GoPro could build a modular gimbal-stabilized camera system to support the DJI Pocket 2 and DJI FPV, according to fascinating new patents.
The patents, which were published on March 10, contain detailed drawings and descriptions of a system that includes a GoPro Session-style camera module, a mechanically stabilized gimbal, and a connector that allows both to fit into a portable handle or even a drone. .
The “image capture module” described by the patents appears to be a new gimbal-stabilized camera, rather than an existing device like the Hero 10 Black. It appears smaller than the latter and could “track a user based on position data from a beacon module and/or based on computer vision tracking of the user in image sensor images “. It could be the ActiveTrack-style autofocus we’ve seen on the likes of the DJI Pocket 2, which can turn to track subjects thanks to its gimbal.
According to the patents, this camera would rely on a three-axis mechanical stabilization system that could allow up to 360 degrees of rotation. The gimbal could also have a handy “fold flat” mode to protect it when you turn it off, which would trigger after 10, 20, or 30 seconds to let you “easily slip the image capture module into a case carrier or a backpack”.
The really interesting part of the patents, however, and the one that aligns with recent GoPro revenue comments about plans to create new “types” of action cameras, is its modular design. The patents state that the camera and gimbal include a “key connector” that is “configured to interchangeably connect the mechanical image stabilization system to an aerial vehicle (e.g., quadcopter drone)” and also a “module portable”.
This is the Pocket Grip, which would create a DJI Pocket 2 style vlogging camera, which is pictured in detail. The patents say it would include “a display, record button, status light” and two attachment mechanisms, as well as a battery release latch (suggesting that its batteries will be swappable). The grip is also described as having a “rubbery texture” and a shape designed for handheld shooting, much like its discontinued GoPro Karma Grip from 2016.
The patents are ambiguous as to whether or not this grip’s display will be a touchscreen, but say it might be possible to use it to change the angle of the gimbal. The description adds that you can also enter “selfie or “HiLight Tag” mode by voice command and/or input received via the screen’s touch interface.” Apparently, disconnecting the camera module from this grip “may only take the user a few seconds.”
The main issue with gimbals is that they’re generally flimsy, which wouldn’t quite match GoPro’s rugged style. But the patents suggest GoPro’s device would be a little tougher than the DJI Pocket 2, with the gimbal flush with the grip or even hiding its bearing motor inside the attachment, giving it a “high profile. low and protecting the gimbal to reduce the risk of damage”. GoPro says this setup, which would make it look like a dual-axis gimbal, “could offer advantages” over rivals that have “all of their gimbals exposed.”
Another benefit GoPro could bring to the vlogging part is combining that mechanical image stabilization with its already excellent electronic stabilization. The patents include descriptions of a motion tracking module and the use of electronic stabilization to further correct camera sensor rotations, which could all add up to an incredibly smooth filming experience – if the patents are in. indeed a sign of what’s to come from the action camera giant.
Analysis: A preview of GoPro’s 2022 plans?
Patents can never be taken as a concrete sign of what a company is working on, as many never see the light of day. But the level of detail in these documents, and the extent to which they match GoPro’s comments last month about adding two more “distinct camera products” to its lineup “in late 2022,” suggests that there’s definitely a good chance we’ll see him do something along those lines.
In some ways, the concept is a rehash of its old GoPro Karma drone and GoPro Karma Grip, which ultimately didn’t work out very well. But there are distinct differences too, with GoPro this time apparently content to make a drone camera (rather than a drone itself) and a handheld grip with mechanical stabilization that could pair well with its HyperSmooth electronic technology.
If the patents are fully realized, that would put GoPro on another collision course with DJI in 2022. DJI already makes the Pocket 2, which we consider one of the best vlogging cameras, but one of its weaknesses still has been its fragility which means it cannot be classed as an action camera. If GoPro can create a modular rival that adds some hero resistance to the equation, it could be a compelling new option for YouTubers.
A modular system with a new GoPro camera would also make sense, given that the existing GoPro Hero 10 Black is for some users, as GoPro CEO Nick Woodman recently described, “more than they need, or not enough of what they need”. same revenue call, he added that “we think it’s important to create highly differentiated, specialized solutions for different use cases to appeal to entirely new user groups,” and those patents would match that billing. .
While the system is more specialized than its current Hero line, it could also create a versatile GoPro line that would provide a bespoke option for most adventure sports scenarios, rather than shoeing the Hero 10 Black in every case. ‘use. We can’t wait to see if GoPro is indeed relying on the patents or if they are, as is sometimes the case with patents, an elaborate red herring.