Camera stabilization is an art and a science that’s been pretty much ongoing since the first Steadicam was introduced to film sets. Oddly, as cameras have gotten lighter, stabilization has actually gotten more complex; a heavy object shakes less, after all. DJI, though, feels it has the latest with its new stabilization system, the DJI Ronin.
One Adrift On The Waves
The Ronin is actually pretty simple in terms of design: DJI just took its quite good gimbal system off their popular line of drones, buffed it up a bit to handle more weight, and tweaked the software a bit, and boom: A handheld image stabilization system. But, man, what a system.
Balance And Control
Most stabilization systems are physical in nature: Essentially, you have a free-floating handle, a weight at the bottom to balance the camera, and then you move around. Most systems will have features like an arm brace for stability.
The Ronin, however, does away with all that and instead uses a series of motors to adjust for shake, wobble, and other potential shot-ruining problems. The idea is that instead of setting up elaborate flying wire systems or hours laying down dolly track, you plug in the battery, set up your camera, let the Ronin calibrate, and then grab it and start shooting.
Stable As She Goes
Of course, hard-bitten indie film people will immediately object to yet another damn object on the set needing another battery, but, of course, there are plenty of stabilization systems out there for those needs. A bigger concern is what DJI wants for this system. Their drones aren’t really a good price guide, but we’re assuming that complicated robot arms with equally complex software aren’t exactly going to cost pennies, and so far there are claims it’ll cost $3000. We’ll know more when the Ronin is released later this year.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.