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Invisible flying camera tutorial and review of the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere selfie stick

invisible flying camera with Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere selfie stick
invisible flying camera with Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere selfie stick

Here is a review of the new dedicated selfie stick for the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere, and a quick tutorial on how to do the invisible flying camera effect.

Seen one selfie stick, seen ’em all?  Not this time.   The dedicated selfie stick for the Mi Sphere is totally invisible, and can control the Mi Sphere without batteries!  Here’s my video review:

INVISIBLE FLYING CAMERA TUTORIAL

To do the invisible flying camera effect, you need a 360 camera and a selfie stick that is narrow enough to fit between the lenses of the 360 camera, such as the dedicated selfie stick.  If possible, the 360 camera should be stabilized (but even a non-stabilized 360 camera can work if you are only moving it horizontally).

As of September 7, 2017, the 360 cameras that have stabilization include the Xiaomi Mi Sphere, the Insta360 ONE, the Garmin Virb 360.  The Insta360 Air and Insta360 Nano also have stabilization but must be attached to a phone.

Here are the steps:

1.  Attach the 360 camera in-line to the selfie stick.
2.  Hold the selfie stick with your hand at a fixed, natural-looking position.
3.  Start the recording and pan the camera using only your wrist movement.   Note: for Xiaomi Mi Sphere, you must wait at least 5 seconds after powering on before you record, and you must also ensure the camera is upright when you start the recording.
If you want a 360 video, that’s all you need to do.  But if you want to convert the 360 video into a 16:9 non-360 video, you need to use Insta360 Studio, a free software.

ABOUT THE SELFIE STICK

As you can see in the video, the dedicated selfie stick is totally invisible to the camera (as long as the camera is positioned in-line with the selfie stick).

It’s true that there are other selfie sticks that are invisible but the other key feature is that the Mi Sphere’s selfie stick can control the camera without needing any batteries.  Rather than using a Bluetooth connection, it uses the electrical contacts at the base of the Mi Sphere (I believe pressing the button on the selfie stick merely completes the circuit).  It’s a clever feature and it’s very convenient that I don’t have to connect via Bluetooth before using the selfie stick.  And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought a Bluetooth remote only to find out that the battery is drained.  With this selfie stick, you won’t have to worry about that at all!

The Mi Sphere does have a Bluetooth capability, which is still unused (it won’t work with generic bluetooth remotes, nor does it work with the remote for the Xiaomi action camera) so I am supposing there will be a Bluetooth remote accessory in the future.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the dedicated selfie stick for Xiaomi:

+ Invisible to the Xiaomi because of its very narrow width
+ Can control the Xiaomi without a phone (turn it on, switch modes, shutter)
+ Doesn’t need a wireless connnection
+ Doesn’t need a battery; don’t need to worry about turning it off
+ compact; can fit in your pants pocket
+ High build quality
+ shaft is reasonably stiff
+ Can be used with other cameras (somewhat)
o length is about average (70 cm from base to tip)
– has no 1/4-20 tripod hole at the bottom
– hinge can flop over

To summarize, yes I would highly recommend this selfie stick for its convenience.

WHERE TO BUY

Incidentally, the Mi Sphere camera is on sale for $206.99! (Limit: 2 per person; only 50 units at this price).  If that’s used up, here are other discounts!

The selfie stick is now available from GearBest for around $22 — use the code GB10% to get 10% discount!

Thanks to the Mi Sphere Facebook group and thanks to Jason Wang and his amazing team!