In January Letus announced the Helix 1-Axis PRO and ever since then I’ve been wanting to try it out. At the BVE show in London I met up with Riz from mrhelix.co.uk, who had one of the first units off the production line. This is a single axis brushless gimbal based on the popular Helix handheld models. Instead of regular handheld brushless gimbals that stabilise all three axes, the 1-Axis PRO is designed to stabilise just one axis.
The idea is that you place it on top of your Steadicam and use it to keep the horizon level. The Steadicam continues to do what it does best and can be panned and tilted as normal. The 1-Axis PRO also allows the operator to make moves from low to high, and rapidly place the Steadicam into a low mode. Previously you would need a much more expensive system like the Omega Revolution to do this.
The 1-Axis PRO can take popular cameras like the ARRI Amira, Alexa MINI and REDs with mid-sized cine lenses. The system is based on industry standard 19mm rails.
I tested it out and was surprised at just how easy it was to operate. The price for the 1-Axis PRO is a reasonable $5000 US. Assuming it is reliable and easy to set up, then I can see many Steadicam operators buying these for their setups.
Another unique aspect of the 1-Axis PRO is that it can be used with shoulder rigs as well. The result is a hybrid look which has the motion of handheld shooting, but with an automatically levelled horizon.