When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to make movies. But I lacked the tools, know-how, and, especially, funds. So you can bet I envy the heck out of my kids' generation, who have ah-mazing moviemaking tools at their disposal -- many of which are cheap or free.
Indeed, armed with little more than a smartphone (or even an iPod Touch), you can create some pretty incredible stuff. Dirt-cheap apps like Pinnacle Studio and Videohance let you edit and enhance clips right on your device, while CollabraCam allows for multicamera control. Even younger kids can get in on the action with the stop-frame Lego Super Hero Movie Maker.
Of course, when you're ready to get a little fancier with your movies, you'll need some pro-level tools. And one of my favorites is the iStabilizer Dolly, a rolling skate that allows for super-smooth panning shots.
It may be on the pricey side at $59.95, but for a limited time, StackSocial has the iStabilizer Dolly for $33.14 shipped when you apply coupon code cskate15 at checkout. That's a Cheapskate exclusive, and less than you'll find it anywhere else.
The Dolly is a four-wheeled skate with a multijointed arm that lets you capture ultra-smooth panning and rolling shots. It works really well, and it's ridiculously cute to boot.
The included iStabilizer Mount is a cleverly designed spring-loaded holster for your phone. It doubles as a universal tripod mount, meaning you can use your phone not just with the Dolly, but also a standard tripod, a monopod, or the like. It can hold phones up to 2.75 inches wide and allows for super-easy insertion and removal.
The Dolly can work on a tabletop or other level surface, but it's most fun for shooting low-to-the-ground stuff. It rolls smoothly and effortlessly, and the eight-jointed arm lets you position your phone at almost any angle.
My advice: Grab a remote-shutter button as well, something that can start and stop video recording without you having to bend down and contort yourself to interact with onscreen buttons. Hit up eBay for "Bluetooth shutter button" and you'll find lots of options in the $10 range.
Whether for yourself or the young Spielberg wanna-be in your house, the iStabilizer Dolly is a great tool. (Don't take my word; check the user reviews at Amazon and iStabilizer.) And now it's a bargain, too.
Bonus deal: Finally, a decent deal on an Ultrabook! Today only, DealFisher (via Rakuten) has the HP Envy TouchSmart 14-k112nr Ultrabook for $599.99 shipped. It's new, not refurbished, and when you apply coupon code SHOPOWNER, you get 6,000 Rakuten Super Points (good for $60 in Rakuten credit). Specs include an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a 14-inch touchscreen running at 3,200x1,800 pixels (!). Oh, and you get 200MB of 4G LTE data per month, courtesy of T-Mobile. Suh-weet! Sellout risk: ginormous.