Gimbals can assist you in getting beautifully smooth, cinematic footage, but they aren’t foolproof. They have their limitations, and as with everything, they require a good deal of practice before you start to reap the benefits of using one.
In this beginner’s guide for using a gimbal, you’ll learn a few quick tidbits for getting the most out of your gimbal.
You Don’t Need a Gimbal for Every Shot
One of the most basic pieces of advice for filmmakers is to avoid panning and zooming too much.
The same can be said for using a gimbal…
Just because you have a gimbal doesn’t mean you need to use it for filming every single sequence. Sometimes, a still shot from a tripod is exactly what you need!
For example, if you’re interviewing someone for a film, don’t do it while you hold a gimbal in your hand. An interview doesn’t need smooth footage of you circling around the interviewee – that’s just distracting.
So, one of your first tasks as a gimbal user is to understand when and when not to use it.
Make Sure Using the Gimbal Adds to the Story
Adding on to the previous point, not only do you need to be aware of when and when not to use a gimbal, but you also need to be aware when using one does and does not add to the story.
If, for example, you need to shoot a point of view sequence that gives the audience a view of what a dog might see as it runs through a park, a gimbal might be a great choice.
You can invert the gimbal, get it at a dog’s height, and get smooth footage as you run with the camera. Doing so will help the audience to put themselves in the perspective of the dog, which obviously adds to the depth of the story.
But, if you’re doing an instructional video on how to build a table, it might be distracting (to you and the audience) to circle around the carpenter as they work at their woodworking table.
Much like the interview example above, sometimes the footage you need calls for a simple fixed camera setup on a tripod. In this case, keeping the video sequence simple allows the story of how to build to table take center stage.
Invest in a Quality Gimbal
You often hear photographers talk about how you should prioritize your budget for lenses rather than a camera body.
In videography, the same principle applies – some accessories are simply more important than others.
I’m not saying that a gimbal is the most important videography accessory for every shooter, but for me, having a quality gimbal has made all the difference in the world.
There are some accessories you can skimp on and get away with it. But if you’re going to go all-in on using a gimbal, why not get one that has the features to help you get the shots you need while giving you long-lasting and durable performance in the long-term?
This three-axis gimbal can handle up to eight pounds of gear, so even if you use a full frame DSLR with a light, a mic, and other accessories, this gimbal can take the load.
It has brushless motors to give you precise stabilization while the five built-in operational modes give you quick access to creative video sequences like 360-degree spin on the roll axis for a dream-like shot.
It has a 12-hour runtime, too, so you can shoot for hours on end without worry that the gimbal is going to run out of juice.
This thing is just a well-built, functional, and versatile gimbal that will help you get the job done!
Plan Your Shots in Advance
When you see footage that’s filmed while using a gimbal, it looks so seamless and effortless. But that doesn’t mean that it’s effortless to use a gimbal.
By the time you add your camera, a lens, a microphone, lights, and other accessories, you’ll have several pounds of gear on the gimbal. And that might not sound like much, but after hours of shooting, it can start to feel like a lot!
That’s why it’s so important to plan your shots in advance. Doing so allows you to prioritize getting the sequences you need with the gimbal first, and then you can shoot other sequences later on.
By saving your energy for the gimbal shots, you’ll keep fatigue at bay and be able to maximize the gimbal’s positive effects on your video.
Planning never hurt anyone when taking photos or making videos, anyway!