspect the weight of the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 could be goose, which is bigger than you would expect with today’s average phone.