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February 24, 2014

This Ingeniously Simple Trick Will Keep Your GoPro Footage Nice & Steady

GoPro tipWhether you're shooting on a large cinema camera, DSLR, or even your smartphone, there is no shortage of stabilization tools out there that are built to help you keep your footage steady. If you're shooting on an action camera, there are a bunch of options for you, too, like the EasyGimbal, STABiLGO, Morpheus, and a host of others, but YouTube user MicBergsma offers a super simple stabilization trick that quite honestly made me say, "Man, why didn't I think of that?" Continue on to check out the video.

As you might've guessed from the photo above, the trick is to simply hold your GoPro against your face. It might sound like a no-brainer, but quite honestly, it never occurred to me to try something like this, which is pretty interesting considering that our heads are probably one of the most well-stabilized things in the world (except for maybe this).

Though the aforementioned GoPro stabilizers are pretty awesome, they can be pretty spendy, and hand grips like the one used in the video (possibly a Grenade Grip), though relatively inexpensive, don't offer the same steadiness that a gimbal would. So, by using this technique in tandem with a grip, you'll get much better stabilization than you would if you just used your arm.

Check out the video below to get an idea of the results you could get by using this trick. (By the way, MicBergsma has tons of other GoPro-related videos and tutorials on his YouTube channel, so be sure to check him out.)

Do any of you use a similar technique to stabilize your action cameras? What tricks have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.

[via MicBergsmaFilmmaker IQ]

Your Comment

29 Comments

Wondering if you have the GoPro up against your face/mouth while filming, won't you get the sound of you breathing predominantly coming through all your footage?

February 24, 2014

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Heather

If you are relying on your GoPro for audio, then don't do it...but you probably shouldn't ever rely on your GoPro for audio.

February 25, 2014

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Brett

The sound of constant breathing might be an improvement over your usual GoPro audio.

February 25, 2014

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Chris

Not a probleme for him ;)

February 24, 2014

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Raph

I wouldn't do that with a rental

February 24, 2014

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Anthony Marino

The gopro is waterproof, wash it under a tap!

February 25, 2014

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Tone13

Why no mention of the headband mount? Isn't it better to leave both hands free?

February 24, 2014

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You can still get shaky footage with a head-mounted gopro. The advantage of this method is that you still have a hand on the camera, and are using your head as a point of stability. Having two points of contact definitely gives you a lot more control than just one. Think about it like this: using a dslr with one hand is going to be a lot shakier than with both hands on camera. But the best way to stabilize a shot (for still photography at least) is to actually put your eye to the viewfinder.

February 24, 2014

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Ben Gates

I believe you're missing the point. By having two points of stability, one at the handgrip and the other at the face, you'll have more stability than just simply having it on a headband which is just one point.

February 24, 2014

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Franco

I use an lcd viewfinder with my dslr for similar results.

February 24, 2014

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Eric

Is it weird I do this with my forehead on a dslr? You can't question the results XD Heck, who even needs a monopod, you are the monopod!

February 24, 2014

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Franco

I mount my DSLR to a helmet rig that I built. Same principle. When my arms get tired the camera can just sit on my head and continue filming.

February 25, 2014

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i want to take some seminars on directing how

February 25, 2014

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This guy's great! Can't believe I'd never thought of this before.

February 25, 2014

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What a geezer i love his sense of initiative hes getting very decent results

February 25, 2014

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Sam Mitchi

How is this different than mounting it to your head, by clipping it on backwards baseball cap or snorkel gear or whatever?

February 26, 2014

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trackofalljades

Because you are also holding it, giving you two points of contact rather than just one.

February 26, 2014

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Brett

I <3 Mic Bergsma! His tip videos are pretty awesome. Licking the casing to remove water drops? Genius.

February 27, 2014

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Kris

I've got a goofy trick I use with our go pros. Ca,e up with it years ago for a Hi 8 shoot of a band at a club.
I just use a bit of rope or shoestring to make a 3 point harness to hang it from and then carry it about waist height. Works horribly if done wrong, stellar if done right.
Takes a little practice to keep it from leaning and wobbling too much, but other than that it uses the weight of the camera as the "steadycam" bit.
Adn then there is always the Raimi/Coen 2x4 Steadycam.
2 guys carrying a camera mounted to a 2x4 between them.
EG: Evil Dead.

February 27, 2014

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Russ D

The Evil Dead-cam was actually the inspiration for what I do. I just take two gobo arms (cuz I don't hv a boom pole, but have several c-stands and mount it to the arm. It's sort of like a hand held jib arm and you have two points of contact, plus you've got more range, plus you have more mass so that alone stabilizes it a great deal. Also, you've removed the lens from the center of gravity, which is basically what any gimbal does. I first started doing it trying to film salmon in spawning season on a doc I'm working on. They would always get nervous when I got too close, and my footage sucked, but putting the gopro on an arm did the trick and I could get inches away from them. As soon as I did it, I realized it works great for any non-hard mount gopro solution.

March 2, 2014

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Daniel Mimura

Great idea. But why not add a mouth grip as well as there will be times when you need to use both hands and keep on filming!

February 27, 2014

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ian potts

Hmmm... What if I would strap my Gopro to my forehead? I would have one more free hand, no snoring on the movie, and I wouldn't kiss my Gopro all the time. That's it!!! A head strap!!! What an invention!

Damn, Gopro has it years ago :-)))

http://gopro.com/camera-mounts/head-strap-mount

February 28, 2014

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PR

This is simply how 35mm still photographers kept their cameras steady for the last fifty years (to be able to use slower shutter speeds). Lots of technique to it, especially regarding the use of a tight shoulder strap.

February 28, 2014

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Jack

That's a great idea to steady the camera, but the steady cam curve will do the same without looking dumb in front of your friends. http://www.goprocustommounts.com

March 6, 2014

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tip. remove all attachments from case, attach a neck strap to the camera using the attachment eyelet, long enough to have camera hung on your neck. just like a good old camera. then when photographing or filming exert tension on the strap by adjusting its length. this is will give support to the camera. it works like a tripod.
look up some you tube videos neck strap as stabilizer"

April 27, 2014

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alex

I've used the easy gimbal with great success. I like how bergsma thinks outside the box. He has some really cool videos on YouTube! I usually shoot on a 3ft long piece of fiber carbon. I've found by flipping the camera upside down it helps stabilize the video a bit better. There's a setting in the camera where you can set it to record in the upside down position if that makes sense.

May 17, 2014

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I almost always use the chest mount. Though perhaps not as stable as this method, typically because the chest is closer to your center of gravity, it's a little more stable than a head mount of holding it by hand

June 23, 2014

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Robert

That's why I can shoot pretty stable footage with the GH4 because you can look through the eye piece while it's recording.

June 24, 2014

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What I did was this:

1 - Take a course in anatomy, medical surgery, and mechanical engineering
2 - Wrap a tourniquet around my wrist cutting off blood circulation to the hand
3 - Drink an entire bottle of high proof alcohol. Preferably, whiskey
4 - Grab my mini samurai sword and wrap my head in my rising sun bandana
5 - Yell Banzai! and sever my hand at the wrist joint. Note: this must be a clean cut and you only have one shot.
6 - Scream from agonizing pain and pass out for an indefinite amount of time.
7 - Wake up and whimper from the throbbing and immense pain.
8 - Pass out again
9 - Wake up and don't pass out again.
10 - From the point of your new wrist wound, insert a metal rod about 3 inches long with a ball knob at the end.
11 - Take the pain like a boss
12 - Now attach your gyroscope attachment that you have hopefully built before severing your hand.
13 - Marvel at your ingenuity for you are now a walking bionic gyroscope man
14 - Take many beautiful videos. Just don't use this arm to wipe your butt. We don't want to see that.
15 - Listen to the screams of abject horror as you walk around and show people what you have made. FTW!!!

September 3, 2014

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Ehb