When you use a phone to take video, one of the major issues that makes that video look bad is that you’re unable to keep the image steady or straight. Tiny variations in inclination or rotation lead to ugly compression problems like skew, and anyway the image looks best when it’s stationary due to the H264 codec algorithms. You could, of course, put together a simple steadicam with a string and a washer, but this Kickstarter project from Woxom looks like a good “real” solution to the problem. The gimbal mount is really what makes it.
Minimizing the little changes in attitude you naturally make when moving the camera around will help a lot with making handheld video watchable. Of course, if you want to drastically change the angle during a shot (say by lifting the camera over your head and tilting it down), you’re more or less prevented by the gimbal, which keeps the phone at the orientation you set, be it parallel, inverted, or what have you. You can also unscrew the mount and put it on any other tripod, in case you don’t trust that beanpole to stay upright without you there to hold it.
There are two options: the Glyde is the cradle, counterweight, and gimbal-mounted handle, and the Orbit is the same plus a bearing in the handle for horizontal panning. They’re planned to be $69 and $99 respectively — not a bad price, if you ask me. Head on over to the Kickstarter page for more info, and donate a few bucks if you’re into it.
Update: The creator, Charles, tells me that he’s working on an adapter that will make regular point-and-shoots work with it as well. Of course, if your camera is already the size of a smartphone, then there’s no problem.