What do you call stabilization that seems smoother than a gimbal? At Insta360, they call it “FlowState!” Check out this amazing demo!
Insta360 posted a teaser video that hinted at a new technology for super smooth stabilization. A part of the video showed an unnamed camera mounted on a dog, and is able to keep the camera steady despite the dog bounding — something that at least some gimbals would not be able to do. The video also shows other interesting things, but first here’s the video:
The video shows several interesting things:
The first scene is a camera following a skateboarder at a skate park. The video is completely stable, even in the last part of that segment where the cameraman went up and out of the bowl as well.
Besides the stabilization, I found it interesting that the camera maintained a forward view. Normally, when a 360 camera is stabilized, it will hold a fixed direction (let’s say always east, or always north). The video instead showed a forward view. It’s possible that it might have been a demo of the camera’s Smart Tracking capability, but I noticed that the subject wasn’t always in the same spot in the frame (e.g. not always in the middle), so I don’t think it was done through Smart Track.
It might also have been done through key framing, although the movement seems too organic and natural.
One intriguing possibility is that Insta360 might have added forward-view stabilization, just like a few other 360 cameras such as the GoPro Fusion (reviewed here), Rylo (reviewed here), and Garmin Virb 360.
RUNNING DOG SCENE
The next segment in the video shows the camera attached to a dog, a demo first made popular by Rylo. The video first showed the unstabilized view with the camera bouncing everywhere as a dog chases a frisbee, and then a silky smooth stabilized view, even with the dog running. It’s a very convincing demo that Insta360’s new FlowState does work exceptionally well. And if it can handle a running dog, you can bet it can stabilize pretty much anything else you throw at it.
The third part of the video is a shot of a butterfly. As the butterfly flits to and fro, the camera follows it steadily. It’s a demonstration of stabilization but also appears to be a demonstration of incredible tracking capabilities.
Insta360 released Smart Tracking for the Insta360 ONE last year, and the feature was also added by Rylo to their camera. I found that Smart Tracking worked, but that it couldn’t follow fast movement.
If this is a demo of a new and improved Smart Tracking, then wow I am impressed. The butterfly’s flight is very erratic yet the camera was able to track it. Actually, there were two white butterflies and it seems the camera got confused and switched to the other butterfly, but still, it is very, very impressive. I’m curious if the new technology will be able to track my daughter playing soccer with other girls wearing the same uniform…. hmmm…. 🙂
CITY SCENE HYPERLAPSE
The last segment in the video is a hyperlapse scene. Hyperlapse is like a timelapse, but the camera is moving. The first 360 camera to have hyperlapse was Rylo (Insta360 clearly has them as a target). But Insta360’s demo showed the camera changing speeds, with the speed ramping up and down (it wasn’t a gradual change though so technically it’s not ramping but still…). By contrast, Rylo’s current app can apply only one speed throughout the video.
What the video does not explicitly say is which camera they used to shoot it. But as I’ve mentioned many times before, there will be an update to Insta360 One that will add Rylo-like stabilization. It seems to make sense that the camera used in the video is the Insta360 One (unless Insta360 has yet another camera, just a couple of months after releasing the Nano S…???). I guess we’ll find out on March 20!
In any case, the new technologies show how Insta360 has been focused on creating ways to use 360 cameras to improve the way we create traditional, ‘flat’ non-360 videos — which is something that I also emphasize here on 360Rumors.com and on my YouTube videos, as the best path for 360 cameras to succeed in the mainstream IMHO.
What do you think of the demos? Did you find them impressive or not? Let me know in the comments, and please let me know also if you have any questions about the new demos. I will do my best to find out the answers! You can also sign up to be notified on Insta360’s website.