Some of the mobile gears I’ve come across have been created with a big emphasis to video-making market as well as the mobile photography crowds. Products like SmartPhocus, ShoulderPod S1, or even Manfrotto Klyp+ . was designed with similar characteristics, e.g. stability, comfort, versatility and modularity.
But none of these products can come close to the versatility I’ve seen with the BeastGrip!
BeastGrip is a brainchild of Vadym Chalenko, a mobile photo/video artist from Chicago – USA. Vadym recognised the big potential of modern smartphone to take very good photo and video. But he felt that it’s also a challenge to get a good and steady photo or video due to the physical ‘disadvantage’ that smartphones have.
He reckoned that this drawback could be overcome by using third-party accessories and mobile gears. But the problem was how to use them and made them work together with the phone.
He believed that there was a way to improve and overcome this handicap. So he set himself on the task of designing this dream gear, called it the BeastGrip and put it up as a Kickstarter project. He pledged for $25k, and got almost $40K backing.
So here it is, the BeastGrip, in flesh and blood!
What is the BeastGrip
One cool thing about the BeastGrip is that it’s the first mobile gear which is manufactured mainly using 3D Printing technology! The result is amazing.
To me it’s like a marriage of German precision engineering, Asian fine art and American muscly strength.
In a nutshell the BeastGrip is and has all of the followings:
- 1A universal, adjustable, and protective rig system for your mobile devices.
- 2A steady grip for more stable and comfortable mobile action.
- 3Multiple standard thread mounts for attaching multiple photographic gears, e.g. tripod, stabilizer, slider, etc.
- 4A standard cold shoe mount for attaching things like microphone, LED lights, etc.
- 5A standard 37mm threaded lens/filter mount which can be used with virtually any conversion lenses.
- 6An impromptu stand/tripod.
Let’s get into details about each of the above.
BeastGrip looks so radically different that people’s impression when they first saw it was ‘What the h*ll is that you are holding!?‘. That was until they noticed the iPhone embedded inside the massive frame, which then turned confuse to wonder.
Yes, BeastGrip frame ‘contraption’ is relatively big and looks so ‘different’ compared to your usual phone cases that you would be forgiven to think that it came from outer space.
But in the nutshell, BeastGrip is a rig system where you can mount your mobile device in its protective frame.
The frame itself is adjustable, hence it can accommodate a range of mobile devices. In short it’s Universal. Judging from what I’ve seen the frame can take mobile devices as wide as the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the iPhone 6.
As for the iPhone 6 Plus class, Vadym had posted a new prototype of BeastGrip that can take the girth. It’s not clear at the moment whether existing BeastGrip users can get an upgrade kit or they would have to buy a completely new one if they have iPhone 6 plus (or similar size phones). I will update it here as and when I get more info.
It is very easy to mount a phone inside the BeastGrip, as it features a dual spring clam. Just open the clam and insert the phone in and it’s done. The clam will ‘grip’ the phone pretty tightly that even when you shake the frame it won’t lose it. The standard clam size will accommodate most phones, but for a bigger one you need to adjust it (tools are provided).
Every phone has different length and lens position, and BeastGrip supports this by having the mount position adjustable. This is easily done by manipulating the fixing screws and sliding the mounting panels. No need for tools here.
The oversize frame will also protect your phone from accidental scratch or drop (or bent). It’s pretty robust that people are not afraid to take it on high-risk activities, like mounting it on (motor)bike or a car, taking it on skateboarding, etc.
Now, despite of its big appearance, the BeastGrip does not feel heavy. I’m sure this is something to do with the material that Vadym uses in the 3D Printing process. It is actually light enough that my 3-year-old son didn’t have any problem to lug it around and taking photo with it. And I had a peace of mind that if he happened to drop it, my phone would had had the best protection.
It has been also quite amusing when ever I whip out the BeastGrip next to a ‘Professional Photographer’ with his/her big DSLR. The look on their face has been priceless.
Get a good Grip!
As well as being a great protective ‘enclosure’, the BeastGrip also improves the way we hold our phone, A.K.A the grip. Having a good and steady grip on a camera is one of the key requirement for getting a good picture. That’s why the bigger DSLRs or even pocket cameras all feature a comfortable and intuitive hand-grip.
Unfortunately the mobile phone hasn’t been designed with this in mind. The way we hold our camera phone when we take photo/video is awkward at best or RSI-inducing at worst. And still there hasn’t been any sign shown by mobile phone manufacturers to improve this. So at the end we have to find the solution ourselves, be it by improving our ‘holding technique’ or by using accessories. The BeastGrip falls into the latter.
The BeastGrip sports a hand grip on both left and right hand side of the frame. These grips give something sturdy to hold on to, even when I use only one hand. It is more comfortable to hold especially on a long video-taking sessions.
As I mentioned earlier, my son could hold it easily and naturally.
From the beginning Vadym had envisaged that the BeastGrip would be a one gear where we could use a combination of mobile accessories together in the same time. This is why the BeastGrip was not only designed with 1 … or 2 standard mounting threads but 5!
Yes, you heard that right. It is the biggest number of mounting point I’ve ever come across in a smartphone rig.
The 5 mounting points are all of the standard 1/4-20 thread. This means you can attach up to 5 photographic accessories, e.g. tripod, stabilizer, slider, LED, etc., in one go. Talking about Multi Threading.
Are you having a cold feet?
Not content with 5 mounting points, the BeastGrip also sports a universal cold shoe mount where you can attach other photographic accessories like LED Lights and Microphone.
I have eyes on you
All of the above wouldn’t be complete without this last probably most important feature, the Lens Mount! Yes, with the BeastGrip you can attach any professional 37mm Conversion Lenses or Filters!
Seasoned video makers should be familiar with this lenses because they seems to be the de-facto diameter size for most consumer digital video cameras.
You can basically find all sort of types of conversion lenses in the market, e.g. Wide-Angle, Fisheye, Macro or Telephoto. There are also equally numerous type of real optical filters you can get.