Motion control rigs capable of repeatedly recreating smooth, controlled camera movements usually cost tens of thousands of dollars, and they require trained operators to set up and use. But Edelkrone’s new SurfaceONE costs just $690 and apparently can be configured in just a few minutes using a smartphone app as a remote control.
The rigs used in Hollywood, often for complicated special effect shots that require multiple takes, aren’t going to be replaced by the SurfaceONE anytime soon. Edelkrone’s creation can only move in two-dimensions as it rolls around on a flat surface, the camera itself can’t autonomously tilt or swivel. But thanks to a built-in laser pointer that makes it easier to set up a shot, you can ensure your subject will always be in frame as the camera slowly arcs around it.
Because it’s not locked to a track that’s securely bolted to the floor of a soundstage, the SurfaceONE is also limited when it comes to how accurately it can reproduce a specific movement again and again without tiny shifts or deviations in its movements. It’s not ideal if you intend to layer multiple takes in a piece of compositing software afterwards, but that’s not how Edelkrone intends for this accessory to be used.
The SurfaceONE is instead designed to replace cumbersome camera dollies and tracks for capturing smooth tracking, panning, or dolly shots with a DSLR, mirrorless camera, or even a smartphone. Movements can be programmed and adjusted using the accompanying app, including how slowly the camera needs to move.
As a result, the tiny motion-controlled device seems especially useful for capturing timelapse footage where the camera isn’t static, as movements can be programmed to play out for as long as 60 days. But the SurfaceONE’s most important feature is that it may simply help democratize filmmaking, making it easier for storytellers to create compelling films and capture footage that looks like it was created by a multi-million dollar Hollywood film crew.