Click­ing away — movie di­rec­tors in the mak­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG -

Choi had spent six years con­duct­ing re­search and devel­op­ment be­fore com­ing up with a three-axis, hand­held sta­bi­lizer for cam­eras and mo­bile phones.

The new sta­bi­lizer, or hand-held gim­bal, trans­fers the au­to­matic sta­bi­liz­ing and co­or­di­nat­ing sys­tem of a UAV (un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle) to hand- held equip­ment, ex­plains Choi. Armed with the ex­pe­ri­ence of hav­ing been a UAV agent him­self, he’s thus fa­mil­iar with the tech­nique.

Choi founded SwiftCam Tech­nolo­gies Group Co Ltd in 2015 in Hong Kong with the goal of de­vel­op­ing and mar­ket­ing the gim­bal.

The new de­vice, called M4, con­sists of three mo­tors, a po­si­tioner and a sen­sor — all on a stick-like de­vice.

When the user is mov­ing, the po­si­tioner can have the de­vice fixed at the spot the cam­era has to be. The sen­sor can tell the an­gle and dis­tance re­quired while the mo­tors of­fer the ex­act force needed from var­i­ous di­rec­tions.

Be­sides hard­ware, the equip­ment comes with an ap­pli­ca­tion, al­low­ing more func­tions, such as au­to­matic face track­ing, re­mote con­trol and dif­fer­ent au­to­mated shoot­ing modes.

In ad­di­tion, M4 has a uni­ver­sal ex­pan­sion in­ter­face, sup­port­ing a se­ries of ac­ces­sories, such as ex­tra lights and trac­ing mod­ule, ac­cord­ing to Choi.

The de­vice also sup­ports ver­ti­cal shoot­ing, a func­tion that many hand-held gim­bal de­vel­op­ers have ne­glected. “We’ve come up with these func­tions, based on our own ex­pe­ri­ence in video stream­ing and talk­ing to many users.”

Live video stream­ing among in­ter­net celebri­ties is be­com­ing pop­u­lar in Hong Kong and they need con­ve­nient sta­bi­liz­ing de­vices, says Choi.

As an in­ter­net celebrity, his Face­book has lured more than 80,000 fol­low­ers.

“We’ve made sev­eral Face­book pages to at­tract po­ten­tial users,” he says. SwiftCam now tar­gets mainly video fans in Hong Kong and Tai­wan.

Yvonne Wong, vice-pres­i­dent of the In­ter­net Pro­fes­sion­als As­so­ci­a­tion, be­lieves the mar­ket for hand-held gim­bal prod­ucts in Hong Kong has high growth po­ten­tial as the live video stream­ing in­dus­try flour­ishes.

“But, sev­eral well-known brands have en­tered our mar­ket, so new star­tups have to do a lot more to grab a slice of the pie.”

World lead­ing drone maker Shen­zhen- based DJI launched its hand-held gim­bal Osmo in 2015, while Guilin Feiyu Tech­nol­ogy Inc, based in the Guangxi Zhuang au­tonomous re­gion, has also joined the fray.

Choi, how­ever, seems un­per­turbed. “We have var­i­ous dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels. Firstly, we can sell them di­rectly to our fans on Face­book, and we’ve also teamed up with elec­tron­ics mar­ket­places, such as Fortress and Broad­way.”

But, that seems still not enough for the ver­sa­tile en­tre­pre­neur. He has gone into part­ner­ships with com­mod­ity re­tail­ers, such as chil­dren’s cloth­ing, as well as pet stores.

In­ter­net video is not a form of en­ter­tain­ment — it has be­come a key chan­nel for re­tail­ers to try to draw new cus­tomers, hold them to­gether and get more of their prod­ucts into the mar­ket — says Choi.

SwiftCam boasts hav­ing sold about 20,000 M3 units so far — their last ver­sion of the hand-held gim­bal with a price tag of HK$1,200 each. Their new prod­uct, M4, will hit the mar­ket in April with a monthly sales tar­get of 1,000 pieces.

“The hand- held gim­bal has be­come a tool that can help users earn more money, so they’re more will­ingly to in­vest in it,” Choi points out.

The only bar­rier, it ap­pears, is the price com­pared to that of the pop­u­lar selfie stick.

“Per­haps, mass pro­duc­tion could, one day, bring the cost down,” he sur­mises.

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