Savannah, GA start-up áetho launches an Indiegogo campaign for their Aeon brushless gimbal for GoPros. It has the most beautiful and cohesive industrial design for a 3-axis gimbal we’ve ever seen. But will it do the business?
We had an opportunity to chat with áetho co-founders Ian Nott and Harrison Lee a couple of weeks ago, and now that their Indiegogo campaign has officially launched we can share our conversation with you, dear planet5D readers.
planet5D (before we actually SAW the latest design): Guys, how is the Aeon better than other gimbals already out there – or even other GoPro gimbals on Indiegogo, like the Removu S1?
Ian Nott, co-founder [after a bunch of other stuff which is interesting and we’ll get to in a moment]: It’s more beautiful and has a built-in screen…
planet5D [after seeing the latest rendering]: Whoa. It sure is, and it sure does. How did you get to this point? Who ARE you?
Ian: A few years back I was in school, studying industrial and product design, where small projects took a lot of work. I dove deeply into drones [Ian has an Inspire 1], but found myself falling in with b-school students working on thesis projects. I learned how to take a raw idea and turn it into a business. I was a techy mega-geek kinda guy. I watched Steve Jobs keynotes like a crazy person.
planet5D: And drones rely on gimbals…
Ian: Right. Brushless gimbal technology is a big piece of drones. Hobbyists came up with the brushless gimbal using accelerometers and brushless motors. But there are lots of issues with drone technology even now. The public is not yet acclimated. The FAA is still working on regulations. They still crash. We think a consumer facing product has to mean: no mucking around with software, no tuning.
planet5D: So you decided to apply gimbal technology to another space.
Ian: We 3D-printed 20 prototypes so we could go out and get user feedback. We worked with the skater community and their filmmaking buds. Skaters make very aggressive, very fast-paced subjects. Everyone knows tracking fast subjects with a gimbal is tough. But ours can follow things faster than a Ronin, yet still work in subtle situations.
planet5D: Why GoPro only? Why not smartphones?
Ian: Two years ago I was playing with clone gimbals, going to productions houses in Atlanta – cold calling. I learned that they were set in their ways, buying new lenses, but clone gimbals weren’t the right fit with them. We went to GoPro, and the response was massive. Really a night and day shift in receptiveness.
Harrison Lee, áetho co-founder: The user base is huge – there are tens of millions of GroPros out there. GoPro users are interesting, active people. Part of it is we’re a young company with limited resources, and it’s very difficult to build a gimbal for even a single product.
Ian: You need a perfect center of gravity, and the average user doesn’t want to deal with it.
Harrison: We decided we wanted to start with the 15 million or so GoPro owners out there — especially those who are “dormant.”
planet5D: Does this mean the Aeon is waterproof?
Ian: Misty, high humidity, OK. But Aeon is NOT waterproof. Gimbals can’t be. They require zero friction, and that’s just not possible under water. We’re IP52 compliant.
planet5D: About the Aeon screen: it’s really small. And what about latency?
Ian: The GoPro app on smart devices has a latency delay — it’s so bad you can’t get what you’re trying to shoot. But you need a screen, you need to see what you’re shooting. There are circular smart watches out there, hence a lot of Chinese display manufacturers cranking them out. We pull composite video off the GoPro by plugging into the miniUSB port. This reduces latency to practically zero — 20ms.
planet5D: Still, the screen is really small. Combined with screen glare, won’t that make it difficult to use?
Ian: The screen we use was originally designed for smart watches – similar to the moto360. There’s no text on our screen, only the center of the action. We’ve designed the Aeon for a fast-paced moving environment, and for that we just need to keep the subject in the center. As a smart watch screen, it’s designed for outdoors. And with a much larger battery system, we can drive at maximum brightness.
planet5D: What is your rationale for using a crowd funding platform?
Harrison: An Indiegogo campaign is about marketing and social proof – activating an audience for us. We like the built-in bias to early-adopters.
planet5D: How will you use the funding?
Harrison: The good news is that our timing is a function of lining up everything. All the design and development work has been done, so everything will go to actual product.
Beautiful design, smart guys: we wish the team great success.
You can learn more about the Aeon at igg.me/at/aetho. What do you think, planet5D readers? How interesting is the Aeon to you?
Aeon: Create Smooth, Cinematic GoPro Videos
Pier Sunshine in Santa Monica
Shot with Aeon for smooth, cinematic GoPro video. No post stabilization used.
World's most advanced GoPro stabilizer with LCD screen & joystick for creating cinematic experiences
A ton of video is being shot, but poor cinematography and jittery footage make much of it unbearable to watch.
That’s why we’re introducing Aeon, the world’s most ergonomic and lightweight filmmaking tool for creating buttery smooth, cinematic GoPro® videos. We’re putting an end to boring videos with a robotic handheld stabilizer that keeps your camera steady so you may run, jump and move about freely and still get a perfectly stable shot every time.
Learn more about Aeon at their Indiegogo Campaign page.
(cover photo credit: snap from Indiegogo)