Horse riding or playing sports on your own just got a whole lot easier. The development of auto follow cameras means you can now set up a camera alongside or inside the arena to capture your riding sessions without the need for a camera operator to pan, zoom, start or stop recording.
So how do these robotic tracking cameras work? The rider wears a watch/tag that the robotic base tracks and automatically adjusts the camera’s zoom to focus on the object.
Also, unique to the Pivo Pod, the Pivo app tracks the outline of the horse and riding through sophisticated AI.
These cameras are useful for all kinds of sports and activities such as horse riding (which we will focus on), surfing, football, and making YouTube videos.
Why Should I invest in an Auto-Follow Camera?
Many riders spend a lot of time training their horses on their own but are unable to see what they’re doing from afar to go back and review their riding session.
An auto-follow camera can help us review our riding progress or even have live online riding lessons with instructors.
Benefits of Using a Motion Tracking Camera:
- Analyze your riding position and the horses’ way of going to help you progress
- Send a video to a trainer or friend for advice and feedback
- Record a clinic or lesson so that you can go back later and make notes on the trainer’s comments/instructions
- Vlogging on YouTube
- Live Streaming
Let’s take a look at the 5 best auto-follow cameras for sports and horse riding.
5 Best Auto Follow Cameras
Pixio & Pixem
Considered the best-in-class, the Pixio is an automated tracking video camera that is compatible with most standard video cameras. For the complete package, you can buy a bundle that includes both a camera and a tripod.
The Pixem is an automatic tracking camera mount that is designed for use with your existing smartphone and tablet. Connect and place your smart phone to the provided mount and see the Pixem smoothly following around the arena.
It will also control your phone’s camera zoom feature to auto-zoom in and out to keep you perfectly in frame. It’s like having your own robotic cameraman!
Created by the company Move ‘N See, the Pixio is also the official auto-follow camera supplier of FEI Dressage and US Equestrian. See this video below from US Grand Prix Rider, Suzie Halle on why she uses the Pixio.
Included in the basic bundle for both are three micro beacons with tripods, either a tag (Pixem) or a watch (Pixio) with a wristband, batteries and chargers. The Pixem also includes a smartphone / tablet holder. See here on their website.
- Can be used indoors or outside
- Using the 3 beacons the whole arena can be covered
- Well supported with easy to follow YouTube tutorials and set up guides
- Range of 330 foot / 100m
- Tracking and zoom is fully automatic
- Live streaming is available via the free app
- Live lesson / coaching packages are available for a subscription charge (Move ‘N See)
- Only water resistant but the beacons can be protected by any plastic bag and they will still work. A rain cape can be purchased separately for the robot and camera unit
- Set up is required with the beacons being placed around the arena to triangulate the rider’s position
If you have the budget, the Pixio bundle with a camera and tripod is the most comprehensive and professional start-up package with good support and versatility for all kinds of sports. If you’d rather use your phone or tablet as the camera, the Pixem is the one.
Soloshot3 Robotic Cameraman
Soloshot was one of the first motion tracking cameras available with the inevitable teething problems. Soloshot3 is the third generation so improvements have been made but it is still only suitable for use outdoors.
The SoloShot3 with Optic25 camera is the one recommended for a standard 20m x 40m arena. It uses GPS sensors to automatically track the Tag worn by the rider to keep them in the frame.
Included in the bundle is the base unit, camera, Tag and armband, mini USB charging cable and getting started guide. You will need a 64gb microSD card or a 128gb UHS for the high-resolution video which are sold separately.
- 360-degree rotation
- Automatically adjusts, pans and zooms
- Best used for activities within a 600-foot range of the base but can track up to 2000 feet
- Straight forward to set up and well supported with user guides and online videos
- Livestream via the Soloshot app
- Ability to track multiple tags from one base
- For recording sessions longer than 90 minutes you will need to add a power bank to your base
- Not weatherproof but a rain cover can be purchased separately
- Only for outdoor use although an indoor accessory is planned but not yet available
Good starter set if you are on a limited budget and only filming outside. Read customer reviews here on Amazon.
Swivl C Series Robot
The Swivl C Series is a Robotic mount for iPad, camera or smartphone use to track and record videos of a moving person.
It is particularly popular with educational institutions for recording presentations, video observation, and coaching. Originally designed for indoor use it can be used outside. The bundle includes a base, primary marker, and a USB marker charger.
- Markers capture audio as well as video
- 360-degree rotation
- Swivl Cloud is free with unlimited storage
- One camera has a range of 32 feet so multiple cameras are needed to cover a normal size arena which increases the cost significantly
- You must use the cloud with the multi-camera option
- Swivl app needs to be installed and open to operate
Probably not the best option for recording riding sessions, but good if you are vlogging or doing educational videos.
Mevo is a small camera with a 150-degree lens to take in a large area of your arena. It has a live follow feature to enable it to track your ride.
Mainly designed for live streaming and editing which means you may not use all the features you are paying for. However, this could be a benefit for professional riders looking to maximize their impact on social media.
- Only 2.5 inches high so easy to carry about and fit to arenas at different venues
- Live edit feature can be used to edit out unwanted footage (untimely bucks or unplanned dismounts!)
- The camera is really designed to be placed closer to the subject rather than at the end of the arena
- Short battery life on the basic model but extra battery pack can be purchased separately
- Tripods and other accessories need to be purchased separately
Originally designed for live streaming and editing this is a great option if you are vlogging or making educational videos but probably not the first choice for capturing your riding sessions.
Built specifically with horse riders in mind, the Pivo has gained a following and traction over the last year in the equestrian world.
Although the Pivo is not a robot cameraman but an auto-follow camera mount, it can perform most of the requirements a horse rider would need to film their ride in a menage or field.
Rather than a camera, the user will need a compatible smartphone (most common phones are compatible). When engaged in horse riding mode, the Pivo will follow you and your horse as you ride and has a full 360 degree rotation angle.
Many features include live streaming and video calls, auto-zoom (which can be controlled by your trainer via a live lesson streaming session), and the ability to take photos with a snap of your fingers or a set command with your voice.
Additionally, Pivo have a big and very active Facebook group (click here to see the group) dedicated to equestrian Pivo owners. In the group, users can ask other users for help with setting up and using their Pivo. Pivo support also regularly responds to posts on the group.
- Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use
- Designed for equestrians
- Large online equestrian community
- Motion tracking isn’t as smooth as the Pixio/Pixem
Overall, we think the Pivo is the best motion tracking camera mount for horse riders on a smaller budget. With its awesome online community and ease of use, you can’t go wrong with the Pivo.
Which Auto-Follow Camera System is the Best?
If you’re able to afford it, the best auto-follow camera is the Pixio or Pixem. Move N’ See, creators of Pixio and Pixem, are the leading company for automatic cameras in the sports niche.
However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option made for equestrians, the Pivo is the best option for filming horse riding or indoor YouTube videos.