I was recently asked to shoot some footage using the BeeWorks 5, a handheld camera stabilization system in the same vein as another stabilizer I've used recently, the Movi M5. I had recently purchased the Sony A7S, and was looking for opportunities to push its low light capabilities. Ballard boat docks at dusk, anyone? Check it out. The BW05 and the Sony A7S made for a beautiful, fun evening of soggy shooting.
Despite the fact that the BW05 I used was still under development, it proved to be extremely easy to operate and I found myself getting beautiful stuff almost right away. For those of you that are curious, I'll quickly list the differences I noticed between the BeeWorks 5 and the Movi M5.
- Right out of the box, the BW05's beautiful physical shape and structure will catch your attention. The M5 looks clunky lined up next to the BW05, there's just no other way to put it. The BW05 is beautiful, the M5 is relatively homely.
- The BW05 felt surprisingly light. The guys at Beeworks said it weighs less than 4 pounds. The M5 weighs just under 5 pounds.
- Balancing my A7S was very easy on the BW05. Aluminum thumb screws were easy to loosen/tighten to quickly adjust the camera position. The M5 uses a series of pressure clamps, which were also easy to use and felt a little heftier than the aluminum thumb screws. That being said, the screws on the BW05 felt very secure and I never worried about the camera's safety. It took me longer to balance the A7S on the M5, but that may have been because the M5 was the very first camera stabilizer I'd ever used, so it would probably be much easier for me to balance my camera on it now.
- Why doesn't the M5 come with an easy way to mount my monitor? It seems like such a small thing...but the fact that the BW05 comes with a standard monitor mount already installed is such a nice feature. One of my worst memories with the M5 was figuring out how to mount my monitor (it may be that LensRentals forgot to send a necessary attachment...?). Regardless, the BW05's monitor mount is simple and elegant.
- The M5's software was not easy to figure out, but once I tripped my way through it a few times, it was reliable and able to get me up and running without much trouble. The guys at BeeWorks told me their software will be available soon, and they say it will be more intuitive than the M5's. For this shoot, the BW05 was tuned ahead of time by the guys at BeeWorks. So, the jury is still out on their software and its ease of use.
- The handlebar was much easier to reposition and customize on the BW05 than on the M5. It is pretty easy to adjust the handlebar position on the M5, but the BW05 makes it even easier.
Ok, you can probably tell that I am a big fan of the BW05. I didn't push its limits with regards to camera weight (the A7S is a pretty small camera) and there are lots of things that the guys at BeeWorks say it will be able to do when it is released in April which I'm really excited about, but haven't seen firsthand yet (including internal HDMI routing and a kinetic remote). Even so, from what I did see the BW05 will be my first choice in camera stabilization once it is released in April: it's easy to use, lightweight, and a beautiful piece of equipment. Oh, and it really works.