SteddiePod Review

The SteddiePod is a unique video camera stabilization device.  It serves the function of multiple camera accessories – and does most of them quite well.

The SteddiePod looks a lot like a monopod.  And, in a way, it is sort of a glorified monopod.  But it’s also a lot more.  The three prongs sticking out of the bottom of the SteddiePod serve as ballasts for keeping the device . . . well . . . steady, as you maneuver with a camcorder on the head.

And, speaking of the head, the fluid head equipped with the SteddiePod works much better than I expected.  While it’s no 501HDV, it is pretty smooth.

While the three prongs help you balance the SteddiePod for fluid movement, they also serve up double duty as a quasi-tripod support.  Set the SteddiePod on the ground and you have a pretty comfortable tripod to work with.  I put my foot on top of one of the prongs to aid in the stabilization of the unit when panning or tilting, but it works great.

The great thing about the form factor of the SteddiePod is that you can get in close to it when in tight environments because it takes up the space of a monopod.  Try walking your tripod to the middle of a dance floor or other crowded location.  With the SteddiePod, you can be in and out before anyone notices you’ve been there.

Since the SteddiePod has three leg sections, you can extend it all the way up and rest the “feet” on your waist/thighs to make a camera boom.  With a little practice, you can put together some pretty cool ad-hoc jib moves.

Finally, you can flip the SteddiePod upside down for low mode to create some doggie camera shots.  It works surprisingly well.  Just flip your footage in post-production and you’ve got some unique angles to work with.

The flying of the SteddiePod is the toughest thing to get the hang of.  And, I’ve certainly seen some folks make better and smoother use of it than I have.  However, it is definitely a versatile and useful tool.  One that, with enough practice, could be your jack-of-all-trades stabilization platform – no matter what you’re shooting.

You can check some short samples of what types of shots you can get with the SteddiePod in the following video.

While my technique could use a bit of polishing in some of those shots, you get the idea about the versatility of the SteddiePod.  The shots that aren’t shown in that video include simple blocked off shots, along with pans and tilts via the SteddiePod’s fluid head.  Add all these shots together and you’ve got one powerful little cinema tool here.

I was surprised by how much I liked the SteddiePod.  Wedding and event videographers are going to want one of these if they ever try one out for themselves.  It’s just too efficient not to have in a professional kit.  Enthusiasts, on the other hand, may be turned off by the price tag, which is close to $400.  In any event, it’s a unique and useful tool that looks like it pretty much sits alone in the market right now.

The Barber Tech SteddiePod is available from Tech Tilt’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following link:

SteddiePod at B&H Photo

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Comments

  1. Jeff Higbee says

    I’ve noticed that this product is now $500. Do you know anywhere to get a better deal on this? I am interested in getting one. I have a Canon XHA1, semi heavy camera. Would you recommend getting a manfrotto head (501HD) in place of the one it comes with? I was told that the camera plate was weak and can snap off. Thanks!

    • says

      I didn’t think the head/plate was that bad on the SteddiePod, and I think it would be fine with the XHA1. I certainly don’t think it’s going to snap off. Obviously, a better head would make things a bit smoother, but the 501HD is going to add even more weight to the setup. I used the SteddiePod with a Canon 1D Mark IV and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens with no problems. I’d say try it with the existing head before you shell out another $180 on a new head.

  2. Mot says

    I’m checking to see if anyone else has had problems with the barber boom.
    I purchased a barber boom 16′ with remote head. After receiving and assembling it, it was evident that it had some design flaws as it does not operate correctly. Within a week after receiving the Barber Boom i called the company to return it.
    They said they do not take returns. Nowhere on there website of during any conversations with them is there statements of nonreturnable. They finally agreed to return 60% of the purchase price.
    Has anyone had these problems with the Barber Boom Company?

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