Brushless gimbals have ushered somewhat of a revolution for video producers, from the hobbyist to the professional camera operator. A video camera on a gimbal has enabled us to achieve smooth, floating-like camera movement on all kinds of shoots, including features, commercials, documentaries, weddings, and even home movies.
Before the rise of gimbals, in order to achieve this level of smooth video while moving the camera you would have needed to hire an expert Steadicam operator, or try to master the skill on your own. These kinds of camera stabilizers would utilize a precise system of counterweights, and if you carefully held the rig at exactly the center point between the camera and counterweights, you could achieve stabilization.
using a Steadicam or similar stabilization system takes a lot of skill
to use correctly, and the weight on your wrists can cause pain in your
hand, wrist, and arm after even a couple minutes of use. Of course, you
could purchase additional support equipment that helps ease the pressure
on your wrist, and you could take classes on operating a Steadicam, but
that can be an intense commitment for many shooters looking to add a
few steady shots to their videos.
With a gimbal, however, you can achieve smooth shots relatively easily, without investing in a ton of equipment or time before you're up and running. Gimbals typically feature electronic motors that counteract your jitters and shakes on three axis: the pan, tilt, and roll axis. The motors can sense motion along these axis several thousands of times per second, and then they correct for that motion by keeping your camera level and jitter free.
just a few years after they were widely adopted by filmmakers, gimbals
have now become simpler to use and lighter to manage. Today, there are
one handed gimbals for small cameras, from DSLRs to mirrorless cameras
to GoPros, and there are also micro gimbals that have built-in cameras.
Best of all, they can be had for around the cost of a decent tripod.
a gimbal doesn’t automatically make your shots perfectly smooth out of
the box. There are still a few basics that you need to learn, like how
to get your gimbal balanced for your specific camera, how to get
different kinds of shots, and how to walk while using a gimbal. We'll
cover those topics and more in this series of tutorials on How to Shoot with a Gimbal, starting with what you need.