The following lesson was created by Vimeo for its Vimeo Video School. It’s used here with permission. Look for a new lesson each week.
Do your videos suffer from the shakes? That sounds terrible, but I have the perfect remedy for you. I’m going to write you a prescription for a stabilizer. What’s a stabilizer? How many types are there? Why do I need them? What are the side effects? Settle down!! I’m going to tell you. Here are some great tools you can use to help you get the steady shots you’re looking for.
A standard tripod is the most basic form of stabilization. There’s a big difference between photo and video tripods. Photo tripods tend to be lighter, so if you’re using it outdoors, any small gust of wind could ruin your otherwise steady shot. The heavier, the better. For smooth panning and tilting shots, you’ll need a tripod with a fluid head, but keep in mind that these can get expensive. Don’t cheap out on your tripod, spend as much as you can. A good tripod is a lifelong investment!
Sometimes your filming situation doesn’t allow for a tripod. A monopod, however can solve this problem. Monopods have 1 leg instead of three, so it requires you to hold it but it will guarantee a much, much more steady shot than handheld. This is a much cheaper option compared to tripods. A good monopod can be had for around $75 – $200.
A shoulder mount is another great remedy. Shoulder mounts typically have a counter weight on one end (behind your shoulder) to evenly distribute the weight of your gear on the other end. They can come with either one or two handles for you to hold to help you get that steady shot you’re looking for. Shoulder rigs can very greatly in price, anywhere from $200 to $2,000, however in this case a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean a better product. This is a pretty much an even playing field. You can even make your own for under $50!
Side effects of stabilization include a reduction in headaches from your viewers and a lot of great comments about how professional your videos look. Hey, those side effects don’t sound so bad!
What have we learned?
• Stabilization can make your videos look more professional
• There are many ways you can stabilize your camera
• There are great solutions for any budget and skill level.