January 14, 2018

No Gimbal? No Problem! How to Shoot Better Handheld Footage

Going handheld doesn't have to result in a shaky mess if you use these stabilization techniques.

Whether it's by choice or because you have no other option, shooting handheld can be stressful and difficult. It's a constant battle trying to minimize camera shake while also trying to focus on, well, focus, framing, and your subject's performance. However, there are definitely techniques you can use to take your handheld game to the next level and in this video from PremiumBeat, Zachary Ramelan goes over a few of them, as well as some sweet camera moves you should master.

Handheld camera work seems pretty straightforward, I mean, it's literally just grabbing your camera and shooting, but you want that footage to come out clean and beautiful or, at the very least, watchable. So, here are a few tips Ramelan mentions in the video:

  • Don't shake your camera: "Well, no f*cking duh!" Hold on there, cowpoke. I'm talking about shaking your camera on purpose to give it more of a handheld look. I get it, you want to give your action sequence, chase scene, or fight scene a little kinetic energy, but your camera probably doesn't need any help shaking around if you're shooting handheld.
  • Move from the hips: If you do want to add more camera shake, don't use your hands to do it, use your midsection or your shoulders instead. It will produce a much more natural and watchable moving image.
  • Keep your camera near your core: One of the most stable places to shoot handheld from is your core. So, hold your camera down near your sternum to get smoother shots.

It's also a good idea to shoot use your camera strap as another point of contact. See, when you shoot handheld you're probably using both hands to hold your camera—that's two points of contact. That's okay, but you can stabilize your camera a lot easier if you add another point. So, just attach your camera to a camera strap and throw it around your neck—now your neck is the third point of contact and you're ready to go!

What are some other tips and tricks for better handheld camera work? Let us know down in the comments!     

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5 Comments

This site is a skeleton of its former self. Depressing how quickly it fell of the cliff. Why are people still writing articles?

January 15, 2018 at 12:00AM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2726

Sometimes they still produce solid articles, but yeah, I feel you.

January 15, 2018 at 2:34AM

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Arne Noot
Videographer / Editor
141

I mean, not having a go or anything...it's slipped from a daily check to a weekly check for me. Sometimes two weeks in between visits. The articles are still fine it's just a total lack of community or desire to cultivate one.

It's like they opted to go the route of a large site without considering that this is a niche thing...and in the process lost their niche audience.

January 15, 2018 at 3:56AM, Edited January 15, 3:56AM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2726

January 15, 2018 at 10:47AM, Edited January 15, 10:47AM

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"I shoot 90% of my handheld shots like this..." *holds up hands*
There, I just saved you 6 and a half mins. But, it does leave the question of how he shoots the other 10% of his HANDHELD shots...
Completely pointless.

January 17, 2018 at 6:09PM

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bp
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