By technical editor Matt Allard:
At CP+ in Japan, Lumica Corporation were showing the Birds iRod. The iRod is a long boom pole that allows you to attach a small sized camera in order to capture a perspective or view that is not otherwise possible to get. The whole idea is to place a small wifi or Bluetooth enabled camera such as a GoPro on top of the pole and control it remotely from a tablet or smartphone. For News or event shooters this device could come in very handy. With the advent of tougher restrictions placed on flying drones particularly in central city areas, this could allow crews to capture unique perspectives of events such as protests.
Event shooters or news crews could also use the device to live stream a unique perspective to the web or for broadcast through a third party device from a company like Teradek.
The iRod could also be used to get unique underwater perspectives by turning it upside down. Being able to send a camera down 7.5m while staying on a boat offers a lot of flexibility.
The iRod comes in three different sizes from 3m (9.84ft) all the way up to 7.5m (24.6ft). It was impressive to see that they had made a design where even the 7m high version folded down to just 165cm (5.4ft) and weighed only 2kg (4.4lb). The iRod can carry a camera load of up to 1kg (2.2lb).
The iRod is made out of a glass fibre that incorporates carbon and it features a tilt-able mounting plate at the end of the pole for attaching a camera. It also comes in a nice carry case with a shoulder strap for transporting.
The basic iRod unit prices are:
3m Version 13,000yen ($110 US)
4.5m Version 13,000yen ($110 US)
7.5m Version 23,100yen ($193 US)
Another version of the iRod that includes a light stand mount:
3m Version 18,600yen ($155 US)
4.5m Version 18,600yen ($155 US)
7.5m Version 30,100yen ($252 US)
The iRod looks to be an interesting piece of gear. My only concern would be just how stable the shots would be and how it would perform in windy conditions.