How To Use a Gimbal Properly – FIVE Smooth Cinematic Movements

Gimbals introduced new trends in filmmaking and made life easier for independent filmmakers, who can now get smooth cinematic footage while working in their balanced budgets. Whenever you buy your very first gimbal, you’ll certainly face some confusion while using or handling it. Here are the key points you should be aware of before setting up your camera gear with a gimbal.

Camera Balancing:

Before running your new toy, you need to balance your camera first, many people complain that they do not get smooth footage or their gimbal starts to vibrate whenever they start to shoot something. It’s because they are missing out on the basics of balancing it properly first. So, keep in mind that before you power on your gimbal, place your camera and balance its weight first.

A properly balanced camera rig will help you create a smooth movement without jerks, and also it helps to give you more run time if balanced properly.

Camera movements:

In filmmaking, camera movements play a significant role while telling a story visually; every shot and movement gives a meaning.

Here are a few gimbal movements that you can create to enhance your storytelling skills to a new level.

Dolly In

zoom in shot

It’s a technique and camera movement in which we slowly follow the action in the scene. We slowly push in our camera towards our subject in the frame to create depth, or whenever we want our viewers to be more focused and look closer into something, we slowly push our gimbal towards our subject.

Dolly Out

dolly out shot

In Hollywood films, you might’ve experienced this camera movement a lot. Whenever some scene comes to an end or when the director wants to pull out viewers’ attention from the scene being played on the screen, this technique is used.

You just have to smoothly and slowly pull yourself back while holding the gimbal and camera gear on it from the subjects in the frame to achieve this movement. But as I explained earlier, every shot, every movement has a meaning, so you have to play carefully with the camera movements, and the rest is on your own skills as to how aptly you judge the requirements of a particular moment or scene.

Pulling out the camera slowly gives a signal to the viewers that the current scene or action is ending here.

Slider Movement

slider shot

You reveal your shot or subjects in the shot through a smooth camera movement side to side, rather than revealing your subjects in cuts you can reveal it in a more cinematic and creative way. Slide movements help you to tell a story and cover more in a single shot.

One can achieve this movement simply by holding the gimbal steadily and moving from left to right or right to left in a straight horizontal line motion.

Tracking Shot

tracking shot

A creative way to follow your subject from backward, forward, or from aside, you keep tracking them in the scene.

Make sure while creating such camera movements, the distance between the camera and the subject remains constant otherwise your footage may give a feeling of jumps so follow your subject in accordance with the speed of their movement in the scene and also try keeping your subjects in the center of the frame while recording them.

Pan/Tilt

Just like a tripod, you can use your gimbal to pan or tilt, and believe me with a gimbal, it’s much easier and gives more of a cinematic look. With a gimbal, you don’t have to change the length of your tripod or change the tripod head settings, etc., you simply have to make slight movements to create such a camera shot.

Few Tips to Consider While Shooting with a Gimbal!

  1. Try to plan your shots. So, before you start playing with your gimbal and you start running here and there to capture a single good shot do some planning.
  2. Although gimbals do give you an edge or an advantage but to keep your footages bit more interesting, try adding some motions/actions into the shots. Your shots don’t have to look empty, add objects in the foreground.
  3. While moving your gimbal try to get close to your subject, a wall or ground in the background passing alongside with your subject will give a more dramatic look to your footage. Take, for example, while following feet of your subject, get close to the ground and see how it will change the whole feel in the shot.
  4. Try to shoot your subject from low angles in an orbital/circle camera movement to give a more dominant kinda feel to the scene.