Swivl and Action!

Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive telepresence device or you’re looking for a cameraman that doesn’t have much to say, Swivl is a great option. You can think of it as an interactive tripod for your iPhone that allows you to get more out of Facetime and Skype. Now you can actually move around the room and not be restricted to the frame to maintain a conversation. The system comes with two parts, the base and the pendant. Wearing the pendant users can roam around, while Swivl keeps the subject centered in the frame. The quality is quite good and produces better, more engaging video than just a simple stationary shot. You can also minimize editing later on, by not having to cut, setup another shot, and start up again. Other obvious advantages include the ability to track objects other than faces, and depending upon lighting conditions, some face tracking apps have difficulty with certain skin tones. I’ve read some guys are looking to attach the pendant to a drone and see what kind of trouble they can get into. If you are using an iPhone, there is an external mic feature that works quite well. I should also point out that using your iPad is a bad idea, but if you’ve got a mini, you’re in luck.

This version of the Swivl doesn’t support Android devices, but you can get some limited functionality. If that is really a downside then read on. The new Swivl shown above. This version is actually the first iteration of Swivl. A recently funded Kickstarter project has version 2.0 which is more adaptable to full size tablets, Android OS and DSLR cameras. You can check out the new Swivl here. They anticipate implementing mention gesture controls, but I’ve yet to find any working examples. It is currently only available for SDK partners.

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