Review: Edelkrone Pocket Skater 2
My mind was telling me no, my gadget-obsessed heart was saying yes: that’s kind of how I felt when I bought the Pocket Skater 2. Edelkrone’s expensive – but incredibly well presented – camera dolly promises beautiful angles, recordings, and added value for any video. Find out whether it can keep this promise, after the break.
Heaven is a halfpipe
The Pocket Skater 2 comes wrapped in a clean white box, as usual for Edelkrone products. Inside you’ll find the skater, as well as a small information booklet which points the buyer toward Edelkrone’s video tutorials. With a runtime of almost 10 minutes, it’s much longer than the video for the FlexTilt Head. Additionally, there’s an Allen key included to adjust the FlexTilt Head’s resistance settings.
Around the world on three wheels
An integrated FlexTilt Head on the device’s upper side can be used to mount the camera in different positions on the skater, in order to create exciting angles. A 1/4 screw is available to attach the camera. Cameras that only have a 3/8-port have to be connected via an adapter. The Panasonic GH4 fits perfectly on the dolly.
Three wheels at the bottom of the device can be adjusted to set the camera on a specific path (for example a straight line, following a curve etc.)
Better have a coin left in your wallet
On each side of the Pocket Skater, white lines indicate where the wheels can be flipped outwards. After turning the three wheels sideways, the wheels themselves can be flipped down. After that, the Pocket Skater 2 is already fully operational. The FlexTilt Head attached to the skater is similar to the standalone version, however its alignment was adapted to the skater. To mount the camera on the dolly the head has to be fully opened up. The camera can then be fastened in the desired position on the skater by using a coin on the bottom side of the head. Edelkrone recommends making sure that the camera is positioned exactly in the center of the two front wheels to produce the best possible results when shooting. Looking at the bottom of the device may be helpful for that. This also applies if you want to attach a phone to the dolly.
You have the option of only opening up the Pocket Skater a little bit if you are shooting with an iPhone or similar. In this mode, the wheels, and therefore the shot lineup, can still be adjusted to allow for beautiful dolly shots.
Practice makes perfect
In order to get started with the Pocket Skater 2, the wheels must now be brought into the desired position. It is important to note that only the two front wheels can be changed in their alignment, the wheel in the rear always remains fixed. The user should make sure that the two front wheels are positioned in similar angles, facing outward or inward to avoid any unsightly driving mishaps. To help with positioning the wheels, Edelkrone has added small lines on the sides of the front wheels. These help the user to get a better grasp of the wheels’ orientation. If you tilt the wheels slightly inward, the dolly follows an inward curve, which is perfect for circling products or the next Instagram food. Tilting the wheels outwards allows for a curve around the own axle, which produces shots as if on a tripod. To prevent it from tipping over, the weight of the camera should always remain on the skater while shooting. So it is highly recommended to test the stability of the Pocket Skater combo, before you risk damaging your camera. Better keep one hand under the camera lens when releasing the skater. If the Pocket Skater 2 remains standing by itself the weight is distributed well enough.
The FlexTilt Head on the top can also be turned and extended sideways. Thus, new camera angles can be created and the user has more ways to let the camera ride on the Pocket Skater 2. When using it this way it is especially important to have a watchful eye on the placement of the camera, so it doesn’t tip the skater towards the front.
You can adjust the resistance of the TiltHead, depending on how heavy the used camera is. When I use my Panasonic GH4 I let all resistance settings stay in their initial state, but with a GoPro you can loosen the screws quite a bit, which makes adjusting the head much easier.
If you want to adjust these settings on the go (for example if they were set loose in the previous shot and now need to be tightened), you definitely should bring an Allen Key to the shot. Otherwise, you could quickly run into some problems. Edelkrone claims that the once the resistance is set, it will remain for a long time and you will rarely have to readjust it.
Getting the snacks in focus
As mentioned above, the wheels should be turned slightly inward for a dolly shot around an object. Imagine some arrows attached to the outer sides of the wheels: the object should then be right where they intersect. So if you are filming, for example your son’s newest creation, a quick check with your hands helps to figure out where to place the Pocket Skate. Once you have found the point at which the arrows meet nothings stops you from starting the shot right away. Of course there is always trial and error involved, so it may take you a couple tries to get the perfect shot.
Got a wooden panel with you?
To get the best possible shots with the Pocket Skater, you should always let it run on smooth surfaces. These could be tables or perhaps the floor. For outside shots it may be quite reasonable to bring a large board of plywood. That ensures a decent result even on otherwise bumpy surfaces. Problems arise on surfaces with holes or joints because these “potholes” are immediately visible on film, and render the shot unusable. Unfortunately, even really small bumps on a surface cause this problem. So if you’re planning to put your cocktail on Instagram, you really should remove all napkins from the table to avoid bumps in the video. Even on very smooth surfaces, stuttering can creep in if the surface is a little uneven.
Easy to stow away in your pocket
After the shot is finished, the camera can be detached from the Pocket Skater 2 by using a coin. Now the rear wheel can be folded in, followed by the other two wheels. Next, the FlexTilt Head is returned to its initial position. This system makes the Pocket Skater 2 a really compact piece of equipment which fits in any backpack or even a purse.
No case available, unfortunately
As opposed to their treatment of the bigger sliders, Edelkrone does not offer a case for the Pocket Skater 2. Anyone who would like to take the dolly on the road is possibly out of luck here. Of course you can transport the skater without a case, but you may have to accept some wear and tear. I’m hoping Edelkrone follows up on that – once released a fitting case would be an instant buy.
Expensive Instagram fun?
Make no mistake about it: the Pocket Skater 2 is quite expensive. With just over 300 Euros you could almost call it outrageously expensive. But the quality of manufacturing is superb: the device is sturdy, high quality and as long as the ground cooperates, the shots succeed easily – at least with enough skill. Nevertheless, 300 Euros is a lot of money to shell out. Personally, I can’t imagine many buyers are willing to spend that much on a skater.
Gadget with good prospects
So, did the Pocket Skater 2 match my high expectations? I really can’t tell at this moment. A lot is possible with the Pocket Skater 2 and I surely have not used it to its fullest extent yet. It will probably still take quite a few laps around my gadgets until I find more possible angles and better ways to create a great atmosphere. Any adult who would like to get a –way overpriced– toy once in a while, can’t go wrong with the Pocket Skater. But at 249 Euros without taxes, really everyone should come back down to reality and refrain from buying. Or perhaps not: the Pocket Skater 2 is available at Edelkrone for a total of 300 Euros and change.