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I've been enamored with shooting 5-axis stabilization.  It's undeniably a great tool and I do rely on it for a lot of work.

Utilizing it for over a year now, and now the motion pictures are tending to look uninspired to me.  I'm finding myself drawn back to the sloppiness of true hand held.  I don't know.  Maybe because strong IBIS has been such a constant in my work, the opposite approach is now more tantalizing than the current?

There's an organic energy in the connection of a (good-not-bad) hand-held shooter to the camera.   A 5-axis camera can dull it.  Add to the fact that I've really leaned on using slow-mo and combined it with 5-axis...for no good reason other than I can do it, if I'm being honest...

Eh, is it true when they say, "the grass is always greener?"

Anyone else that been dabbling in 5-axis questioning it?  Perhaps it's because my work has been "rely"-ing on it...maybe that's the issue.  Why should I rely on a feature that much?  Is it necessary?  Maybe in my older age I'm just yearning for nostalgia and basic simple shooting reminds me of that?

It's interesting because I'm old enough to recall how the hand-held aesthetic upset so many traditional cinema folks as it came into wildly adopted vogue years ago.

Is my 5-axis romance just a "phase?"

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Started watching the new season of Narcos the other day. I started noticing how quite a few shots had some shakiness to 'em. There's no smooth hovering with a locked feeling. It moves. It adds something raw. It's organic. It's real. That's the thing if you don't take care of overdoing it... everything is just articially floating, like a virtual camera through 3D space. Now that has its use, surely, but like everything, it's a tool. You shoot stable footage when a situation is under control... when a character's thoughts are running around or there's an intense dialog, you shake things up a bit. Like just about everything in life... enjoy in moderation. Put it to good use, but don't overdo it. To have the possibility and choice though, I think is great!

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3 minutes ago, Cinegain said:

Started watching the new season of Narcos the other day. I started noticing how quite a few shots had some shakiness to 'em. There's no smooth hovering with a locked feeling. It moves. It adds something raw. It's organic. It's real. That's the thing if you don't take care of overdoing it... everything is just articially floating, like a virtual camera through 3D space. Now that has its use, surely, but like everything, it's a tool. You shoot stable footage when a situation is under control... when a character's thoughts are running around or there's an intense dialog, you shake things up a bit. Like just about everything in life... enjoy in moderation. Put it to good use, but don't overdo it. To have the possibility and choice though, I think is great!

The problem with the smaller cameras is they need a lot of weight added to them. The handheld look on a shoulder mounted 16mm camera just looks amazing compared to any smaller digital camera.

The Ronin look is cool but definitely played. It changes how everything looks. A rig can look just as good if not better a lot of the time, especially for doc work.

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As above, enjoy in moderation. All camera movements are designed to evoke an emotional response - gliding should never be used to reflect grit (unless being pretentiously stylised) any more than over the shoulder shake should be used for a tender moment between a bride and groom (unless being pretentiously stylised). I saw a terrible wedding showreel the other week that was three minutes of zooming and sliders. It made me ill.

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20 minutes ago, Cinegain said:

It moves. It adds something raw. It's organic. It's real...

It's missing rolling shutter? :grimace:
 

I love the raw look of a good shouldercam but in non fiction IBIS can be the difference between something usable or not.

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IBIS kills all the jitters that plague handholding small cameras. For me its a godsend as I no longer need to rig and add weight just to smooth things out.

If rolling shutter wasn't such an issue it would be different for me.

The late 90's to mid 2000's seasons of Law and Order (when the cops were Jerry Orbach - Benjamin Bratt - Jesse L. Martin - Dennis Farina) have a lot of great handheld work.

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1 minute ago, Ivanhurba said:

It's missing rolling shutter? :grimace:

Yes, Ive just watched all the episodes of veep (loved it btw) and it has a docu feeling. But the Jello is very distracting from time to time.

But like always. Its just me noticing. No one else in the family would ever notice or care. 

A good example is the Swedish game show "På Spåret" (On Track). In the show they get to see timelapse footage of a train ride and also gets clues to the destination. Needless to say there are loads of jello and leaning poles. Every week its watched by millions (its the #1 show on the biggest channel). And its been on for 19 years.

Not once have I heard anybody, anywhere, ever commenting on it.

(Of course it probably just started having jello in recent years after the cmos introduction. And its not as distracting due to the fast moving train.)

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I sometimes think if it's not us being anals about RS. I imagine myself with wide arms open screaming "didn't you see that???! It's UGLYYYYY" and being ignored like one of those the-end-is-coming guys.

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Both yes and no. My gess, Its not a distraction big enough for regular viewers to notice. But a global shutter will make it look "better" and contribute to the viewers experience without them knowing.

I mean thats how it is with most things. My family cant say "why" they like a video Ive shot on a Blackmagic over a cheap P&S. They just know they do. And they probably figure its because I used the "expensive" camera. They dont even know words like DR and RS.

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For me the most important place for "movement" is in the edit...I can see the value in having IBIS so that you can get shot  you may have missed, because you had no tripod...but I'm talking narrative film, and the less I'm aware there's a camera, the more I can escape into the film...but as with all things, taste is subjective...I'm planning on getting the GH5 and I have to say I hope it has IBIS...I could see how in the instance of shooting animals or kids (over which you rarely have any control) it could be an invaluable tool...

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46 minutes ago, Ivanhurba said:

I sometimes think if it's not us being anals about RS. I imagine myself with wide arms open screaming "didn't you see that???! It's UGLYYYYY" and being ignored like one of those the-end-is-coming guys.

Nah, you subconsciously notice it. The difference in motion is huge, but hard for someone to pick out in reasons why it looks better. I shoot a of skateboarding, the 16mm stuff on any level has always looked and felt a lot better than any digital stuff. 

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I'm doing 6 30 minute docs for a local PBS series.  Using 5-axis for these 6 episodes has been beneficial, no question.  However, I also shot a 30 minute doc in Japan two years ago on a GM1 and GX7.  All b-roll was handheld.

Honestly, I'm liking the vibe of my previous work more.

...some of that has to do with content, but the visuals just have more verve to 'em.  No slow mo, no IBIS.

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10 hours ago, BenEricson said:

The problem with the smaller cameras is they need a lot of weight added to them. The handheld look on a shoulder mounted 16mm camera just looks amazing compared to any smaller digital camera.

The Ronin look is cool but definitely played. It changes how everything looks. A rig can look just as good if not better a lot of the time, especially for doc work.

Very smart.

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Eventually I imagine we'll get tunable IBIS... you'll be able to turn its overall effectiveness up or down, or limit its range of motion or sensitivity. You could even turn certain axes up or down or off completely.

For instance a traditional shoulder-mounted camera will give movement in the pitch (tilt) and yaw (pan) axes, but not as much roll (dutching), and very little horizontal (dolly left/right) and vertical (boom up/down) movement. So a handheld (literally handheld) camera's IBIS could be profiled to match those attributes and in theory your result would look more like pro handheld (shoulder mount), and less like typical DSLR earthquake-cam.

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I believe less jello makes it look better when stabilizing in post (of course!). So, probably near global shutter with post stabilization would allow you to tune the organicness of the motion if you want. I think that is one of the reasons I like the look of the NX1 at 1080p.

Here's a comparison video with different amounts of rolling shutter.

 

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12 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

Like you say, subjective. And depends on the narative. I mostly like static shots and stiff movement. But in The Hurt Locker the hand held 16mm cameras with long telephoto lenses are just right.

Film is also a language.

Static tripod shots are a way of saying (because they are understood subconsciously in that way by the audience): "Look here, I wanna to show you something I have selected for your consideration".

The fast zoom of the late seventies and early eighties says: "And it's THIS !!!"

Until Godards À bout de souffle (Breathless) of 1950, hand-held camera meant either POV or amateur. Suddenly people realized that a doc-style hand camera did NOT say: "this is something witnessed by a camera operator, there is no structured narration", but that it added emotion to the scene. It said, "what happens here is (or WAS) not fully controlled or understood". Godard, also a film-philosopher, explained that cinema showed "death at work". The viewer of a traditional movie was like someone who sits in a train, in driving direction. He could anticipate everything because it slowly moved into his field of vision. Cuts with perfect continuity or with a too obvious narrative function, motifs carefully framed and presented in cold blood. A deterministic world view, down-to-earth (or down-to-your-knees!) morals, Pleasantville. Every 'film of life' has the same curve bending from the cradle to the grave.

Revolting for the existentialistic Godard. He wanted audiences breathless. I think that a gimbal or IBIS stabilized shot that is deliberately made shaky in post does NOT transport this. People who want "total stabilization" often also demand HFR, 48, 50, 60 fps. This smoothes motion, true, but it effectively makes motion blur (or lack of motion blur!) almost invisible. They smoothed motion, but they also stopped (e-)motion. Film is a language, and it needs as much differentiation as possible. Sharp - unsharp, stable - shaky, smooth - choppy, contrasty - misty, giant - tiny, what have you. Film is not about technical perfection. If a gimbal shot looks as if made by the Terminator (I own the Ronin M, so I'm not a hater), you don't need servo sounds for the audience to sense this, imo.

12 hours ago, Ivanhurba said:

I sometimes think if it's not us being anals about RS. I imagine myself with wide arms open screaming "didn't you see that???! It's UGLYYYYY" and being ignored like one of those the-end-is-coming guys.

:grin:

RS already has it's place in the vocabulary of contemporary cinema. If there is an explosion or sth. like that filmed in the aforementioned Nouvelle Vague fashion, RS will add emotion AND authenticity. Of course not in the long tripod shot in which Daniel Craig escapes with the explosion on the horizon. Let me add another semiotic polarity: UGLYYYYY - nice ...

EDIT: I can't remember which film it was, but only recently I saw RS flashes (images torn in their middle) in an, er, blockbuster. Viewing habits have already adopted that look.

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