SmartCAM Horizon is a brushless stabilizer for monitors that has been designed specifically for Steadicam and gimbal operators. Now there is very little information currently available about this new product and the company who are making it, SmartSystem, only have one small video on their website. So what does it do, and what do we currently know? Well, let’s find out.
Steadicam operators often face a problem when they move the sled from high mode to low mode. When changing between these two modes the Steadicam usually has to be rebalanced so that the system will work properly. Now to overcome this problem the SmartCAM Horizon as its name suggests, keeps your monitor horizontal at all times no matter what mode you are using your Steadicam in. So when you move your Steadicam from the high to low mode, or vice versa, you don’t need to re-balance the rig.
The SmartCAM Horizon works in exactly the same way as any normal monitor support, but when the Steadicam rolls or goes from high to low mode, the brushless stabilisers in the SmartCAM Horizon orientate the monitor to keep it perfectly positioned without the need for re-adjustment. The system supports most monitors between 5-9″ in size.
The SmartCAM Horizon has a removable counterweight system for both the horizontal and vertical axis so users can adjust and balance their monitor depending on the which model they happen to be using. When I contacted SmartSystem and asked how the SmartCAM Horizon attaches to a Stedicam or gimbal, how it is powered, how much it weighs and how long it takes to set up and install, I was told “Horizon can be attached to steadicam via a standard monitor attachment since it is between these two elements. Obviousl,y we’ll manufacture every kind of attachment for the various steadicams as well as for compatible gimbals. The Horizon can be powered via a standard Vlock voltage (the operator can take the power from the sled). As far as setting it up goes, It’s very straightforward. Attach the monitor to it, balance it like a “gimbal” (ie the monitor must to be balanced respect to center axis of Horizon) and power it up. The counterweight can be moved vertically and horizontally in order to take into account the design of the monitor.”
In the case of the ARRI Trinity system, it can already move seemlessly from high mode to low mode due to the unique head that is used on the sled. For operators to see what they were doing they positioned a little monitor on the hand of the sled. The main issue is that this monitor is quite small and then you have to run cables to and from the sled. With this in mind, the SmartCAM Horizon looks like it also may work quite well on the Trinity.
For gimbal operators you can attach the Horizon with any brand of monitor you may have to say a Ronin2 or MoVi PRO on top of your sled and then you are ready to go.
A couple of years ago we saw Redrock Micro Orbit Monitor Positioning System (MPS). This is a motorised monitor mount with a thumb controller. Press a button on the controller and you can activate a ‘follow me’ mode that uses a sensor to automatically position the monitor in the right place for you to view it correctly. The sensor uses sonar and continuously measures the distance to the ground. Now this product is made for gimbals and not Steadicams
There is currently no indication of pricing for the SmartCAM Horizon, but last time I talked to SmartSystem they told me it should be available within a month. Are you a Steadicam operator? What do you think of the SmartCAM Horizon? Let us know in the comments section below.