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Old November 21st, 2010, 10:52 PM   #1
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steady shooting

I'd like to improve the steadiness of my handheld shooting. Beyond the obvious advice (practice), can anyone recommend any tips on body position, keeping your motion speed constant on zooms/pans/pedestals, keeping your static shots steady, ways to avoid body fatigue, etc?
Also I have a PD170 and find that fatigue and shake is a problem after awhile handholding it.
Thanks
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 06:41 AM   #2
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Any small form factor camera will be prone to the shakes no matter what position you take.

Since I also use 170s here what I do for hand held work. I hold the camera up to me eye, use the VF and make myself into a tripod. when I get tired I slowy lower the camera to mid-chest, place both hands around and below the body of camera (like I'm cupping a bird) until I get tired then I slowly lower to waist level.
Keep in mind that any of these positions will show ANY movement that is made and the first position is the most stabile.
I also try not to zoom in at all and frankly if at all possible I'll use a monopod.
Small form factor cameras have their advantages but there are also dis advantages to them and IMO this is the biggest. Where are my good old fullsize when I need them.;-)
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 07:06 AM   #3
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The way I was taught to pan was to cup the camera in both hands and dig my elbows into my side. Then stand in a balanced position facing the direction at the end of the pan. Keeping the feet in the same place, twist the body around to face the start direction. Then slowly unwind.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 09:06 AM   #4
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All above advice is good. If you want to go a step further, look at what us dslr guys do to make them useable. Rails system with shoulder pad, follow focus, viewfinder, etc. What I ended up doing was stealing a few pieces from my dslr rig and fashioned a shoulder mount for my XF300. It works very well. Main idea is to have as many points of contact as possible. Also counterbalancing is helpful.

Another trick I use is the monopod. Doesn't have to be on the ground either. Since mine has a ball head, I can swing the leg back to my belt buckle for support.

That's my 2 cents!
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 10:41 AM   #5
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another vote for using a monopod. As Robert said, it doesn't need to be fully-extended resting on the ground. Extended a coupla feet it fine, hold the base in left-hand or rest against your body, and right hand on camera. - helps enormously, and eliminates almost all fatigue i find.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 11:05 AM   #6
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I use a shoulder brace that I would be lost without.

see: The Amazing Brace | Professional Video Imaging

If you must shoot handheld though the biggest help in steadying it would be to rest one corner of the body against your shoulder. This gives your arms something to press the camera against and makes a big difference. However, you don't want to shoot this way too long as your arm could start cramping curled up that way.

A shoulder brace such as the one noted above is a must-have in order to shoot something extended such as a wedding reception or the wedding ceremony itself. Depending on the model you can have one hand free and for short durations two hands free. You can also use it as an extender to shoot above a crowd and you can also turn it up side down to shoot things like people's legs dancing and also youngsters on the dance floor.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 11:09 AM   #7
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Some tips, some simple, some questionable, for whatever they're worth...

1 - Lens - Stay wide. If you need to get closer, move closer. Shooting telephoto greatly amplifies camera movement. Light - when possible, stay at a slower f-stop to maximize depth-of-focus so you don't induce extra camera movement as you constantly adjust focus.

2 - If your camera has optical image stablization, steadyshot, whatever, use it.

3 - Personal stuff: wear comfortable shoes. Exercise your back. Keep well-fed, well-hydrated and minimize the caffeine and cigs (both tend to induce shakes when overdone).

4 - Position: when static, I like to always have three points-of-contact. Generally, I grab the camera over and under (right hand on top handle, left hand bottom with access to focus/zoom/iris rings) and tuck it into my chest. When I have to shoot eye-level, right hand goes to the conventional side handle and third point is achieved by pressing the viewfinder to my eye or the whole camera to the side of my head.

When moving, I sometimes take .38 Special's advice. Hold on loosely to the top handle and side/rings and allow the camera's weight to help steady it. Other times, I grasp the top handle tighter and brace the camera handle/viewfinder along my forearm.

Another strategy in either situation is to "steady" the shot by keeping the shot moving. Keep your knees slightly bent and make slow, smooth rocking movements from one leg to the other. It's going to look obviously handheld, but can be less out-of-place than a failed attempt to pretend you're a human tripod.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 11:38 AM   #8
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Get yourself a CDR-550. You will be utterly astounded at how good you actually are doing hand held.
The footage will blow you away too
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 03:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Dempsey View Post
Get yourself a CDR-550. You will be utterly astounded at how good you actually are doing hand held.
The footage will blow you away too
you mean a HDR-CX550, right ?
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 04:29 PM   #10
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yes sorry
I have one and it a great little package
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