Is this finally the stabiliser that convinces me to use gimbals?
They are certain trends in internet filmmaking that I dislike, the overuse of slow-mo, unnecessary B-Roll and the slew of gimbals used for absolutely everything. So when we had the opportunity to try out the AK4500 from FeiyuTech I was a little unsure, but there was no way I was gonna let Pete get his hands on something this nice!!
So what’s different about this gimbal from all the others and what is it that I actually like about it? Firstly the AK4500’s form factor see’s it sit somewhere between a small mirrorless gimbal, a full cine cam steadicam and a magicians toy, but more on that not so gimmicky toy later.
It’s incredibly well built, way beyond it’s price point, with it’s 3 brushless motors carrying a crazy 4kg max payload. Which insanely means that this gimbal could actually carry our Canon C100.
Next up is how easy this thing is to use. My issue with all the stabilisers we’ve had and used over the years is how much of a pain in the ass they are to get to the point of use. It’s another piece of gear to pack and take on shoots. You then are sat there for half an hour whilst they’re balanced and set up, all usually to capture just 30 seconds of useable footage. The AK4500 does a great job of removing that key hurdle, time. For sure, there is some setup and balancing time, but that’s a lot easier than expected. And most importantly Once it is balanced the axis’s can all be locked, allowing for packing of the balanced gimbal, ready for the shoot.
Beyond that run n gun friendly setting up, you have the quick release plate, meaning if you’re using a one cam set up, you can literally have your camera gimbal free in seconds, without effecting the balancing of it. I love that as you can now really easily not have to lose the organic authenticity of straight handheld shooting from your videos if you’re using this gimbal for some of your clips.
The easy to navigate screen and programmable jog wheel all add to this ease of use. And in truth it’s the ease of use that ensure bits of gear like this actually get used and don’t get left behind. FeiyuTech have done an awesome job of approaching this gimbal’s design, thinking like a video shooter and have successfully managed to remove the hurdles to use, that gimbals often give.
And by far the biggest hurdle they’ve overcome, that a lot of the competition hasn’t yet figured out is the reliance on smart phone apps to control them. I HATE smartphone apps, especially for ‘main camera’ shooting like this. Of course there is a smartphone app, but it’s completely optional here. In fact it’s less than optional, it’s pretty redundant once you bust out the magic wand.
Sure that gyroscopic accelerometer control is a little gimmicky, but having a remote control that doubles as a second handle is far from gimmicky. The physical controls are excellent, super well built, throughout and all round responsive and useful. I actually low key love the magic wand thing. In truth the physical controls all over the gimbal are so good they really are the key selling points of the AK4500.
And of course finally it does an awesome job at stabilising your footage, but that’s kind of given, right?!
So in summary, FeiyuTech have done an awesome job at approaching a products design from the filmmakers perspective and have produced a genuinely useable gimbal, one, that probably for the first time I’m more than happy to use. From stabilising the footage from my tiny blackmagic pocket cine cam, right through to making our C100 even more run n gun, the AK4500 kinda ticks all the boxes I need and yeah finally sees me actually wanting to use a gimbal for the first time!!
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