For years, amateur videographers were looking for technology to produce professional looking videos. The wait is over. A shaky camera or a sudden bump can ruin perfectly good footage, forcing time-consuming and potentially expensive reshoots. Travel YouTubers and famous Instagrammers , all use tools like drones, gimbals, and stabilized cameras to improve their video production quality. Gimbal stabilizers provide the support of a tripod with the maneuverability of your own feet, improving the film quality while you walk and shoot.
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Back in the olden days, there was a problem for filmmakers to make shots in the field without full rigs, so talented folks made custom stabilizing mounts. In Garrett Brown invented what is probably still the best-known stabilizer called the Steadicam and it changed how professionals could make shots. The Steadicam used a series of sophisticated arms and springs to allow for steady handheld shots, even when the operator was moving.
Learning to use a Steadicam took time and the weight took its toll on professional operators over time. In Martin Stevens invented the Glidecam, which uses a post, a camera plate, a free moving grip and weights on the bottom to stabilize movement.
Glidecams, from places like Gimbal Garage , are lighter and less expensive than Steadicams but still require practice and skill to use well. These cost less money, but still require time and practice to work well. Sadly, in the race to reduce prices quality was often questionable, and a lot of junk hit the market.
If you are looking for an excellent manual stabilizer that works really well with cameras weighing up to 6 pounds, well in the range for an interchangeable lens camera, the Glidecam is a superb choice. Another great option in this space, again ideal for the interchangeable lens camera video maker is the Steadicam. Either of these stabilizers does a superb job with the understanding that the camera operator practices and builds the skills for proper control. Gyroscopes help keep cameras level.
When we add servo motors, power packs and useful controls, we can leverage technology for stability with a shorter learning curve. DJI was in this space early with the original Ronin.
I have been the operator for commercial TV productions using these devices and currently have a Ronin-M in my gear kit specifically for video shot on interchangeable lens cameras. DJI really understands stabilizers, as in addition to consumer and prosumer products they also do some very high-end offerings for Hollywood type work. You may have seen other products like this sometimes called cranes. A couple are really good, most are challenging.
Many folks who try stabilizers and find the results unappetizing have missed the most important part, and that is getting the camera and lens mounted properly and properly balanced. Some of the early tutorials on balancing your camera read like some kind of live sacrifice was required to achieve even a reasonable balance, and I can assure you that there are crane devices out there, that you will never get properly balanced.
Having done a lot of work with the DJI Ronin family, I will tell you that getting these devices balanced is a lot easier than you will find on other products. I will tell you straight up that paying a bit more for a unit that is easy to balance will save you hours of time and numerous headaches. Practicing before your project is going to benefit you no matter what type of stabilization you choose. Folks with practice can move very effectively without compromising the stable platform.
VI and produce beautiful smooth footage. Whether you choose a manual or electronic stabilizer is a personal decision. Either can help you deliver beautiful smooth footage without having your camera locked down on a tripod, on a rail or on a cart. Bring some real world motion to your shoot and change how people see your work.
Ross has been a photographer for over four decades. He has worked as an apprentice, is a professional photographer, videographer and imaging educator. Ross leads workshops, seminars, photowalks and delivers customized mentoring programs. He has worked as an apprentice, been a professional photographer and a photographic educator. He is an amateur videographer and offers mentoring programs. We use a stabilizer. Manual Stabilizers Back in the olden days, there was a problem for filmmakers to make shots in the field without full rigs, so talented folks made custom stabilizing mounts.
Figure 2: Glidecam Another great option in this space, again ideal for the interchangeable lens camera video maker is the Steadicam. Figure 3: Steadicam Solo Either of these stabilizers does a superb job with the understanding that the camera operator practices and builds the skills for proper control.
Getting Electronic Help Gyroscopes help keep cameras level. The Key to Success is Balance Many folks who try stabilizers and find the results unappetizing have missed the most important part, and that is getting the camera and lens mounted properly and properly balanced.
Learning to Move Practicing before your project is going to benefit you no matter what type of stabilization you choose. Conclusions Whether you choose a manual or electronic stabilizer is a personal decision. Until next time, peace. Ross Chevalier.
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