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How To Use External Monitors With a Gimbal

This post is part of a series called How to Shoot Video With a Gimbal.
How To Use Remotes and Toggles With a Gimbal
How to Take Your Gimbal Shots to the Next Level

No matter what camera you put on a gimbal, one of the biggest issues is monitoring what you’re shooting. Some cameras have removable LCD screens that you can mount somewhere on the gimbal, or you can flip out the camera screen so it’s in a decent position. But sometimes you just have to add an external monitor to see what you're shooting.

Using an external monitor on a gimbal inside a car

You can attach the monitor to the top of the camera, or somewhere on the gimbal, and you'll want to wrap the HDMI cord around so it doesn’t get in the way. You'll also need to rebalance the gimbal, to take into account the monitor's added weight.

Occasionally an external monitor can add so much weight that it overloads the gimbal’s weight capacity, and it becomes impossible to balance. The monitor needs its own batteries, as well as a system to mount the monitor onto the gimbal or on the camera, and together that can easily weigh a few pounds. 

So, although it's quite satisfying to see what you’re shooting when using a gimbal, a monitor can quickly become a hinderance. Batteries run out, cables get pulled, you need counterweights to make the balance work, which makes the whole rig that much heavier. And inevitably the accessory mount goes loose and the monitor falls off while you’re shooting.

An external monitor can be more trouble than its worth on a gimbal

So if you can, try to get your camera’s built in screen to flip out in a way that you can see the gist of what you’re shooting. 9 times out of 10, you get the shot that you want, and occasionally you don’t. But unless you’re working in a really critical shooting environment, that’s better odds than adding a complex monitoring rig that will fail on you more often than not.

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