When I was in college in the early 2000s, I still vividly remember how much I had to improvise to make my shots look like a real movie. Back when sliders and gimbals still weren’t available to the masses, we had to create makeshift rigs with PVC pipes and ride skateboards for tracking shots.
Of course, a lot has changed since then. These days, even amateur filmmakers now have access to all sorts of accessories online to achieve cinematic shots. However, I think it’s still important to instill in people the value of DIY ethos in filmmaking. You can’t always bring a carload of gear to every location, so learning how to shoot quality footage with minimal equipment will benefit you in this line of work.
This new video from Sheldon Evans shows you that you can achieve a lot even with basic equipment. With a little creativity, you can use a tripod, a camera strap, and even a string, to create stabilized shots and buttery movements.
The most important advice he shares in the video is to achieve three points of contact for stabilized shots. The simplest way to do this is by putting the camera strap around your neck and pulling away from you. The tension the strap creates minimizes the camera shake your hands make.
We often think that tripod is only capable of panning and tilting. However, there are also plenty of other ways to create different camera movements with it. In the video, Sheldon shows that you can create dramatic reveal shots by extending the first two legs and using the third one as a handle.
If you don’t have a tripod, you can also use a string to create stabilized shots. All you have to do is attach it to the camera and step on both ends of the string. Just like the camera strap, the tension it will help minimize camera shake.
Evans also adds that you can also add movement to your footage in post. Simply go to the effects panel, move to the beginning of the clip, and toggle scale animation. Next, move to the end of the clip and change the value to about 110%. Using this effect can drastically reduce the resolution of your footage. Therefore, it’s not recommended if you’re shooting below 1080p.
As shown in the video, you often don’t need expensive equipment to achieve cinematic movement. No more silly excuses about not getting the shots you want when you already have all you need.