Smartphone cameras have been getting some powerful photography software and firmware these days. Take the iPhone's time lapse feature, for example, which allows you to create exciting videos of very slow-moving objects by filming them over a long period of time. Without a tripod, such videos will be very shaky, and depending on the angle, you might not be able to just rest your phone on a stable surface like with your old point-and-shoot camera. This is a job for special smartphone tripods like the new Hobie, a ring-shaped device developed by Overlab's Mattia Ciucciarelli that your phone can sit in while it holds it steady and rotates around.
Aside from being thoughtfully designed, Hobie also has some additional features that can make for some neat special effects as well.
Hobie's inspiration is DIY: its base was inspired by a mechanical rotating kitchen timer. Thus you can set Hobie to rotate automatically over a certain period time, capturing a wider field of vision and replicating an effect often seen in professional time-lapse videos (especially those astronomy videos).
"The choice to use that product, giving a new life to it, was the first constraint and all the developing of this project rotates around it," wrote Ciucciarelli. "I chose that timer because is the most resistant, his shape is the simplest, and is the most common to find in case of replacement... But also the timer itself has a mechanical engine inside, that means you don’t need to recharge any battery every time."
Using a kitchen timer is even suggested in some smartphone time-lapse how-to videos.
A stretchy bungee attachment on the inside of the ring allows you keep your phone securely in place and fine-tune its angle. It is compatible with wide variety of smartphones, as long as they are thinner than 8cm.
Hobie will come in four colors, white, blue, black and clear, making for a friendly "family" from which you can choose your favorite. A Kickstarter campaign to get it distributed on overlap.net, on Amazon, and in few selected shops around London has already exceeded its fundraising goal of $15,689.