Camera Stabilizer, You Pod, low angle tripod, hand held camera, table top tripod, multi camera, POV, DV camera, camcorder, slr, mobile tripod,hand holding, video camera, film camera, matte box, video assist, DeFoe Technical, Greg DeFoe
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You Pod camera stabilizer for hand held film, video and still photographers

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Full review by DV Magazine January 2009 unscensored
In Review: You Pod
January 5, 2009


Editor's Note: This is an extended version of the review that appears in the January issue of DV magazine. 

By Iain Stasukevich

For many filmmakers, going handheld is almost a way of life, and today's cameramen have a lot of choices when it comes to handheld camera support. From stabilizers to shoulder- and post-mounted systems, there are almost as many ways to rig a camera to your body as there are cameras. With so many options, the obvious question is, "Which one is best?" The obvious answer is, "Whichever best suits your needs."

Modular systems try to meet a variety of needs with a single product, often with mixed results. Affordable packages are either cheaply made or poorly designed (sometimes both), while on the high end there's more attention paid to design and manufacturing, but a large price tag can negate the all-in-one value.

DeFoe Tech's You Pod falls comfortably in the middle of these two extremes. It's affordable ($249) and lightweight, yet rugged and simple. The heart of the system is the You Pod itself — a compact two-part aluminum base with room to attach up to eight 3/4" accessory rods or grip handles. The basic package is compatible with most still and video cameras with a 1/4" mounting screw and comes with three grips comprising two 8" sections that can be rotated 360 degrees on the base. The handgrips feature adjustable joints with steel thread inserts, friction washers, stainless steel screws with hand knobs and ball bearings to increase tightening torque and prevent loosening. All of the You Pod screws are essentially tool-less, but a 3/16" hex key is provided and recommended to tightly secure moveable joints on the rig. You Pod with HVX-200 Viewfinder operation (click to enlarge)

Standard You Pod configurations are little more than variations on the shoulder mount. With the camera mounted to the base, two grip handles can be attached on either side or in the front. The third handle may be attached to the rear of the base and fully extended as a de facto shoulder rest. For palmcorders and compact professional camcorders without built-in shoulder rests, this is an effective enough solution, but the flimsy foam padding that's supposed to slip onto the YouPod's shoulder rest doesn't exactly scream "ergonomic." Even a video camera that weighs 10 lb. can start to feel like a stack of bricks after a long day of shooting, and a narrow metal rod pressing into your neck probably won't make things easier. Operators using cameras with the shoulder mount built in will be able to set up the You Pod with just the two handgrips for no-frills rock-solid support. The basic You Pod kit can also work as tabletop tripod that allows a smaller camera to be set up in a variety of fixed positions: straight up or down, dutched or on its side.

You POd #8X75 standard with 3 handles There are a number of accessories available for expanding the You Pod's capabilities. The accessory clamp bracket allows for the addition of lightweight accessories accepting a 1/4" mounting screw (there's an optional hot shoe adapter for lights and mic mounts). Rigging L-brackets give you the ability to bolt or screw the You Pod down to almost any surface, which can be useful when a shot needs to be absolutely locked off or in the absence of a hi hat. Another welcome option is the tripod adapter and riser block, which makes it possible to attach a 1/4" mount baseplate to the bottom of the You Pod. Other accessories include a clamp rail bracket (with five extra brackets) and handle extensions.

For the money ($190), the two-piece front rod adapter bracket might be a potential You Pod owner's best bet. It can mount 15mm rods at ARRI lightweight support spacing, as well as 3/4" rods at standard You Pod spacing (1.5" center to center). The bracket set's vertical adjustment works the same as the Chrosziel support system, but with more range. If DeFoe Tech added a horizontal adjustment to future iterations of the bracket — which would increase its compatibility with cameras whose lenses aren't in line with the center of the camera body — they'd have a near-perfect accessory.

DeFoe Tech has really nailed the basic concept behind modular design by providing a practical and highly customizable product with the right amount of options. It won't be one of the prettiest pieces of equipment in your kit, but with some fine-tuning and customer feedback, the You Pod could be the most useful.

A larger version of the You Pod is available for full-size video and film cameras, but it's more expensive ($780) and currently features fewer accessories.



DV scoreboard

PROS: Affordable, lightweight and rugged; no frills, easily customizable design.

CONS: Shoulder-mounted configuration needs finessing. Many configurations benefit smaller cameras rather than the mid-sized pro models.

BOTTOM LINE: A practical and highly customizable product.

MSRP: $249




You Pod

You Pod 8X75 for the Pro with HDV DVCAM XDCam etc.

The same standard You Pod set is valuable to the Pro and the enthusiast. Handles swing / pivot and lock in position for comfortable and stable hand holding, shoulder resting, hand placement for smooth control, operation, raising overhead, operating at varying elevations for POV.

You Pod Accessories facilitate multiple cameras, lights, mics, monitors and additional handles. Longer handle / leg set-ups are available for unique applications.


Red on You POd #8X1.0



You Pod with HVX-200 Viewfinder operation (click to enlarge)   You Pod shoulder supported screen operated
You Pod #8X1.0 Arri 235 9311 Viewfinder use in  multi camera setup
You Pod #8X1.0 You Pod Camera held high over obstruction or for unique POV (click to enlarge) camera held overhead for POV or clear line of sight
You Pod functions readily as a table top or low angle tripod and helps position cameras in tight spaces. Red Tripod Low Tripod at almost any direction Tripod almost any direction