Get A Grip On Stability

Product Design + Video Production + Feedback

Firmly Grasp It!

This journal entry was inspired by GravGrip on 6/2/20.

I randomly stumbled upon the GravGrip and am so stoked about this product that I joined Kickstarter just to back it! Although hesitant with all the horror stories I've heard from the crowdfunding community, I feel confident about this one. Especially when they're seemingly the first to put forward a solution like this. There simply haven't been any offerings in the way of batteryless stabilizers that are lightweight, compact, versatile, and actually work.

GravGrip Hydraulic Camera Stabilizer

GravGrip is a pocket-sized hydraulic stabilizer made for smartphones, action cameras, and smaller DSLRs. The battery-free operation, affordable pricepoint, and waterproof design convinced me to buy. Seriously, what more could you want from a gimbal that comes with a handgrip, premium extension pole, and tripod adapter for under $100? Which is still less than the starting price of most electronic gimbals. Based on their product tour video, the GravGrip beats those entry-level gimbals in every product performance category. So what makes this a stand-out product worth your time?

  • It works via batteryless hydraulics means one less piece of gear that needs charging prior to production.
  • It's designed to work in conjunction with longer extension poles so handheld tracking, crane, and javelin style camera movements will be smoother and easier to achieve on set.
  • Early Kickstart backers could save upwards of 50% off MSRP. Those who preorder through the active IndieGoGo campaign can save up to 33% off.

I claimed the Early Bird GravGrip With Extension Pole perk along with the 2 bonus pledge items (tripod adapter and small hand grip). Beyond the GravGrip itself, I'm very excited about the premium, all-aluminum extension pole. So much of what's on the market is either mostly plastic or uses plastic components that flex and wear out. I totally lucked out with the one-day early bird special too! Big thanks to the GravGrip team for offering that level of discount on top of the premium accessories. I cannot wait to receive them and put my new GravGrip to work!

Quick Shipping Update 8/1/20

Updates have been coming in pretty steadily from Kevin at GravGrip throughout the Kickstarter campaign and into the new pre-order campaign on IndieGoGo. Here's what I've learned so far from those updates and their social posts.

  1. The product packaging is eco-friendly with minimal GravGrip branding which I'm a fan of. Without flashy packaging, first impressions with a product are more honest. Nothing getting in the way of or influencing the perception of quality. Just the product presented as-is. This approach makes me feel like more of the purchase price goes into developing the product itself rather than packaging destined for the recycling bin. Better still, less processing of packaging materials means less pollution from manufacturing and more streamlined packaging means less packaging material is used overall.
  2. The initial round of backer surveys, which confirms your order and shipping information has officially closed. Meaning the fulfillment phase is finally here and I will soon have the GravGrip in my possession. Once it gets here, I plan on putting it through a gimbal gauntlet and sharing my findings in an in-depth review. In the meantime, check out my The Ultimate GoPro Gear Guide For 2020 review.
  3. The premium extension pole and smartphone adapter manufacturing and packaging for the first batch of shipments is good to go. From what I've seen via their Instagram story make it looks like the pole's premium moniker is well deserved.

Much of my video production workflow is GoPro Hero based and while HyperSmooth 2.0 is amazing, it is imperfect. From my experience, the GoPro Hero 8 handles vertical or horizontal stabilization well individually. But it tends to struggle handling both in combination. It just needs a little bit of extra assistance to achieve super buttery smooth footage. I've always found it hard to justify keeping tabs on and carrying around another powered piece of gear when the GoPro Hero alone gets me 80% of the way there. My sincerest hope is that the GravGrip is everything I believe it will be. The extra assistance may even enable me to use less aggressive GoPro Hero stabilization settings and avoid the excess cropping that accompanies them.

I'm legitimately excited about GravGrip because I've tried a bunch of different gimbals. The powered ones were too expensive, often overly complicated, and had insufficient battery life. While the non-powered gimbals tended to be bulky and require literal weights. I'll save my reps for the gym, not the film set. So my compact gear bag has been missing this useful tool for quite some time. Now thanks to GravGrip, I've just got to wait until September. Which can't come soon enough.

Opportunities For Improvement

I recently produced a comprehensive GoPro production gear review and commercial. On both productions, something like the GravGrip would have been extremely useful. Especially for all the motion shots: reducing stomp jitter, maintaining a more consistent horizon, enabling a wider range of motion via an extension pole. Without the wobble and roll commonly associated with extending lightweight cameras while moving. Such issues do at times force me to choose stationary shots over planned motion ones. That's always a bit of a bummer. I'm hoping the GravGrip will consistently help me overcome those issues and better achieve my vision as a creator. In the meantime, I reviewed the Kickstarter campaign comment section before writing this and wanted to reinforce some good points I saw.

  1. A slim profile zip-up case or bag to hold the GravGrip, extension pole, and small hand grip would be dope. Although finding a compatible case or bag after the fact should be fairly easy, providing one out the gate would mitigate the need for that research, add a premium touch to the product experience, and enhance grab-and-go convenience. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or even very structured. A soft bag style case would be fine with me as long as it zips up. Please do not go the drawstring route. They make transportation only slightly less unruly than nothing at all. Zip-up is the way.
    • I've had conversations with Kevin, the founder of GravGrip in the Kickstarter campaign's comment section. He had this to say about my suggestion: I love the idea of a zipper bag for the handle. I'm picturing a nice grey fabric with an exterior zipper pocket that would hold a GoPro and GravGrip! I'm in talks with a few companies about having some samples made.. He's definitely picking up what I'm putting down. A medium gray with a slight blueish tint to bring in the branding colors. Bright blue rubber wrapped black zipper pull strings (try saying that 5 times fast) would be a nice premium touch as well. This suggestion might actually make it into the end product, which would be awesome.
  2. A compact collapsible tripod base for the premium grip would be great. Time on set is always a factor and I tend to switch back and forth between stationary and motion shots. Especially on smaller productions where it's much more run-and-gun style filmmaking. Having the ability to transition between handheld and tripod seamlessly would be very helpful. Understandably this solution is much easier to achieve for GoPro Heros and smartphones than for mid-sized DSLRs. A tripod base design that could support heavier setups would likely trend towards being bulky and unreliable. There are lots of good aftermarket options for collapsible, threaded tripod bases that maybe GravGrip doesn't have to make one specifically. I've seen it mentioned a few times that they want to keep their accessory offerings very focused. Especially during these early stages. Good on them! Perhaps a partner could help fill that void with a white-label or cross-sell option. Either way, I'll definitely be adding a threaded tripod base to my premium extension pole.
    • As far as this suggestion goes, Kevin commented I think we are going to keep our accessories line as small as possible due to the endless competition in that market!. Which makes sense. It's a saturated accessory segment and I honestly already have a few laying around. That said, props to GravGrip for adding a threaded base to the premium extension pole. That to me is an often overlooked feature that increases versatility.

All that said, I want to caution the GravGrip team on overextending themselves. That is extremely tempting, particularly when campaign and funding goals are exceeded. Or in their case, smashed! Please, first and foremost deliver on the promises made so far. I'd rather get my GravGrip sooner and fund future accessory or phase 2 enhancement campaigns then have delivery on this one delayed. Instead, focus on knocking this release out of the park. If it lives up to the vision they've shared so far, I will happily endorse and evangelize GravGrip.

I've already had a few really great interactions with Kevin at GravGrip. He's been responding to every comment left on their Kickstarter. It's clear that Kevin is passionate about the GravGrip and is excited to bring it to market. His quality communications give me continued confidence that this will be a successful Kickstarter. Currently, the GravGrip is slated to ship in September 2020. Until then, I'm patiently waiting on the next update, which have been fairly consistent. Special congratulations to everyone at GravGrip for a wildly successful campaign and I look forward to following their journey. You can too at www.gravgrip.com.

Lumin8 Full Spectrum Light

I anticipate the buttery smooth stabilization of the GravGrip will pair perfectly with TheLumin8 Full Spectrum. This 4ft, full-color tube light offers up to 12 hours of battery. Oh yeah, and it's freaking waterproof! I have been searching high and low for a production light with this streamlined form factor and feature set. I can't wait until they ship later this summer! Although their Kickstarter campaign is over, you can still pre-order the Full Spectrum through their IndieGoGo page. They also have a 16.5in version called the Spectrum that's available now at Lumin8.

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