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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old June 13th, 2016, 12:50 PM   #1
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Best shooting technique for hand held video

When I can I shoot from a tripod, but for many events it is not practical. If absolutely necessary I'll use digital processing (Mercalli, Warp Stabilizer) to stabilize during post processing, but only in moderation since they can produce some weird effects if overdone.

I have a good shoulder mount rig for my JVC LS-300 which helps a lot. But the OIS in my Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 will only get me so far in capturing acceptably steady video. And even my widest non-stabilized primes are pretty iffy.

It seems that there are shooting techniques that make the camera motion less noticeable, such as:

Using pans and zooms to mask any unintended camera motion;

Using subject movement to draw attention away from unintended camera motion.

Are there others?

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old June 13th, 2016, 12:57 PM   #2
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

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Are there others?
Buy a Panasonic gx80 and get tripod like footage with a unstablished 75mm prime lens :)
Besides what you already have mentioned there is not much you can do if you want to shoot handheld.
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Old June 13th, 2016, 01:17 PM   #3
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

I shoot all my handheld with a gimbal now and it works wonders. Guests arrivals for the Ceremony then post Ceremony to Speeches, nearly all shot on a gimbal. It has taken my run n gun work too new level and liberated me.

I use the GH4 with the 12-35 and just love filming with them both.
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Old June 13th, 2016, 03:18 PM   #4
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

I don't find that my gimbal or steadicam replaces my handheld work, there is a difference between handholding a camera from a stationary position and having full control over it compared to moving on a gimbal having no controll over it and either have to trust on auto functionality or preset before you shoot. Gimbals are an addition to handheld shooting but no replacement.
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Old June 13th, 2016, 03:48 PM   #5
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

I've never got shoulder rigs. Buy a third party eyecup and shove your eyeball in the evf. You don't see much wobble with your eyes do you? Similarly, if your camera is glued to it. Your head is the next best thing to a gimbal.
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Old June 13th, 2016, 03:51 PM   #6
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

Seriously Noa, you've clearly got the wrong gimbal. I use mine for all handheld work. I've seen my handheld work for personal use when out walking. Okay to a point, but no comparison. I use a monopod for some run n gun work, but it's very limited.

My gimbal is all in the wrist movement. No presets or controls. I just turn my wrist to get the right angle and shot. If you're keeping movement steady then you may as well use a monopod; I find it gets great stable footage with any lens and more reliable than internal stabilisation. Sure you have an extra weight to move around and an incumbrance, but a useful tool if you can adapt to shooting that way.

The gimbal gives me movement; to change and alter angle of shot without having to cut in edit. I once used it for handheld in a Ceremony. I was able to zoom in and keep it steady at 35mm (70mm full frame equivalent). I never use handheld except for dance footage as even with the most stable of hand, the footage can suffer. That's why I prefer the monopod for static shots and a gimbal for movement.
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Old June 13th, 2016, 04:30 PM   #7
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

Not sure if you understood me, there is a difference between a steadicam shot and a handheld shot, one is intended to move during a shot and the other not, one is having control over your camera during a shot, the other is having no or very limited control over your camera during a shot. A steadicam or gimbal has it's place and if you use it when it matters it can make a difference but to shoot an entire day with a gimbal is like using a slider all day long.

I tested yesterday with my 80-210mm (420mm full frame equivalent) tamron lens on my gx80 and was able to keep it steady at 420mm, can you do that on your gimbal? Or 2 days ago I shot a lot with my 75mm prime lens handheld and those shots look like they are almost done on a tripod, 75mm is 150mm full frame equivalent if you might not know, seriously Steve, it looks like you clearly have a wrong gimbal :)
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Old June 13th, 2016, 05:35 PM   #8
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

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Originally Posted by Steve Burkett View Post
I use the GH4 with the 12-35 and just love filming with them both.
Steve, do you mind me asking what gimbal are you using ?

Thanks.
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Old June 13th, 2016, 06:00 PM   #9
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

He is using a right one.
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Old June 13th, 2016, 11:48 PM   #10
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

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Originally Posted by Anthony McErlean View Post
Steve, do you mind me asking what gimbal are you using ?

Thanks.
I'm using the Mini Sturdy Flight. Company producing them, if they still do is in Italy.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 12:07 AM   #11
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

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He is using a right one.
Really Noa, petulance doesn't become you. :)

Need I remind you that what sits in your GX80 and allows your smooth handheld footage is a miniature version of the same tech sitting inside my gimbal, more or less. What's the difference? Why is 1 more handheld than the other?

I obviously missed the memo that tells me my gimbal is not designed for general handheld footage and limited only to those sweeping, circling shots of the couple to be found in many Wedding Highlights Videos. I do use mine for handheld footage, whatever your thoughts on the matter.
When I used it for the Ceremony, necessary as before and after I was moving about a lot, I was mostly static. Zoomed in at 35mm, capturing the same shots of the couple as if I was filming on a monopod. Similarly for the Reception, there is a mix of movement and static, again using the gimbal for convenience and because re-adjusting my position is smoother and easier with a gimbal than my other preferred choice of a monopod.

You say I can't use my 75mm on my gimbal. Why not? Did I miss a memo telling me it can't be done. I'm clearly not getting those memos. :) If I rebalanced the gimbal for the 75mm, keep myself and the gimbal as still as possible, what's the difference between such footage captured by my external stabiliser and footage from the GX80 with its internal stabiliser.

Well the big one of course is an internal stabiliser doesn't need rebalancing. Big marks to the GX80 IS and why I hope such tech will find its way to the GH5. That said I won't use it for handheld 75mm. I stick to my monopod and tripod there and rely on IS to smooth out the odd jitter that can appear in longer focal lengths. It would also be useful when using others lenses and when I don't have the gimbal to hand.

As someone who uses both gimbal and slider at every Wedding, I find the suggestion that each is as limited in use as the other frankly bonkers. I shot 90% of a Marryoke with a Gimbal, could never have done that with a slider.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 12:32 AM   #12
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

As someone who has used a steadycam and shot more handheld during a wedding then most users here for years I think I can say that I know the difference between the two, steadicam and handheld shooting is not the same, I can repeat why but it's clear you don't read that part so there is no use discussing this any further.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 01:45 AM   #13
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
As someone who has used a steadycam and shot more handheld during a wedding then most users here for years I think I can say that I know the difference between the two, steadicam and handheld shooting is not the same, I can repeat why but it's clear you don't read that part so there is no use discussing this any further.
I'm sorry you feel that way. On the contrary I have read what you had to say and appreciate that handheld is different to stabiliser, but there is no reason a gimbal can't be useful in a similar way that handheld can be. On mine, I am able to pull focus, change some settings as long as I am careful without any noticeable shake. I don't always have to be in motion too. Some of the shots I am getting are of a kind some here would grab handheld. It is just 1 solution and no better than any others. True you lose some of the benefits of handheld; swiftly change of lenses and being able to put the camera down and pick up as needed. I agree with your points that unless 1 employs additional tech, getting smoother shots handheld will be very difficult.

When it comes to freeing yourself from a tripod and wanting shake free footage, you have the options of a shoulder rig, a gimbal or stabiliser, a monopod or rely on the cameras IS. Each has their strengths and weaknesses and in some cases, relies on you picking the best tool that fits your shooting style.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 02:41 AM   #14
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

OK, thanks Steve.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 02:45 AM   #15
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Re: Best shooting technique for hand held video

Hi Noa

Apart from my main camera for ceremony and speeches ALL my B-Cam work is handheld ..and yes I do agree that it's nothing like stedicam or gimbal shots ... my little Panny's have a 5 axis OIS in them and to be honest my handhelds are pretty much wobble free (unless I'm backing up and walk into a guest) and a LOT better than my old shoulder mount shots. Maybe this is taken way too far. Take a look at modern TV productions and watch the top frame and you will see that it's a handheld shot ..people never complain about the odd frame movement as long as the content is good. We are getting way too technical in producing absolutely perfect shots with zero movement. If the big studios can produce shows with the odd bit of movement and people don't complain then why try and get everything so clinical?? A bit of movement is natural and I have never had a bride comment about it. Is it really necessary Steve to have clinically perfect non movement footage??
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