Two things had happened recently. First, YouTube announced they would monetise shorts (videos not garments) and Hohem, a company behind iSteady X gimbals emailed me about their Hohem Go. I’m on TikTok (in theory), but I hate vertical videos with a passion! Will Hohem Go and monetisation of Shorts change that? Probably not, however, I can totally see everyone else ending 1 min videos to get all that sweet advertising revenue.
The Shorts are great except…
Shorts are not evil, not entirely. Hear me out. It’s a perfect format for all “how-to” videos that are supposed to show you that one thing instead of taking 15 min to explain absolutely everything like I’m 4 and appease YouTube algorithms at the same time. I’m guilty of this at times too, at the same time, I’m very aware of the questions I get asked with each video release.
The only valid reason for shooting vertical videos is to showcase fashion. Having the frame from head to toe can be a nice thing if you are limited in space. It’s not ideal but gets the job done. Fashion and dancing: both formats are excuses (they are also formats I never watch).
As much as Hohem Go caters to TikTokers and Short(lists?), it doesn’t limit you in format (unlike Google and TikTok). So let’s talk about it for a moment and see if I can produce an interesting Short for my channel! Technically, it wouldn’t be my 1st “Short” as YouTube classed a couple of my short videos this way, but it would make for the 1st intentional Short!
What is Hohem Go?
In short, it’s a glorified phone holder that follows your face wherever you go. I’m familiar with the tech of always following cameras from their previous gimbals, but this time – the AI is built into the stand. It enables any phone or tablet to always face your direction. It’s handy for video meetings, content creation and more.
The gadget is as easy to use as it can be. It’s battery-powered and charged up through a USB-C port. A single charge lasts approx 7h which is more than enough for a demanding live stream – but if that’s not enough, you can always use it while plugged in.
Motors inside are silent and allow for 360° and 15° up and down motion. The base is heavy and sturdy. It should help in keeping mobile phones and tablets firmly. Additionally, a 1/4″ screw at the bottom allows for a tripod fit.
The clamp has a satisfying strength and range – so even the thinkest of tablets would fit nicely in the Hohem Go vice (<13mm). It works with mobiles and tablets clamped in vertical and horizontal orientations.
The only disadvantage is the fact that the clamp will obscure part of the screen. As modern phones and tablets are almost bezel-less, there is no way around it without making custom grips for each phone. Anyone with a 3D printer could design a small holster for their mobile device that fixes that!
One button, two gestures
Operation is as simple as it can be. One button to power on and two gestures to start and stop face tracking. The OK gesture starts the tracking session while raised palm stops it. That’s all you need to know to start recording.
What’s like in use? Every product picture on Hohem’s page shows the use of the product with a phone using a front-facing camera. With face tracking, you could record your content using much better cameras at the back and trust AI with framing. It’s not an option for anyone looking to video chat or stream but if your content is pre-recorded, you can “upgrade” to the main camera since, in both circumstances, the AI is doing all the framing.
Hohem Go does a good job at tracking your face in decent lighting conditions and recovers from the lost track quickly. The weak point is how jerky the motion can feel at fast angle changes. Extra ease in/out transitions would be nice.
I tried it with my Xiaomi Mi 11 and a Vastking tablet to see how it would carry different loads. No problems with the phone but when I clamped the tablet in a vertical orientation the moment Hohem Go looked all the way down, it tipped itself over. Motors were strong enough to move the weight of the tablet, but in this orientation, you have to use the gadget on a small tripod stand to prevent it from tipping.
Simple, but lacking
All this is easy to use, but I’d like to see a companion app that monitors the battery, adjusts tracking speed and smoothness of the transitions and maybe an option to track objects! Depending on the offset of the camera (how far the camera is from the pivot centre) in the edge case scenario, people can end up outside of the frame (especially when Hohem Go looks down). It would be nice to be able to adjust the size of the headroom for tracking just like OBSbot does with its companion app.
It’s not a deal breaker, but Hohem hinted that Hohem Go works without the app for now. Time will tell if I’m going to see the app-supported version.
At less than $40, it’s inexpensive and judging by the number of vertical video influencers, there is a market for that. It’s also an easy way to make sure your phone faces the correct directions during these long calls with your family or just strapping a NERF gun to it. Either way – the product is there if you need it. What did you think about Hohem Go and my 1st short? Let me know in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈 💵- See the transparency note for details.