How to Avoid Shaky Footage When Shooting Without a Camera Stabilizer

You can still get smooth footage if you don't have a fancy camera stabilizer.

I think we can all agree that gimbals, tripods, and other camera stabilizers are excellent cinematic tools for keeping footage nice and steady. However, for those who may not have the money, access, or desire to get their hands on one, it's important to understand how to keep their camera smooth when shooting handheld. In this video, filmmaker Peter McKinnon gives you a bunch of tips on how to do just that. Check it out below:

If you've spend any amount of time shooting without a stabilizer, chances are you have your own approach to getting smooth shots. However, McKinnon unloads a ton of great tips, so there's bound to be a few that you haven't yet tried.

  • Shoot with two hands
  • Keep your camera close to your chest when recording
  • Maximize your points of contact (hold your camera against your chest/face, or use a camera strap)
  • Use a lens with an image stabilizer
  • Use Warp Stabilizer in Premiere Pro
  • Try out the "PM Rock-n-Tilt" technique
  • Moving your camera (panning, tilting, etc.) can hide camera shake
  • Shoot wide
  • Avoid changing settings while recording

How do you keep your footage stable when you shoot handheld? Let us know down in the comments.     

Your Comment



May 13, 2017 at 10:56PM, Edited May 13, 10:59PM

No Film School
CEO at Yes Film School

Was pleasantly surprised to have followed some of those out of my own wisdom, and would surely like to put in a few soft touches on the editing table.
And that, "PM ROCK N TILT" - quite a name for an unorthodox-yet-crazy sounding technique; might just give it a try.

May 15, 2017 at 2:04AM, Edited May 15, 2:04AM

Tanay Chaudhari
Film Appreciation, Reviewing, Screenwriting (in that order)

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July 18, 2017 at 3:23AM, Edited July 18, 3:23AM


Great tips. For beginners, they are vitally important. For those who are friendly with cameras good to revise them

June 1, 2018 at 7:02AM, Edited June 1, 7:02AM

Emma Hope