Nobody wants to watch a YouTube video that makes you feel carsick. That’s why a local startup based in the Berlin co-working space Betahaus is putting an end to the bad vibrations of shaky hand-held films.
The LUUV camera stabilizer (LUUV rhymes with ‚move‘), which is available for pre-order ($250), allows users to mount their phone or camera on a hand-held weight system that cancels out any vibrations.
Predominantly aiming their product at skaters and snowboarders („people who move“), LUUV last week finished off an electronic prototype of the original weighted version. This gives the startup some serious potential for expansion into the field of handheld camera stabilisation for semi-professional film crews.
Following a successful campaign on Indiegogo (bringing in over $60,000), the team of born-and-bread Berliners are now taking their product to the States for another round of funding and marketing.
We asked LUUV’s CMO and co-founder Tobias Gerhardt how they got started with their innovative camera stabilizer.
WebMagazin: Tell us a little bit about LUUV, how does your camera stabilizer work?
Tobias: By attaching your camera or smartphone to LUUV you will be able to shoot perfectly smooth and shake-free videos since it detaches the movement of your hand from the camera. Awkwardly shaky videos that you get when filming with a cam or a phone you hold in your hand while in motion are a thing of the past.
LUUV is mainly geared to the needs of fun sport enthusiasts but can be operated by rookies and pros in the same manner easily with only hand (please see the photo attached). Also, LUUV is compatible with all actioncams, all smartphones and digital compact cameras up to approximately 500 grams and you can switch from one device to another and adjust it in almost no time.
Shake-free sports videos on an iPhone
We are also developing a DSLR-version at the moment. Another specific characteristic about LUUV is that its shell which covers the mechanic and sensible components inside is 3D-printed on industrial high-precision 3D-printers and makes it robust and ideal for outdoor use.
WebMagazin: What would you say makes Luuv a special startup? How do you stand out in the Berlin tech scene?
Tobias: The majority of startup is focusing on digital products and especially developing apps. LUUV is obviously a haptic product that solely relies on the laws of physics and everybody can try out, use and understand right away – this way it clearly stands out.
Beyond that, it’s interesting to see that the focus on start-ups in Berlin is slightly but constantly shifting from soft- to hardware and that our development over the last few months motivates other to also choose this way.
Not that we don’t appreciate the ideas behind software startups – there really are some groundbreaking ones in the making which we cannot await to test ourselves – but we hope that an increasing number of inventors dares to build a company around their brilliant ideas for exciting hardware tools and that this movement will lead to a strong and connected berlin hardware community, which shares makerspace, infrastructure and capacity.
Over $60,000 in crowdfunding
WebMagazin: What stage of development are you in at the moment? How are you being funded?
Tobias: We have been shooting our own videos with prototypes that are currently in their 10th generation and are communicating via our social media channels for several months now. From March until May we ran a crowdfunding campaign from and even exceeded our original goal of $50,000.
Thanks to our early backers, we are now able to finalize LUUV in detail, find the most economical way and method to manufacture it and makes sure it will be delivered in the best quality upcoming fall.
A gap in the market
WebMagazin: How did you come up with the idea for Luuv?
Tobias: It started in the winter of 2012 during a snowboard vacation. As GoPro unsers from the very beginning, we knew that shots we made with the camera in our hands or using helmet cameras would lead to extremely shaky videos. Unfortunately, our efforts to capture snowboarding skills on video kept failing, even with our GoPros mounted on camera stabilizers.
The reasons were that whilst at least our footage turned out to be less shaky, the balancing of the camera took us over an hour. On the snowboard the stabilizers bugged us with their complicated handling as well with their susceptibility to gusts of wind. So we asked ourselves „what is the intent and purpose to offer the possibility to mount actioncams on stabilizers if these systems are not suitable for the actual use with these types of cameras?“ and started developing our own stabilizer.
WebMagazin: And what were you doing before then?
Tobias: Felix, the inventor of LUUV, studied ’smart materials engineering‘ at universities in Germany and Canada. In his spare time he rides all kind of boards, be it a skateboard, a snowboard or a kiteboard. Tim is currently finishing his M.A. in „media science“ and did his Bachelor in media management together with Friedrich who has worked for advertising consultants in the past few years. I have a background in service marketing and management. We all share a passion for film and photography.
The LUUV team during an ARD interview in the Betahaus
WebMagazin: And finally, why Berlin?
Tobias: Almost all members of the core team and our amazing freelancers were born and raised in Berlin. And because, without exaggeration, Berlin can be seen as Europe’s start-up center, there are a lot of events taking place where we have the chance to present LUUV to a broader audience and make connections to interested people from various fields.
We work in the co-working space Betahaus in direct vicinity to many other startups with inspiring ideas which facilitates countless amazing and valuable everyday encounters that help sparking new ideas. So there has never been a doubt about staying in our hometown and trying to get LUUV out in the world from Berlin.