The Follow by Edgee – automatically keep yourself in frame
If you’re creating content and don’t have the budget or friends you can force into being a camera operator while you move around, your options have been fairly expensive heat-tracking camera bases, or simply not moving. It touts itself as an AI powered auto tracking phone mount and more or less that’s what it’s pretty good at doing.
Today’s videos (below,) provided by my friend Jerud, who is currently launching a Tennessee-area hiking YouTube channel which I’ll promote the hell out of whenever it launches.
The Follow By Edgee is a rechargeable square box with a tracking camera that does a pretty good job of keeping you front and center. It can be mounted on a tripod, or placed on a flat surface, and the Follow will follow. There’s a USB-A out that can additionally be used to power things such as a ring light (which was included in the PR unit I received, although it appears to be a $10.99 add on,) and there’s a USB-C in for charging.
There’s a lot of talk about privacy being secured in both the PR and the getedgee site, but I don’t particularly think that privacy is particularly a thing in the motion tracking device market so I’m a little unsure where they’re going with that whole thing. It tracks you, it’s pretty good at it, that’s about that.
OK, so we’ll talk about this thing… I didn’t know what it was when it arrived as the ring light was on top and it just said “ring fill light” – very generic packaging, it sat for a while as honestly I was not expecting a ring light. I get a lot of random stuff in such as dog food carry bags, tech gadgets I’d never request, and as such thought this ring light was such a thing. It wasn’t. The Follow was underneath it and it was packaged pretty plainly as well.
I cannot say I like the ring light. It’s not bad, and I mean for $10 or so it’s ok, but yeah. It was packaged and looks so meh… not cheap, but not quality looking… and the results are completely just ok. I mean for $10 sure… but it feels like the best $7.45 could do.
Does the Follow by Edgee work?
The Follow does what it says. It follows you as long as it can see your face. I did not test the limits of this while I had it in my possession but I did manage to get out of frame if I worked at it (moving fast, attempting to, turning away and darting to the side.) Indoors and with expected lighting and not attempting to evade, it always seemed to work. Outdoors we had a few failures with Jerud’s filming/testing, I’m going to highlight all four of the ones he had, but be aware that it mostly does not fail.
Here’s a video of what it mostly did, work:
I’m going to highlight the fails here because honestly that’s what I’m interested in. I will stress for anything normal and indoors other than a little jerkiness this worked as advertised. If, however, you need perfect tracking all the time and 4-5 tracking fails over the course of a session of filming would derail you, this isn’t for you.
Below is a video of it ceasing to track.
What I don’t love about it is the movements are kind of jerky and there’s no way to define that you don’t have to be dead center all the time. While the priority is keeping you in frame, it would be nice if it could tell if you’re still in frame before it moves the camera. Also if when it moved it was a little smoother. You don’t notice it as much when it’s on a solid base but if you’re doing things this can be an issue.
Interesting tracking choices if you’re pacing below (centering is hit or miss on a pace)
There’s also that if you’re using this for an interview the interviewee can pull focus away, but then again this is mostly for your solo projects.
Follow by Edgee completely fails to recognize a face (the focus has nothing to do with the Follow)
I’m not entirely sure what it’s trying to track, but if you’re wearing a Covid mask it tracks you fine in case that’s a consideration. I’ve asked Jarud if he has an eyepatch to try but have not received an answer at this point.
Things to consider
A note from Jarud is that the tracking camera is mounted in such a way that it’s kind of angled up. If you’re far away and using a tripod you might have to angle the tripod down slightly to remain in the general area that the Follow follows. This is probably mostly an outdoor consideration but something he ran into when testing it for his channel.
There’s also that this thing is not water resistant, has no mobile accessories such as a bag or plugs, it’s for indoor use mostly. That’s ok.
Notes from Jarud
- About as good as roping a kid or spouse into being a camera operator.
- Sensor level angled up a bit, you’ll need to compensate on a tripod
- Eye level at middle seems to be a problem for it to track
- You need to plan your shots
Do I need the Follow By Edgee?
Do you have to remain in frame, do a lot of content in which you’re moving around like a caffeinated weasel? Have space for a small but useful brick in your arsenal? Just want to be able to move around a room and have the camera properly follow you without having to go and point it and then find out you’re out of frame and then have to go and point it again?
It’s useful, I’d imagine if you’re a cam operator (onlyfans? is that what the kids are calling it these days?) it would be vital and priced at $40 a useful investment. If you’re trying for more of a professional feel the jerky movements are going to make you a tad twitchy, although they could probably be smoothed out if you’re not looking at a high percentage of your footage being those.
The Follow by Edgee I think is a pretty decent little product that you’ve got to have a use case for. I don’t have the use case so my enthusiasm is tempered. The ring light, meh. For $40 it’s a pretty budget accessory if you need to do some filming alone.
You can grab either the Follow by Edgee, or the ring light, or both at GetEdgee.com