Gimbals can be a wonderful filmmaking tool. They’ve become quite popular over the last year or two, very popular in fact. But are they becoming overused? That’s the argument put forth by Jakob Ownes from TheBuffNerds. He feels that gimbals are overused and take away from not only the story being told, but the storytelling power of gimbals themselves.
A motorised gimbal is one of the most useful tools you can get today for camera stabilisation. They’re much easier to get to grips with than a steadicam style stabiliser, and their prices have come down dramatically in the last year or so. For mobile phones, action cameras, DSLRs or even big RED setups, they are absolutely invaluable. But using them effectively can be challenging.
The temptation is just to hold them static in front of you and shoot away. But this can lead to pretty boring footage. This video from DP Justin Jones for Aputure’s Four-minute film school goes through 13 essential movements that you should know. You don’t need to use all of them in every production, but they will give you many interesting and exciting options when it comes time to edit.
Getting clean stable footage is often one of the more difficult challenges with video. Especially while you’re still figuring everything out. Recently, we showed you several tips for getting stable handheld footage. Even relatively smooth handheld footage, though can benefit from a little extra assistance.
As technology advances, there are many ways to make your footage more stable. Using both software and hardware solutions. This video from YouTuber eevnxx goes through four of those methods to help get your footage as smooth as possible.
As far as wacky ideas go, this one actually seems pretty useful. Using a drone with a gimbal stabilised camera as a handheld rig isn’t a big secret. I know a few people who’ve done it, and I’ve tried it myself a couple of times, too. But they’ve all been fairly basic. Either they’re using a Phantom and simply holding the landing gear, or it’s a quickly put together DIY rig.
This, though, is pretty cool. It’s the Polar Pro Katana, and it turns your Mavic Pro into a handheld gimbal stabilised camera. This is the first time I’ve seen a ready-made solution, though. I wonder if it was possibly inspired the DJI Inspire 2 launch with a film which was shot by a drone using this exact technique.
3 axis handheld motorised gimbals seem to be the hot new toy at the moment. Electronic image stabilisation in small systems like action cameras and mobile phones sucks. Optical image stabilisation is rare, and still not amazing. So, a motorised gimbal helps to keep things smooth and steady and level. I got one myself about six months ago, the Zhiyun Smooth C, and they are extremely handy.
For Chinese drone manufacturer Zerotech, though, handheld gimbals just don’t go far enough. So, they’ve built one inside their recently announced Rollcap, and action camera that doesn’t require external motorised control. Photo Gear News got to check it out in person at CES recently.
Looks like stabilizing gimbals are moving from being categorised as pro gear and are being commoditized. And a prime example of this would be this Hello Kitty camera phone gimbal.
I am not sure what is the motivation behind this but if I had to take a wild guess, I would say that the marketing director has small kids. Either way, this 2-Axis gimbal feature 2 Axis stabilization, a -45 to +225 degrees tilt axis, and a -60 to +240 degrees roll axis. But never mind that, it has a huge Hello Kitty face.
Here is the movie that shows how to use the gimbal:
As we wrote earlier, GoPro introduced their new Karma grip and made it available for purchase. While it really seems to do a marvelous job for stabilizing your videos, not everyone can afford it. And when you’re tight on budget, you can always get creative. In this tutorial, you will see step by step instructions for making your own 3-axis gimbal. And considering it’s DIY, the results it gives are fantastic.
Shooting video in hot sweaty dance clubs is thirsty work. But one ambitious young filmmaker has managed to solve that problem. Using his DJI Ronin upside-down, Israeli photographer and filmmaker Oleg Balzanov manages to keep refreshed while he films and dances.
It’s not a new idea, but it is the first time I’ve ever actually seen anybody pull it off in the real world. After posting the video to Facebook, it’s proving to be quite popular. I do wish it had lasted just a few seconds longer, though, to see what happened at the end. It looks like somebody was just about to bump into him. Now that really would be a stabilisation test!
I’ve become a fan of Yi Technology’s action cameras since I started using them a couple of months ago. For what they offer, they’re an absolute bargain, and they work very well. A video posted to YouTube today suggests that they’re expanding their range to include stabilisation.
Having recently picked up a gimbal for use with my phone, one soon realises how useful they are for handheld filming. I’ve been thinking about picking up another for using with action cameras, and it looks like the list of options just got a little longer.
DJI have updated their Osmo handheld gimbal camera to provide up to 7x zoom capabilities. Like the recently announced Zenmuse Z3 zoom camera for the Inspire 1, it’s actually a 3.5x optical zoom. On top of this is a 2x “digital lossless zoom”. Technically the “digital zoom” is really a crop mode, and is only available when shooting 1080p.
You get a field of view equivalent to a 22-77mm focal range on a full frame camera. It’s a comfortable range. It’s compatible with the DJI GO app, so you get full remote control and viewing from your cellphone or tablet.