Ant Pruitt

Video creators are always looking for the best camera option for their creative projects whether it’s for a short interview, a vlog, or smooth B-roll. Remo Tech sent me its crowd-funded AI camera the Obsbot Tail AI camera several months ago prior to its official release for review. Claiming to be the world’s first auto-director AI camera, I was curious to see just how good the motion-tracking artificial intelligence (AI) was and if this device actually improves video directing. In short, it’s pretty, dadgum impressive.

Obsbot Tail specs

I gave a brief preview of the Obsbot Tail. To recap, the camera is mounted on a base and is approximately six inches in total height weighing roughly one pound. The mount also includes a swivel head for full 360-degree rotation as well as a gimbal to stabilize video capture. Video resolution goes as high as UHD (3840×2160) at 60 frames per second, up to 14mm focal length and a 2.4 aperture for low-light conditions. It uses USB-C for charging and a micro SD card for storage. With regards to the SD card, I recommend using a class 10 card for better performance.

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From a software standpoint, the Obsbot Studio mobile app (available for free on iOS and Android) allows you to control the camera with your touch screen to handle filters, panning, zooming, and other camera tools. It connects to your mobile device using the camera’s WiFi antenna and provides a live view of what the Obsbot Tail sees through its lens.

Using the Obsbot Tail is fairly straight-forward and easy now that the app has been updated a few times. The first iteration of the production app on Android was unstable and buggy. Now, the Android app’s performance is solid. Controlling the camera’s panning and pitch is as simple as dragging your finger across the screen. Tap where you want to focus, and the Obsbot Tail locks on instantly for your photo or your video.

Remo Tech harnesses the power of AI on the Obsbot Tail chipset which allows for gesture controls. This doesn’t mean using swipes on the Obsbot Studio app to control the camera. This means using gestures to take a photo or record video while you’re looking at the camera itself.

This is great for content creators wanting to record a video of themselves. Just mount the camera on a tripod via its ¼-20 thread and using the specified hand gestures, activate the camera recording with or without the mobile app. I found this to be pretty intuitive because the camera gives audible and visual indicators to let you know when recording starts or stops. If you want to record only the upper portion of your body for the video, there’s a gesture for that. As you show the gesture, you will notice the camera tilting and zooming to properly frame the shot you requested. Don’t want to stand idle in one spot while you record? You don’t have to. You can walk towards another part of your recording set or stage, and the Obsbot Tail will follow you and pan to keep you in frame.

AI motion taking prowess

Not only does the AI within the Obsbot Tail allow for nifty gesture controls, it also powers an outstanding motion tracking capability. Motion tracking isn’t a brand new tech innovation. DJI has used motion tracking in its drones to track subjects in the frame for quite some time. Remo Tech’s AI engine is much better. Period.

In my testing, I had the camera follow me around as I walked from point-to-point in my kitchen, and it was a typical task successfully handled. This was easy because I tapped my phone’s screen to signify myself as the point of interest. This practice is commonly used in drones today. In another test, I mounted the camera near the bottom of my stairs. Without setting a point of interest, I walked down the first flight of stairs, which placed me out of the camera’s field of view. As I approached the next flight of stairs, the Obsbot Tail quickly locked focus onto me and tracked me as I finished walking down the stairs (Figure A) .

Figure A: Still capture of video demonstrating motion tracking
Ant Pruitt

My last test was to try to trick the Obsbot Tail. While sitting at my desk, I had my son stand near my workstation as I worked. I wanted the camera to track his movement so I had him walk from one end of my office to another, but I also added an obstruction in the camera’s field of view. The camera was able to track him successfully even with the obstruction. But there’s more to this AI, than just tracking people on the set. Ever thought about making your pets a movie star?

Pet motion tracking capabilities

The Obsbot Tail can even track the motion of your pets–dogs and cats, specifically. To do this, you have to activate animal tracking within the app. This tells the AI to look for your animal and not for a person. This blew me away because in almost every instance, the Obsbot Tail nailed focus and tracking. The times it didn’t successfully track was due to low light and/or not enough contrast in the scene. My dog, KyloFinn, is a black-ish dog and in some instances he would blend into the background of the scene outside or near my dark furniture. The camera struggled for a second, but eventually would lock on once he moved into a frame with more contrast (Figure B). Pets move a lot faster than humans in most cases.

Figure B: Obsbot Studio app PET motion tracking in action
Ant Pruitt

The Obsbot Tail’s rotating arm and gimbal keeps up well with speedy animals The gimbal speed can be calibrated to do so. By default, the tracking is at a reduced speed as this conserves battery. But you can easily adjust it in the app settings and let it whirl.

Final thoughts

As a content creator, it’s important to have a great set of tools to not only make your content shine but allow you to efficiently create the content. I really like this camera as yet another tool in your creative tool kit. The AI is really impressive. The focal length on this camera is wide enough to allow you to move around on your set showing off products, tools, ingredients, and other items of interest. If you like to create video of just standing or sitting in front of the camera you have the same capability due to the tripod mount. Want to walk around with it on a mini tripod? You can. The camera will track your face, and the gimbal will help keep the footage stable. The footage is beautiful at UHD resolution and 60 frames per second.

You can purchase the Obsbot Tail for $589. I think this is a solid value considering all of the technology built into it. Even more, you can make your pet a film star with it.