August 13, 2016

10 Things You Should Learn Before You Start Shooting on a Stabilizer

You're going to need to know a few things about shooting with stabilizers before you can get the most out of one.

Camera stabilizers give shooters the ability to produce super smooth, beautiful shots while in motion. However, shooting with a gimbal, monopod, or any handheld rig is going to be challenging not only a creative level, but on a physical and productivity level as well. So, if you want some tips on how to work more professionally and efficiently with a camera stabilizer, check out this video from Simon Cade of DSLRguide below.

There's quite a lot of effort and expertise that goes into pulling off a beautiful shot with a stabilizer, and though Cade includes some no-brainers in his list, like how to walk to avoid shaking the camera, but he also speaks about efficiency and focus work-arounds that will be especially helpful for solo shooters and skeleton crews. 

Here are the 10 tips he talks about in his video:

  • Walk carefully
  • Use wheels
  • Be as lightweight as possible
  • Use electronic panning
  • Use a quick release for easier balancing
  • Use a quick release for your tripod
  • Close down aperture
  • Keep equal distance from your subject
  • Let your subject move into focus
  • Think about the audience

I think in the beginning, one of the major challenges of using a camera stabilizer, other than figuring out how to balance the damn thing, is preparing for how taxing it is on your body. It's funny, because the rig itself gives the illusion that your shots, and even your camera, is weightless—like they're suspended in air—but these things can be really heavy. The DJI Ronin is about 10 lbs. by itself and that's not factoring in the weight of your camera, lens, and any other on-board accessories, like monitors, mics, and battery packs.

But once you build a rig that you can operate without getting too fatigued too quickly and you master those handy work-arounds for focus pulling, you can really start to dive into the best part of shooting, which is probably the reason you started shooting in the first place: capturing great images that speak to your audience.     

Your Comment

9 Comments

So another video repackaging basic logic, whats in a manual and what he's watched in other videos and articles? I'll still give him credit for the effort, but he talks as if he's been working professionally for 20+ years or magically figured it out himself=)

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF...

August 14, 2016 at 9:13AM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
957

Welcome to the internet: the digital echo chamber of the world.
Recycled easy to digest content often gets the most attention.
Put it in a list and it will get even more clicks: 'top 10...' 'the 5 best...' '7 things to avoid...'
That is marketing :-p

August 14, 2016 at 10:23AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9068

Ok so how relevant is this site to filmmakers when it becomes more about marketing than the content? I have been coming to NFS for awhile and there seems to be a steady decline in quality of posts and the reception they are getting as it becomes more about generic marketing. There are plenty of other sites that don't offer so much marketing. Just because the internet has become the echo chamber for who Taylor Swift is having sex with that week doesn't mean every blog needs to follow suit in order to have enough effective click bait.

August 14, 2016 at 3:27PM

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Jake
364

Yes, welcome indeed, ha. When information comes from people that are established with actual careers, hearing what they have to say about a subject has some meat, some legitimacy. They can insert personal professional experience. This kid regurgitates his "hints" and "tips" well enough, but he can't add real world knowledge because it consists of mostly high school and personal projects. He's getting some recognition slowly, but for what exactly.... regurgitating what everyone else knows=) His site is film making for beginners....but he's a beginner, yet talks like an "expert", hehe. Its not incorrect advice. Anyone can give tips, but its sort of insulting. Then again, its free, not a paid college course. So if he helps people, kudos. Guess its like people who's music is just samples of everyone else's music.

August 14, 2016 at 8:24PM, Edited August 14, 8:24PM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
957

Yeah, the guy is annoying as fuck and never says anything beyond common sense or basic well known tips, however judging by the comments, lots of people appreciate his stuff.. I'll just stop clicking on his videos that NFS for some reason are featuring so often.

August 19, 2016 at 3:05PM

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zetty
Filmmaker
750

The Ronin is indeed pretty heavy. I was so surprised when I saw that number, since the MoVI M15 weighs 5lbs.

Gimbals are heavy. It's like going to the supermarket, get a 10lbs bag of potatoes and than carry it home 2 feet in front of your chest.
Make sure your back is in a good shape and don't overreach.

This little webapp shows you how the weight limit for safely carrying anything changes with the position of the payload:

http://gezondbelast.nl/safelifter.html

Always mind your health.

August 14, 2016 at 10:33AM, Edited August 14, 10:33AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9068

Simon's tutorials consistently provide useful information in a manner that is easy to follow. Many experienced professionals are not able to pull this off despite extensive resumes. There is a skill to distilling and presenting information in a cogent manner, and anybody who has shot a lot of industrial video understands this. Although his professional experience may be limited, his background, ethos and style are a good match for a website called No Film School.

August 15, 2016 at 11:14AM

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Marc B
Shooter & Editor
600

You would be totally right if the subjects the guy is covering were at least to an extent complex/sophisticated -- but they aren't. Also, he is not catering to a mindless consumer but rather to aspiring professionals or at least enthusiastic amateurs, who should be able to digest information even if it's not perfectly laid out and spoonfed.

If anything, he is best at life coaching for a certain type of people who need to be told how to live and constantly reassured. That shit was pretty impressive for what it was.

August 19, 2016 at 4:10PM

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zetty
Filmmaker
750

Close down aperture?

Using a wide-angle lens is way more helpful than that.

August 21, 2016 at 6:54PM

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David Gurney
DP
1902