Gimbal Vs Glidecam – Which One Is Better For Cinematic Footage?

Gone are the days when you could purchase a good-quality camera with an excellent sensor to produce incredible footage. The twenty-first century is all about innovation but with innovation comes higher standards and no tolerance for anything less than perfect.

On the same note, footage shot without any image stabilization is considered worthless. Therefore, manufacturers have come out with image stabilization gadgets that ensure that your videos come out perfect, i.e., without any camera shake. Out of them, Gimbal and Glidecam are labeled as the go-to devices by numerous videographers. Their spectacular performance and sturdy built mean that you might as well record videos from a rollercoaster to achieve stable footage.

What is a Glidecam?

According to their website, the Glidecam Smooth Shooter is famous for its sophisticated yet budget-friendly stabilization system with support for cameras as heavy as 10 pounds. The broad claim, if true, supports the majority of cameras in the market as most of them weigh less than 3 pounds. Moreover, it promises stable footage, whether you are traveling over a poorly-built road or running around the block.

What is a gimbal?

Quite similar to a Glidecam, a gimbal is a pivoting device that allows videographers to rotate the camera along a single axis: a 3-axis gimbal is quite famous for recording footage by recording videos along three axes, namely pitch, yaw, and roll. They cover every direction a camera would move: ‘pitch’ is for up and down movement, ‘yaw’ moves the camera left or right, and the ‘roll’ axis is great for unlevelled lengths. As a result, your videos appear stable in every shooting motion: perfect for shooting action movies.

Ultimate Glidecam Vs Gimbal Showdown

As a newbie, you might find it hard to differentiate between the two devices. However, there are a few elements that allow users to decide between either one.

1. Image stabilizationWhats best for image stabilization

It is the most crucial factor to consider while purchasing an image stabilization device because, hey, we could always survive off your camera’s built-in image stabilization system if the external gadget lacks in this department. Gimbal deserves the award for producing exceptionally stable footage throughout the weight range of 5.5 pounds. This means that videographers get incredibly sharp results even if they attach a 5-pound camera to their gimbal. On the other hand, the Glidecam ranks way lower even by connecting a much lighter camera. Most people get rid of the gimbal’s weight limitation by purchasing an alternative as the performance is significantly better than Glidecam.

2. PanningCamera movement panning

We found the performance of the Glidecam worth appreciating in terms of panning. It feels natural and more comfortable, reflecting on your footage, too: you don’t need to add additional effects for a natural panning look to your footage. However, most professional videographers efficiently replicate the Glidecam’s panning effect on their gimbals by coming up with a manual pattern. Considering the superior image stabilization of the gimbal, it wins again.

However, most photographers, mostly amateurs, do not have enough time to focus on creating patterns as they have better things to do: understanding the basics of your stabilization device is a massive task on its own. As long as you aren’t a professional, the ease of your Glidecam is preferable to save valuable minutes.

On the other hand, the latest version of 3-axis gimbals features various modes that deliver a similar panning effect and many other effects. Getting your hands on innovative devices is an excellent option if your budget allows for it.

3. Performance

A significant reason for the gradual decline of Glidecam post the release of gimbals is their manual usage. Innovation has led to individuals becoming lazier in general, resulting in higher expectations from modern gadgets. The gimbal allows you to rest back by giving you control of your camera’s movements through various buttons. Moreover, a gimbal delivers better image stabilization, whereas a Glidecam portrays slight distortion that annoys perfectionists.

Further on, many instances expect you to utilize a longer lens to record a high-quality video. Your favorite gimbal impresses the audience again with its built-in advantage. It allows you to rebalance your camera rig without any additional hassle while switching your lens. Moreover, a heavier lens does not negatively impact the settings of your gimbal either.

On the other hand, your Glidecam proves a colossal nuisance when switching your lens: it is pretty time-consuming to re-center the device. Despite its compatibility with heavier lenses and cameras, the complex functionality results in videographers avoiding the Glidecam.

4. Battery life

If your scale is heavier than the gimbal, the battery life may change your decision. The Glidecam allows you to hold double the camera size without any fear of running out of battery. Since the Glidecam only holds the camera while you have to do the actual work, there isn’t any use of an external power source. Not only is this effective in terms of cost minimization, but ideal for longer shooting hours. Working with a gimbal means that you would have to halt the shooting process if the battery runs out, but a Glidecam allows you to be active for as long as you want. If your camera is light enough, you probably won’t mind the manual labor either.

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A proper image stabilization system is integral to getting stable footage as cameras’ built-in systems don’t suffice. Various market options are ranging between different price levels, but gimbal and Glidecam are the clear winners. However, the challenge lies in choosing between them.

The Glidecam is an optimal choice for those with a heavier camera (most astrophotography cameras weigh over 6 pounds) or extensive shooting hours. On the other hand, if you prefer to sit back and enjoy the game, it is best to opt for a gimbal. The latter offers more flexibility, a better system, and an impressive performance. We hope you found our comparison between gimbal and Glidecam useful for making the final decision. Your choice has more to do with your labor preference than the budget, as the price is almost the same.