Join James Ball for an in-depth discussion in this video Attaching to a gimbal, part of Mirrorless 4K Cameras for Video Production.
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- One of the main benefits with small cameras is the ability to easily move the camera, but you can't really get a stable movement by just waving it around or walking. - Yeah, smaller cameras allow for gimballed and gyro stabilized camera systems that normally would cost a lot of money, mainly because they needed to always carry a bigger payload. I'm a steady-cam operator and I know that that's a pretty sizable investment when I have to put a full-size, broadcast camera onto a stabilized rig. - Yeah, you were carrying a camera the other day from Blackmagic, an Ursa with a full lens pack and batteries and everything else and how much weight was that? - You're pushing 50, 60 pounds so with the rig it can be very heavy, and if you have to go long periods of time, it can be tiring so it's nice to have compatible quality in a smaller frame and get the same kinds of shots.
- Well we really have two types of gimbals here. Front-up, we have some smaller gimbals that are designed to be single-handheld, and really what this comes down is you wanna get it relatively balanced so you'll see on the bottom that this just attaches with a screw and we can adjust the camera forward or back, so depending upon the size of the lens that we put on this, if there was a heavier lens, it was tilting more forward, we would have to scoot that back a bit, and then side-to-side so it's more or less balanced on its own so let me go ahead and boot up.
(gimbal beeping) And the gyroscopes kick in and it attempts to balance so now we have the ability to move the camera and as I move side-to-side and up-and-down it minimizes that movement to keep it more stable, so as you walk or move, this doesn't eliminate all movement, but it helps quite a bit. - Gyro stabilized cameras work off of gyros, which are internal, roll-and-axis motors that are here and here. The more you balance it, the more you can balance it from the beginning, if you look here, this camera is not quite perfectly balanced, it's down on one right, the better the motor, the more it can compensate for these discrepancies in balance so Rich had his very well balanced and the motors more than take up for the roll-and-axis differences as he moves it around, and this one actually can compensate pretty well too even though I was a little off with my balancing.
You really can give it a run, tilt, and these also have a nice tilt and pan function on it too so you can compensate for headroom additionally. - Yep, and you can sort of frame the shot up, after the fact, I can adjust so if I want to get a slight angle to the shot I can do that, and this allows me to easily compensate or to get that movement from side-to-side, which can be pretty cool. This just allows you a little bit more options for framing and these type of systems are typically in the $1000 or less range, which is a great, relatively affordable, piece of production equipment that you could add to your kit.
Now they run off of rechargeable batteries. You can get extra, spare batteries, and they are serviceable, they have a USB port so they can actually send updates, and this is great, but for longer-term operation or the most professional moves there is a quality of gimbal above this and these will start to get into the $3- to $10,000 range for a 4K camera that's smaller. What do you have here Jim? - If you wanna up your game and put bigger payloads onto gyro stabilized rigs, you can try something like the Letus Helix. This allows you to put a bigger camera, in this case, up to 16 pounds, which is more than you need for one of these mirrorless cameras, but it also allows you to add a lot of accesories to the camera that clients or professional film sets might need, like lens controls, an operating monitor, video assist, all these things that some of these smaller rigs might not be able to handle, and it's gyro stabilized like the rest.
This is a three axis. You can roll it and it'll hold its horizon. There's a tilt function, and it gives you that nice, smooth action as you move around. It's just a nice, refined, higher-end way to execute some of these shots, and these mirrorless cameras are perfect for these. - Now units like this are a great way to improve production value. They give you that flexibility while shooting to add movement, to produce shots that are more cinematic, to chase an athlete in an action-sports environment, and now that these cameras have 4K internal recording capabilities, it really gives you a lot of options when it comes to shooting, and depending upon your budget, smaller units like this may work, or larger units like this might be called for depending upon your workflow.
These are a bit pricey, but sometimes they can be rented from different outlets. Jim, what's been your experience with these type of units? - Well as you get up in the price, you certainly wanna consider trying to get a hold of one before you spend. Now with all of these specialized kinds of camera units, a skill set comes along with it that is not easily learned if you don't possibly own it, so if you're gonna invest, you want to get your hands on one to try it and build the skill set up before you actually spend on one so it's a good idea.
They are hard to come by in rental houses, but they're becoming more and more prevalent and it'll give you a chance to decide which one you like before you invest, and once you invest, then you can just work with it all the time so you get that skill set that you need to have to actually get jobs with it. - It's not the sorta piece of equipment you wanna pick up the day of, or even the night before a shoot because you're not gonna have enough time to get practiced. It's gonna take some balancing, getting familiar with your camera lens combinations. as well as just sheer practice, to get the results that you expect.
- An understanding of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras
- Evaluating the impact of sensor size
- Recording in-camera and with an external recorder
- Choosing lenses and accessories for 4K cameras
- Adapting 4K cameras with cage and rail systems
- Improving recording quality
- Attaching gimbals
- Capturing 4K video with drones