Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Video stabilization techniques, part of Mobile Photography Weekly.
- Hi, I'm Sean Duggan and I was driving down the highway in Central California between Buellton and Solvang, and I came across a sign on the side of the road that said, OstrichLand. Now, I don't know about you, but I find it very hard to resist a sign that says OstrichLand, because, hey, when do you get the opportunity to photograph ostriches and emus up close and personal? So, I pulled off the side of the road. Here I am, and I want to take this opportunity to talk about stabilizing video when you're shooting it with your camera phone, because camera phones all have the ability to shoot video.
It's one of their great attractions. And we all shoot a lot of video with it but I see a lot of video that's kind of shaky, and part of the reason is the camera is not really being held in a way that would yield the most stable video footage. So what I see a lot people doing is they'll be holding the camera out at arm's length like this, shooting video, and that's just not a very stable platform. That one hand, it's really prone to a lot of shaking and jittery motion. So two hands is better. Of course, make sure you're not covering up the lens.
Two hands is going to be better. Even better than that is going to be adopting a posture like cocking your elbows into your torso like that. That's going to give you an even more stable platform if you're hand-holding it. So those are just some things to think about. Of course you could also, if there's a place to rest the camera on a ledge or a fence post like this, you could do that. That'll help out. If you need to do kind of more motion panning, what you can do is get one of those handle mounts for the phone. You see a lot of people going around with those.
I don't have one of those but I just basically use my Gorillapod. So what I'll do is I'll take my tripod mount for the phone, put it on the Gorillapod, and then I can use that as a handle there. The other thing I can do, too, is I can even mount this upside-down, have the phone hanging down below it if I want to do a shot where I'm really low to the ground. I've done that a lot before, too. So there's lot of ways you can get by with maybe gear you already have to help you stabilize video. Now, this thing here, this is just a walking or a hiking stick and I put my MeFoto Tripod Mount on the top of it.
This walking stick comes with a tripod mount so you can put your camera on it, and you'll find a lot of walking or hiking sticks that have those. So the cool thing about this is that if you're out walking about or hiking about you can just put your phone in here and you can use this to stabilize the phone if you wanted to do a panning motion like that, or even if you just need to shoot video for an extended period of time. Another thing I like to do with this is I can adjust this head here, and I can rotate this up like that, and, of course, I would collapse the back part of it so I'm not sticking anybody.
But I can actually use this here almost like a, the stock of a gun here, and I could shoot video like that. So, a lot of different ways that you can stabilize your camera when you need to shoot video. But, if you need to shoot video where you are moving through the scene, you're moving through a crowd or whatever, that's where you need to kind of take it up a notch and get a different sort of, gear here. So what I have down here is I have a motorized gimbal device.
This is the FLY-X3 Plus from Ikan, that's Ikan with a K, and the way that this works is, I'm going to turn my camera on here just so I can get this into video mode, and I'm going to arrange this to where I have the horizon more or less level here. So I'm first leveling it by eye in here, and I'm going to turn it on, and now this gives me this motion where it keeps the phone level.
So this is pretty cool if you do a lot of video shooting, especially video shooting where you're going to be having to move through a scene. This is really what you want to get. So I'm going to do a little sweep down the fence line here, see if I can get these ostriches engaged. And if they're not too enthusiastic we'll bring in some food and tempt them to maybe steal the scene a little bit. We'll get going here. Hey you guys, come on. Come on, come up close.
Good camera, it's tasty. Yeah, really tasty. You want that? There you go. A little bit suspicious. Can't say as I blame him. All right, I think what we're going to have to do, oh, look at you, you've got a pretty beak. Yeah. Look at you. Look at you. Oh, nice.
(motor revs) Oh (laughing). Good going, Brittany. (beaks tapping pan) That's their motivating factor there. (laughing) Let's try some slo-mo on that.
We'll stop this one and we'll put it into slo-mo. So Brittany maybe if you could come back on this side here, I'll try to get up close to you with the slo-mo. Yeah, come right in there. (ostrich beaks tapping pan) (Sean laughs) (ostrich beaks slowly tap pan) Hey, look at you guys.
All right, we'll end that one there. Okay. So, you can see that a device like this really opens up a lot of possibilities for moving through a scene, following something that's moving and still keeping the camera stable. Now this particular device, you do have to hold it upright so it's not something where you could actually have it mounted underneath and be going for a fly-over shot along the ground, but pretty cool stuff. If you do a lot of video shooting, definitely look into getting a motorized gimbal.
It will lead to a lot better video footage.