JOBY Swing Complete Kit Review

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The Joby Swing is an interesting gadget for smartphone filmmakers. Videographers can make their clips more interesting by adding movement. Professional directors often follow the camera left or right to reveal something new in the scene or simply to add some life to a shot. The JOBY Swing allows you to smoothly swing your smartphone from right to left or vice versa.

Thanks to the JOBY Motion application, you can choose the starting and ending point of the Swing for a precise composition. In addition to adding tracking motion to video clips, you can configure the Swing to capture time-lapse tracking footage. The Swing Complete Kit comes with all the accessories you need to produce smooth tracking shots. Watch our accompanying video to see the Swing in action.

Characteristics

Slide: Electronic
Accessories included: GripTight ONE phone mount and 1K ball head
Assembly: Various mounts, including included GorillaPod 3K mount
Application : JOBY Motion app for iOS or Android

Main characteristics

The complete Swing kit comes with a handy GorillaPod 3K holder. Its flexible legs allow you to mount the swing in a variety of places. (Image credit: George Cairns)

In Timelapse mode, you can choose a preset such as Clouds to use an interval shot that will cause specific objects to move quickly. (Image credit: George Cairns)

With a length of 17cm, the Joby Swing is small enough to fit comfortably in your backpack. It has a female tripod mount so you can attach it to the male thread of the included GorillaPod 3K mount.

We initially struggled to mount the Swing to the stand until we realized we had to remove a thread adapter from the tripod head to access the smaller thread below.

After downloading the Joby Motion app, we were able to quickly and easily control the Swing via our smartphone, which we attached to the Swing via a supplied GripTight ONE phone holder.

When controlling the Swing, the app has two modes: Video and Timelapse. In both modes, you can press and hold + and icons allow you to position the Swing at the beginning and at the end of its movement. You press the START and END icons to set entry and exit points for movement. You can also summon a settings control wheel to reduce tracking speed or add recording delay if you want to capture a tracking selfie. In Timelapse mode, the settings control dial offers a convenient one-click selection of presets so you can choose a timelapse interval speed that suits subjects such as clouds, people, traffic, and more.

Build and manipulate

You can create videos or time-lapse shots on your Swing-mounted smartphone using the JOBY Motion app. (Image credit: George Cairns)

The Settings dial in the Motion app lets you set a variable shot delay so you can capture yourself in the tracking clip. (Image credit: George Cairns)

Closed, the Joby Swing looks a bit like a Swiss penknife in shape and color. Once it springs to life swiveling on the included GorillaPod 3K holder, you realize it’s less versatile than an Amy Swiss Army Knife, but what it does, it does well.

As the Swing’s red and gray arms scissor apart via a smooth electronic motor, the tethered smartphone moves left-to-right (or right-to-left) – always turned in the same direction.

Performance

Add tracking motions to your time-lapse footage (but make sure the tripod legs are positioned so the swing doesn’t tip into the Thames when fully extended!) (Image credit: George Cairns)

The Jboy Swing allows your smartphone to follow smoothly up to a maximum distance of 42 centimeters. When recording video, it tracks at a maximum speed of one centimeter per second, so the maximum video clip length it produces is 42 seconds. This means that it is not really suitable for filming dramas, as the recording may stop before the actor has finished delivering his lines. However, it’s perfect for capturing short walking and talking intro footage such as the one we recorded for this review’s supporting video.

Due to its slow speed and short travel time, the Swing’s tracking motion is barely noticeable when shooting distant subjects. However, by placing an object in the foreground, the tracking motion is much more noticeable as objects in the foreground move faster compared to those in the distance. Watch our accompanying video to see what the Swing is good for – like tracking some foreground flowers to reveal a vintage railway engine for example.

Place an object in the foreground to accentuate the tracking motion. The foreground object moves faster than the background subject. (Image credit: George Cairns)

The Swing follows the tracks at a constant speed. This allows you to create a montage of shots where the camera tracks at the same speed in each shot that would be difficult to capture with a handheld or gimbal-mounted smartphone. By setting the Swing to repeat the tracking motion in a single clip, you have a motion control camera. This allows you to use an editing application to mix from a tracking scene that contains people in the same location with no one present, creating a ghostly special effect. Watch our accompanying video for examples.

When mounted on the GorillaPOD with its flexible legs, there may occasionally be a little vibration as the tracks swing. By resting a finger on a tripod leg, we were able to smooth out unwanted vibrations when taking a shot. When fully extended, the Swing could cause the small tripod to tip over (which worried us when filming on the banks of the Thames!). Fortunately, placing the GorillaPod’s flexible legs in the correct position ensures safer and more stable shot tracking.

Verdict

The Joby Swing has a limited tracking time and moves slowly, so the resulting movement in a video sequence is very subtle. The requirement to present a foreground object for more visible tracking motion forces you to be creative with your composition (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

It’s more versatile and flexible when it comes to adding movement and perspective to time-lapse shots, as you can change the recording interval to create slower or faster moving footage.

The Joby Swing isn’t a “must have” gadget for all videographers, but it should be appealing to stock video creators, product videographers, and Vloggers who want to add some movement to otherwise selfie clips. static. Documentary and drama makers will appreciate the creative ability to mix motion-controlled clips to produce creative effects (see our support video for examples.)

Read more:

• Better camera sliders
• Best gimbals
• Best Mini Tripods
• Best Video Tripods

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