Imagine going on a solo camping trip filled with the most picturesque of locations and scenery. A typical photographer’s paradise, of course. Now imagine doing this alone. Imagine having no second person to help you compose your shots or decide your frame. Many of the nature loving photographers usually need a second opinion on the shots they wish to take. So how about you fill the photographer’s role with a robot? A Soloshot, more accurately.
Enter the Robot Cameraman SOLOSHOT 2 (SS2) which is essentially a two-part system and has a starting price of $400. On the camera end is a motorized two-axis gimbal called the “base” that pans and tilts the attached camera so that it is always pointed at the desired subject – wherever it moves. On the subject end is a device called the “tag”. The radio signals emitted by the tag are the key to keeping the subject under the camera’s unflinching eye.
The Solo Shot comes in a bundle which includes the base and tag previously mentioned as well as a tripod, a Camera Controller, and a Sony CX240 video camera. The Camera Controller provides an interface between the camera itself and the SS2. This opens up additional features such as automatic zooming as the subject get further away and also the ability to start/stop recording remotely via the tag.
The Setup and Operation
The entire set up requires some amount of dedicated time, however, if the instruction are followed correctly the entire process seems pretty easy. There are numerous configuration options to tailor how the SS2 behaves. Of particular use are the tilt options. When using the Camera Controller, you have three different zoom options as well.
Using the SS2 is no herculean task either. The SS2 does very well tracking on the Pan-axis. The system comes with an armband and clip for attaching the tag to a person. However, the more the camera tilts and rotates, the more amount of sound it will produce and it is extremely evident in the resulting video.
Other than photography of a tagged object the camera can do more like You can download an application that allows you to define specific motion of the SS2 base over time. With the camera controller, it will also command a compatible DSLR camera to take photos at a set frequency. There are also built-in features that allow you to use multiple tags in different ways. There is also a setup that may provide additional range or reduce the required output power for the FPV (First Person view) system to be effective.
Overall the SoloShot seems to pretty effective in a robotic sense, for becoming your secondary camera man. The only downside is that the equipment may be slightly heavy to carry around freely, so you may need extra experience with it.
All in all, the Soloshot is something you’d want to give a shot to, especially if you’re a budding photographer.