Want to capture cinematic camera movement with your gimbal? Here are a few moves you can bust out.
Handheld gimbals have helped change the way filmmakers move their cameras thanks to their compact design and image stabilization technology. If you've just recently jumped on the gimbal train, you're probably eager to get out there and capture some sweet, buttery smooth shots, but you may not be sure of where to start. Well, in this video, Matti Haapoja demonstrates a handful of standard camera moves many filmmakers use when shooting with gimbals. After the video, we'll share a few other creative ways you can move your rig for stunning kinetic shots.
Though basic, the camera moves Haapoja talks about in the video are definitely the ones you'll want to master early on because you'll most likely be using them the most. These include:
- Low angle follow shot: Get your camera low to the ground and follow behind your subject as they move.
- Basic follow shot: Follow your subject at eye-level (or shoulder-level, since you'll be following them).
- Lateral follow shot: Also known as your standard "tracking" shot, this shot is captured on the side of your subject, typically at eye-level.
- Leading shot: Walk backward as you capture your subject from the front.
- Circling shot: Filmmakers also call this an "orbit" shot, because your camera will basically "orbit" around your subject.
- Dolly in/out: Super simple, pretend your camera's on a dolly and simply push in or pull out.
As Haapoja mentions, things get interesting when you begin to stack these moves on top of each other, like a low angle follow shot that goes into, like, a half "orbit" shot that cranes upward into a leading shot. You can capture some really interesting long takes, or oners, if you come up with cool ways to combine these kinds of camera movements.
If you've already become comfortable with the basics and are looking for a few ideas on how to move your gimbal in more creative ways, you can try these:
- Whip pan: Though a little trickier to pull off with a gimbal, especially if it has a pan-assist function (which you'll probably want to turn off for this), a quick pan to the right of left makes for not only a cool-looking shot but it also opens up the door for a cool transition later on in post.
- Poor Man's SnorriCam: If you don't have the time, money, or patience to built or buy or SnorriCam rig, you can always have your subject hold the gimbal out in front of them and keep their arm rigid as they move around. It's not an ideal solution because you have to basically shoot from the top of the chest up, but it might be a good option in a pinch.
- High(er) Speed tracking shots: Shoot a tracking shot out of a car window or the bed of a truck. Just be safe!
- Moving through objects: I'm not clever enough to come up with a sweet name for these kinds of shots (if you are, leave them down in the comments), but since many handheld gimbals are small and lightweight, you can try going through openings of objects, like a window, someone's legs, a hula hoop, whatever is big enough to fit your rig through but small enough to make your audience go, "How did they get a camera through there?"
What are some other cool camera moves you can pull off with a gimbal? Let us know down in the comments.