Monday, April 20, 2015

Filming with Movement

Michael Thompson holding a GoPro Hero 4 Black camera
mounted on s LanParte 3 axis gimbal stabiliser.
One the most difficult things to do is achieve decent, smooth camera movement at a reasonable price, something that almost everyone expects out of films these days, very different to the days when camera movement was almost non-existent. The zoom lens, introduced to motion pictures around the 1960s, was one of the first devices for achieving simple smooth movement, hardly used today in that context.
There are many devices that you can buy which will achieve camera movement for you, including

  • sliders, 
  • jibs, 
  • tracks, 
  • steadicams and so on
All are fairly limited in the movement they can create, at a price.
Steadicams are probably the most flexible of these, but they are quite difficult to operate without training and a lot of practice.
Hardy Productions UK have just invested in a 3 gimbal stabiliser, seen in the photo above, which is designed for very small cameras such as GoPros and smartphones. They are not particularly expensive and can give very good, smooth results without a lot of training and with limited practice as can be seen from this short film which was originally filmed in ultra high definition in one take (and presented in that format on YouTube if you are able to view in 4K):
Now it is a matter of being able to afford something similar for very much larger cameras, starting price £2000 approximately!
And don't forget the increasing popularity of drones, some of which now have cameras mounted to film in 4K very smoothly. But if you are going to use these professionally, you will have to observe the various regulations now in place including the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK.
For the time being, using the 3 gimbal stabiliser with GoPro alongside shots taken more traditionally by larger cameras is not a bad solution.