While the vaccine rollout means there is now a light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic, we’re still many months away from a return to normal. And for those of us in education, that means another semester–at least–of teaching and learning from home.
IPEVO has been a leader in technologies to make education easier. As I mentioned in my review for their latest document camera, I’ve been using their products for years. And their newest product, the Uplift, continues that line of must-have products for all of us.
The Uplift is, basically, a stand for a cellphone. At first, that doesn’t seem terribly innovative: from kickstands to cases that can fold in interesting ways to phone clips to mount on tripods, the market is overflowing with things to let us prop our phones up and make them easier to watch and use as video cameras. So what does the Uplift do that sets it apart? A lot, as it turns out.
The first thing you’ll notice is that it is heavy. Except for the cellphone clip, it’s solid metal and weighs a bit over 2.5 pounds. In these times were it seems like we want to be able to take everything with us everywhere, heavy isn’t always seen as a plus. But honestly, the amount of times we’ve all trusted some light, cheap piece of plastic with our $1000 cellphones should make all of us cringe. You aren’t going to knock the Uplight over accidentally–I tried, and you really have to push the thing quite a ways before it’ll reach a tipping point and fall over.
The next thing that sets the Uplift apart is its height. Straightened out as much as possible, I was able to get the camera on my phone a full 19″ above the table. And sure, I could have done that with a phone clip on a tripod, but not while maintaining a mere 4″ footprint.
Then there are the angles. The Uplift has three points of articulation, allowing you to get the camera pointed at just about any angle you might think of, from completely vertical to horizontal and everything in between. And I’m not sure exactly how the joints are put together, but they are very stiff, so no matter what angle you position the arm at, it’s going to stay exactly there.
All of this combines to make the Uplift extremely useful. Whether you’re using your phone as a camera for video conferencing or online learning and want something at eye level, rather than something sitting on a kickstand where the others in the conference get a great view of your chin, or you need an ad-hoc video camera and so require an easy way to position your camera so that it is pointing directly at the desk, the Uplift will be there for you.
Oh, and I should also mention the time I used the Uplift for a non-educational purpose: playing a boardgame over Zoom. I needed to help it out a bit to get the height I needed to get the whole board in the shot, but it worked great and needed a lot less setup than my old solution of building a rack over my table with PVC.
At $59, the Uplift is more expensive than a lot of other camera mounts out there. But when you really compare, the stability and flexibility of the Uplift makes it well worth the extra money. And again, a little extra investment in this thing you’re trusting your $1000 camera on is definitely worth it. You can order an Uplift directly from IPEVO.