Words by Dave Williams - A Platypod Pro
Edited by Eryka Bagwell
The Handle is the latest member of the Platypod ecosystem, and it’s just awesome! I was lucky enough to field test the Handle while in the Arctic as part of my Due North adventure. I’ll begin by saying that the difference in simplicity this year versus last year was huge, with a massive advantage coming from the Handle. I don’t want to use a gimbal when I’m doing a ‘talking head’ piece for my vlog because I like the raw nature of a little bit of bounce that comes from just holding the camera. We’ve become accustomed to things like this across YouTube, TikTok and other platforms where the content is perceived as more relatable because it’s more natural and authentic. The psychology is similar to that of jump-cuts rather than ironed-out morph cuts. It just conveys that we aren’t trying to hide anything.
The Platypod Handle has been permanently attached to my main vlogging camera (Sony a6400) since I received it. It’s attached using a Platypod Disc. The biggest advantage it has is that it gives me a designated place to hold the rig. It’s far enough away from the camera that I don’t have my arm so dominant within the frame like you see on many vlogs, and the handle puts my arm and closed fist at a very natural angle, avoiding any strain and offering me the maximum amount of stretch away from myself. This may seem like an obvious thing to point out, but it’s one that’s gone unaddressed by the other items on the market.
I mentioned having nothing but a handle and no motorized gimbal, but it’s possible (and very easy) to use the Platypod handle as a weighted gimbal which in turn makes it possible to put the entire rig down on a surface. The two main ways to achieve this are to put the Platypod eXtreme onto the bottom of the Handle where it screws in, or to use a Platyball in-between the two which gives a little extra weight and the option to adjust the angle. The mounting method for the latter is made possible by the Arca compatible base on the Handle. In either case, using the full length of the handle in its extended position (10.5”) gives more counterweight through leverage.
The Handle really is ideal for vloggers. It even gives us multiple options for attaching accessories such as Goosenecks and Elbows which we can use to hold onto lighting or anything else using the eight ¼” threaded sockets. The entire system is incredibly easy to use and has good ergonomics. I review a lot of photography gear and I’m a huge advocator of good ergonomic, simultaneously helping people with less mobility and those of us who tend to wear thick gloves in below-freezing conditions. My Due North adventure involved being in such conditions for a few months straight so being able to adjust my gear with minimal effort whilst trusting that it’s secure at other times is a big deal. The simplified controls on the Handle reflect those of the Platyball, and I love that. Solving my problems means that I’m free to use the creative side of my mind without stressing on the technicalities of making my gear work the way I want it to.
The Platypod Handle has solved a problem I didn’t realize I had. It’s not often such great products come along and innovate an entire space, but they’ve done it once again. The uses for the Platypod Handle extend far beyond vlogging, but this is the example I particularly wanted to highlight because it helped me to raise my game when I created video in the cold north this past winter.
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