This Snoppa Rover is a standalone tripod that wants to replace your camera
This is quite an interesting idea from Snoppa Tech. It’s called the Snoppa Rover and it basically appears to be a motorized tripod on wheels. According to Snoppa, you can program it with defined paths with full camera control, it can climb up to a 30° slope, it has a 0° turning radius, works on all terrains and has smart tracking, so you don’t even need a camera to follow you around. But what is most impressive is the stabilization.
Each of the three weeks on the Snoppa Rover has independent suspension and there’s a gyro sensor in each, along with a Hall sensor and accelerometer. These detect any changes in the rover’s body as it moves across the terrain and can react by adjusting the wheel to compensate ensuring as smooth a ride as possible. You don’t even need to mount a gimbal on top!
It looks like the Snoppa Rover is still in the prototype stage at the moment, although it seems to have advanced quite a bit and the videos they posted on their YouTube channel look pretty good. According to current specs on Snoppa’s website, it can handle loads of up to 15kg and can reach speeds of up to 30kph (18.6mph) on those 210mm diameter wheels. And those wheels allow for a bunch of different camera movements.
- Ortho Mode – For Cart In/Out or Truck Left/Right movement effects.
- free mode – Use the app to control Rover while taking follow photos or moving around as you see fit.
- ARC mode – Provides constant speed of movement while fully encircling or semi-encircling the subject at a fixed distance.
- Pre-program mode – Pre-programming of a defined shooting path with the possibility of saving it as a template.
- Lock Mode – Use lock mode to maintain camera direction when a fixed shooting angle is needed while moving. You can manually or remotely control the direction of the Rover’s movement, while the direction the camera is pointed will always remain the same.
- Tracking mode – The body/camera direction will change in real time with the direction of movement.
- Target Mode – Target lock mode can be selected when shooting a target in a fixed position requiring flexible movement. The dolly will keep the camera lens facing that target at all times while moving, and the target will stay in the center of the frame.
And in addition to the modes above, there’s also intelligent object tracking, which lets you track a person or other moving object like a vehicle. They say the process is fully automated and “you don’t need another crew member to operate. You can leave the tracking to Rover while saving manpower.” And it can do all of this while negotiating potentially rough or bumpy terrain.
The Snoppa Rover offers three different control methods. You can use an app that supports both iOS and Android devices, you can use a standard RC remote (they specifically show the Futaba T18SZ, although I suspect you could use just about any Tx combo /Rx standard), or you can use a dedicated handle specifically designed for use with the Rover for direct, personal motion control.
Naturally, you can shoot video with this thing, but you can also shoot time-lapse. For hyperlapse shooters who regularly move, shoot, move, shoot, flush, repeat for a few hundred shots at a time, this should make the process much smoother, more accurate, and most importantly, faster! It also has a “Time Reversal”, allowing you to quickly and easily repeat movements if necessary without having to start your movements from scratch.
The construction is largely aluminum alloy and high-strength carbon fiber, which they claim is designed to be “competent in a variety of harsh outdoor environments.” I’d love to put this to the test in some of the wilds of Scotland, but expect the Snoppa Rover to be out of my budget (I just checked the price and yes!). When it comes to connectivity, you get an HDMI port for DSLR/Mirrorless as well as an SDI socket for your high-end cinema cameras. Camera control is provided via USB Type-C and there’s a “universal remote” expansion port.
It is powered by two batteries that work in parallel to increase battery capacity. This means that they are also hot-swappable and if one dies you can replace it with a new one even if it is doing its job without losing power. It also means that each battery meets airline limits on individual battery capacity. It’s not known what the capacity of the batteries is, or how long they last or take to charge, but they do have a USB Type-C “quick charge” port. Whether it’s USB-PD or something else is unknown. And if it is USB-PD, the maximum power it will support is also unknown.
It’s a very cool device in principle and has a lot of potential for filmmakers and hyperlapse shooters. I’m very keen to see how well it performs in the real world. We might have a bit of a wait before that happens, though. It is not yet available for purchase and although they have announced that there will be a “launch day”, they have not said when it will be. They also haven’t said if it will go straight to pre-order or if they’re going the crowdfunding route.
But what they said is that the regular retail price of the Snoppa Rover will be $3,599 and there will be a special launch day price of $2,399. But, again, they didn’t say when that day is. You will need to subscribe to their mailing list to be notified. You can find out more about Snoppa Rover on their website.