Last update: Dec 16, 2022 – I’ve been playing with the new Hohem iSteady V2 handheld AI gimbal for Smartphones on my Samsung S22 Ultra phone. First things first, after opening the box, I went off to the Google Play Store and found the HOHEM PRO App.
Firstly a small negative to get it out of the way – mounting my S22 Ultra phone into the iSteady V2 – the latter is meant to handle phones up to 11mm thick – I’m not sure what they were thinking about but many phones are thicker than that, especially with protective backs. I have a thin gel back for my (expensive) S22 phone and I’m averse to removing it for any reason other than cleaning away dust. As it happens, the gimbal still gets a good grip on my phone complete with gel back. There’s another slight issue with the S22 – length – see end of this entry.. despite all of the above, I love my Hohem iSteady V2.
I’ve been using cheap gimbals to try to improve video quality when I’m out and about with the S22 on foot – and of course, the phone has it’s own internal anti-shake software – but it has limits (not the least being that resolution is reduced when using ultra-steady mode – for obvious reasons)- so I was quite excited to get the opportunity to play with the iSteady – especially as this is a brand new version.
The unit has it’s own internal Lithium battery which can be charged by USB-C and which can also double up to boost the charge on your phone by USB-C (that’s handy). In order to charge your phone, the iSteady should be left switched OFF.
You can probably see in the above photo that the iSteady can turn on and off, start and stop a video on the camera and adjust the field of view from wide to zoom. You can also pan and tilt the video, all without distrurbing the phone itself. The base section with feet can be removed but I find it handy to simply leave it in place. The whole lot can be folded up somewhat for transport.
On indicators, the rightmost shows power-on-off and the LEDs on the left show the internal battery status.
(Not THAT related, but) I’ve been reading about dozens of ways to transfer large video files from Android phones to PC – after much reading of outdated web articles, I stumbled onto using “Bluetooth File Transfer” to transfer the files and came to the conclusion that life if just too short, given that the smallest of my videos was 100MB and the largest was 1.47GB.
Anyway, enough griping, I used a modern USB-C lead to connect my phone to the PC and enabled file sharing (no APPs) – I should now see the S22 on the list of items under THIS PC in Windows EXPLORE. I dug deeper into INTERNAL STORAGE – DCIM then CAMERA to instantly find two of the video files I was looking for – the third I found in DCIM.
And after all that – the 1.5GB Hohem-created video file transferred to my PC in (wait for it) 30 seconds – and mine is NO6 a fast PC, it is merely a BEELINK GTR5 Mini-PC.
First off, let me show you a short video demonstrating nothing more than the difference between a standard phone video, one with the S22 super-steady function running and finally a longer video segment using the Hohem iSteady V2.
The Hohem iSteady V2 comes in a presentable black box. Inside is a card with instructions for downloading the APP, unfolding the gimbal and for phone mounting, for booting up and Bluetooth connection.
The card explains how to use AI tracking and the use of the LED video light (for selfies). Hand gestures allow you to start and stop tracking and to switch between landscape and portrait modes.
On buttons – it is important to get to grips with the multi-functions – I found the on-off button particularly useful. Press twice to re-centre the gimbal – this seems to work no matter which hand I’m using. Pressing 5 times does an auto-calibration/levelling.
Comparing this to the Powervision, you can do similar functions but the latter seems to assume you are right-handed.
I found the V2 online user manual to be particularly useful – There is also info on toll-free call centres in the USA, UK, Germany, Canada and Brazil. Email support is firstname.lastname@example.org and here is the Hohem website – there is also a Facebook QR code. I would have preferred a downloadable manual and also have offline access to the tutorials – during the trip to Morocco I used for testing in this blog entry and the videos, for much of the time I had neither WiFi nor mobile data. I’ve noted in an upcoming blog on the PowerVision S1 that they have a 28 page PDF manual available – handy if you need reminders when you are on the road. On the opther hand, Windows users (I use Chrome Browser) can easily save the 11-page online Hohem manual as a PDF – not quite as pretty but it works. Of course, you can use the excellent online tutorial videos available in the APP itself – but then, if you’re on holiday in Africa as I was with no connectivity – that’s no good
I’ve now created several test videos – in far from the best conditions, during our trip from Galera, Spain down as far as Marrakesh in Morocco, stopping at various cities in between. So – first trip to Africa, no idea what to expect and in the midst of that, learning how to use a brand new phone gimbal.
The Hohem iSteady V2 weight is 264g, folded dimensions 179x79x39mm – rather handy when on a long trip in a hot country. More info on the hohem.com website.
Video Quality and More
So, my takeaways from this trip and playing with the Hohem gimbal include…. sure enough, The S22 can create 4K videos on it’s own – but in order to use ultra-steady which attempts to mimic a gimbal, they record 4K worth of video but you only USE a 1080p window when using Ultra-steady – the rest is used with some clever software to smooth out movement. With the Hohem gimbal, you can record at full 4K 60FPS (not used here as I was on limited data when travelling and putting these videos up). The S22 phone on it’s own can handle 8K at 24FPS – but turn on ultra-steady and you are down to 1080p at 60FPS. The benefit of using the gimbal seems pretty clear.
There are other benefits – zoom is controlled on the gimbal and so pressing the zoom button does not result in any jerking movement on the video.
Back in the office I tried the AI tracking – once turned on (the top of the unit a long press turns it on whereas short presses turn on the built in light) can be activate by making an OK symbol with your hand… and turned off by opening all fingers and presenting them to the unit – that works a TREAT and I’ve been sitting here late at night testing this out.
Ignoer what I said in the video about AI switching between portrait and landscape not working. Just realised you need both hands side by side thumbs up for portrait, both hands side by sid thumbs sideways for landscape.
The observant reader may note I’ve said nothing about the “Moment” mode where the phone will freely whizz around for erally dynamic scenes – that’s because the gumblal arm is not long enough to allow this on the Samsung S22 Ultra and similar-sized phones. Depending where I position the phone, portrait is OK but I cannot fully rotate it as the top of the bottom of the phone will hit the gimbal.
Update October 16, 2022
More – making use of that tracking outside – note – the indicator light on top of the gimbal could do to be brighter.
Update December 16, 2022
I’m writing this short update as I’ve also covered the Powervision S1 in this blog. Despite being more compact and not having the silver-paint-damage-in-heat issue I discovered on the Hohem unit, the S1 has it’s own issues – as I’ve recently discovered, on my S22 in some circumstances when recording video, the S1/S22 combination loses sound intermittently (like on one second, off one second etc etc) – I only discovered this on my first serious attempt to record an event with sound (how embarrassing) and occurs only when using the Vision+S1 software (which recently lost it’s still-claimed editing facility). The Hohem and it’s software does not have this issue and so for now at least remains my go-to gimbal. As always when I discover such issues I immediately report them back to the companies and report back in here.
As winter settles in I doubt I’ll be doing that many outdoor videos either here in Spain or back in the freezing cold UK but I’ll keep checking for software updates.
3 thoughts on “Hohem iSteady V2, Samsung S22 Ultra and Video Production”
I’ve been going back and forth trying to find a good demo video for the S22 and the Hohem. I’m glad to see your videos. I bought a DJI Osmo 6 but I’m going to take it back I don’t like you cannot get the app in the google AP store that is suspect to me. I’m going to try the Hohem. Thank you.
Thanks for taking an interest in my short video segments, glad they’ve been useful.
Happy New Year
Get a new gadget? Looks your travel will be more interesting