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So I have a d5300, besides using lenses with stabilization, what would you guys suggest for handheld shots? I already own a benro monopod. I have in the past used that as a ghetto steadicam on the shortest length. I also have tried using just my yongnuo flash to give the camera some weight with my strap around neck. So from here a couple questions:

1) Is it worth the money to get something like a ~$150 eBay shoulder rig, or the Roxant stabilizer?  

2) Do I just need to practice my technique/utilize my monopod? 

3) Without getting a gimbal would a shoulder rig or handheld stabilizer (Roxane) be help out for stabilizing moving footage? I own a tripod and a dolly wheel add-on.

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It depends on the kind of handheld shooting that you do. Few examples:

- For simple relatively static shots where you don't move your body, the monopod can give you a very good result.

- A Roxant-type stabilizer is good when you want to take short shots where you move both your body and the camera. But with this you are loosing MF so its either AF or fixed F. 

- A shoulder rig is excellent for longer recording times, letting your hands do the focusing & zooming while your body lifting most of the weight and keeping the camera kind of stable. I would not suggest a rig in case you are the run&gun type since they take time to setup up and are not easy to carry around. Also you cannot change the PoV easily. 

- Lastly if you plan to walk while shooting my suggestion would be to invest in an active gimbal. 

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If you shoot a lot viewing the rear LCD screen (rather than the viewfinder), how about using the neck strap? I never used to bother attaching it to any new camera I had because I mostly shot on a tripod. But several years ago I put a strap on one of my DSLRs just to carry it about, and when I used it for informally shooting something, I found that with a short strap, pushing against the two strap connections gave surprising extra stability than handheld alone. You can gimble your waist to perform moves, and pushing against the strap seems to iron out any micro-tremors that can happen if you are holding a camera free from any support.

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I think I'm gonna try doing more handheld this year or camera movement in general! Gonna try to do more with the strap for sure. I've seen those pistol grips that might be worth a shot too? Probably gonna get a cheap shoulder rig or something at some point. I see no point in buying a gimbal at the moment when my camera doesn't do autofocus great anyways.

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I was just looking at cheap shoulder rigs. sometimes the cheap ones like rest on your stomach partially.. looks a little awkwards, but supposedly those can work well. but I was mostly for the specific 16mm style cat-on-the-shoulder look. Not sure the audience will really see much of a difference between that and regular handheld though

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With the monopod already you can get most of the stabilization out of the way. You have to shoot with the right mindset though, as you have a cam on a pole. you'll be getting a lot of static locked off shots, but these are good and can even look like a tripod if done right. There are a lot of little things you can do with a monopod ( you already mentioned a kind of simple stabilizer) However sometimes you want to be able to run around more and I think a shoulder rig is a great. I use one on nearly everything I've shot. I made my first handheld rigs from old tripod heads, even a pair of bicycle handlebars.

 

Eventually I bought this cheap rig:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0036NMQ7S/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483287720&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=cowboy+studio+rig&dpPl=1&dpID=41-C8jL4nfL&ref=plSrch

 

this thing has been great and is very versatile. It kind of holds onto your shoulder and completely supports the cam on your body. I use mine so much, sometimes even folded kind of like a gun stock. Its not perfect but definitely a cheap useful tool. With this however you cant get too locked off of a shot like you can with the monopod. so you get more freedom of movement but you really need to be disciplined with your movements and be able to hold still to get a shot. Different tools for different shooting styles, but this thing is always in my camera bag.

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If you have nothing, shoot using your body and not your arms or hands. You can get some super smooth shots moving your hips side to side with your elbows tucked in. You can do the same thing up and down by bowing. Most camera movements are subtle and only 'travel' a very short distance. A better shot can be had doing those things but with a £5 monopod.

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Thanks for the suggestions all! As mentioned above I do in fact have a monopod, a benro model with flip locks and the s4 video head. I love the video head and the monopod itself is okay although it tends to get loose and need tightening. I can definitely see purchasing a shoulder rig sometime as well. While I would love to try out a camera like the a6500 with awesome autofocus and one of those fancy handheld gimbals, that is beyond my purchasing power. Still trying to stick with my goal of improving my overall kit this year. Already took a small step buy buying some good LED lights.

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The cheap stabilizers like the Glidecam, etc can give smooth shots but take a long time to balance the camera. Something like that works better for cinema-type shooting where every shot is planned and the extra time to set things up is built into the day. The other disadvantage of those type of stabilizers is they really wear out your wrists and are annoying to use for more than a few shots.

Monopods are good for stability, not so good for freedom of motion. If you imagine yourself following a character around or doing any sort of run-and-gun then these aren't a great solution. The are great if your style is to get lots of different static frames in a day and you'd like to improvise. But if your talent tends to move a bunch, or you don't know exactly what to expect then the monopod will not always be the right tool.

Gimbals obviously give great stability and the newer ones are easier to balance. Ergonomically, they do wear out your wrists and lower back because all the weight is in front of you. And unless you also want to invest in remote follow focus, then you'll have to plan your shots to always be at single focal lengths. Not a huge concern depending on what you shoot, but a limitation nonetheless.

The "holding the strap around my neck" technique works well for a couple shots, but doesn't feel good for a whole day of work. Your wrists and arms eventually tire out, and the image starts to get shaky.

If you plan on getting a shoulder rig, the key thing is to make sure it has enough weight behind the actual shoulder. A lot of the cheaper ones have a shoulder pad but require you to hold the camera up in front of you which, wait for it... wears out your wrists and lower back. If you're shooting the whole day you'll tire out and the images will start to get shaky. A properly balanced shoulder rig, with counterweights behind the shoulder, though heavier, will yield smoother shots and won't tire out your arms as much.

Shoulder rigs also have the advantage of leaving your hands relatively free to make focus adjustments, and giving you a wider range of motion. The trade-off is that you don't get magical steadicam-like shots. You get handheld. Good handheld.

Here's a piece that was shot with a Canon DSLR, and almost completely on a shoulder rig. There are a few super shaky shots in the nighttime intro that were without the rig, but pretty much everything else except the two tripod shots was with the rig. It's not steadicam, but it's smooth enough to tell the story. And you can tell from the "right there" improvisational feeling of everything that I wouldn't have been able to get most of those shots any other way:

 

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7 hours ago, Kisaha said:

p.s I could see a few more tripod shots being used 

Thanks! Yeah I agree, there are a few shots where the shake is unwelcome. That was actually my first shoot with that rig, but I'll never go back to just shooting handheld without one. (until I get a camera with IBIS, that is). Camera was 5D mkII, and lens-wise I had three Leica R primes (manual focus) and two Canon zooms: the 24-70 L and the 70-200 L. The interviews and stuff inside the tents was most likely the primes with manual focus, the racing + track stuff was all on the zooms. Part 1 was shot only on the primes. Really like the smoothness of most shots on that one, too.

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I am sure most of the "internet specialists" around here would have stopped reading after "shoulder rig" and "5D mkII" !! These days everything is 10bit and IBIS+dual IS+Ronin+digital IS+everything! I do snob the 5Dii these days too, to be honest, and I have done a few Ronin things lately!

I was talking about "a few more tripod shots" just maybe to give a little pause and change the rythm, so ever slightly, just for maybe 1/3 of a second (more) or something, and to avoid have almost everything "shaken", also a couple of "horizons" (the leveling) were unnecessary off, but in general it is a great great job. It works perfectly for your sponsor, but also artistically and technically with a simple but mature way. It is very difficult to have such a balanced result. Congrats!

Aesthetically, I would rather have this kind of image than some stabilized images I have seen from some IBISs, this gives a better atmosphere in my opinion, and reminds me a bit of European Indie cinema, where the very good camera men had(have) only shoulder rigs to operate with huge film cameras.

Would you mind to talk (or link) a bit about your shoulder rig? I am considering one for some time now, but I am still reflecting on the idea!

 

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23 hours ago, Raafi Rivero said:

The cheap stabilizers like the Glidecam, etc can give smooth shots but take a long time to balance the camera. Something like that works better for cinema-type shooting where every shot is planned and the extra time to set things up is built into the day. The other disadvantage of those type of stabilizers is they really wear out your wrists and are annoying to use for more than a few shots.

Monopods are good for stability, not so good for freedom of motion. If you imagine yourself following a character around or doing any sort of run-and-gun then these aren't a great solution. The are great if your style is to get lots of different static frames in a day and you'd like to improvise. But if your talent tends to move a bunch, or you don't know exactly what to expect then the monopod will not always be the right tool.

Gimbals obviously give great stability and the newer ones are easier to balance. Ergonomically, they do wear out your wrists and lower back because all the weight is in front of you. And unless you also want to invest in remote follow focus, then you'll have to plan your shots to always be at single focal lengths. Not a huge concern depending on what you shoot, but a limitation nonetheless.

The "holding the strap around my neck" technique works well for a couple shots, but doesn't feel good for a whole day of work. Your wrists and arms eventually tire out, and the image starts to get shaky.

If you plan on getting a shoulder rig, the key thing is to make sure it has enough weight behind the actual shoulder. A lot of the cheaper ones have a shoulder pad but require you to hold the camera up in front of you which, wait for it... wears out your wrists and lower back. If you're shooting the whole day you'll tire out and the images will start to get shaky. A properly balanced shoulder rig, with counterweights behind the shoulder, though heavier, will yield smoother shots and won't tire out your arms as much.

Shoulder rigs also have the advantage of leaving your hands relatively free to make focus adjustments, and giving you a wider range of motion. The trade-off is that you don't get magical steadicam-like shots. You get handheld. Good handheld.

Here's a piece that was shot with a Canon DSLR, and almost completely on a shoulder rig. There are a few super shaky shots in the nighttime intro that were without the rig, but pretty much everything else except the two tripod shots was with the rig. It's not steadicam, but it's smooth enough to tell the story. And you can tell from the "right there" improvisational feeling of everything that I wouldn't have been able to get most of those shots any other way:

 

Nice video, natural handheld... Good stuff!!! ML Raw with the MKii?

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I saw this and thought it was gimmicky then its seemed pretty cool but its hard to find....  I use my mono pod on my shoulder from time to time. They seem to be rare the only one I found was like $400 from a guy in india + $50 shipping to USA....  

I was trying to figure out how to mod my Sirui Monopod  FreeStanding with a video head like this but Id need 3 things....

1) Those handles that spin freely... and lock when you need them too I was thinking I could make some also collapsible handles would be nice.

2)The base plate is unique its like an L shape that you can use to slide the camera to the center of you face to off set when its on your shoulder... Maybe add some type of padding....

3) its weighted at the bottom mainly for the stabilization mode... but I could see a potental terrible accident walking like that!!  

I could just put some cheap weight at the bottom of my mono pod it would be like this but free standing and a video head.....

Any Ideas on how to DO it? we can market as EOSHD Signature Series Anthro-pod MK 1 (all rights reserved Juxx989 Inc 2017) MXXXLIIX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Kisaha said:

Would you mind to talk (or link) a bit about your shoulder rig? I am considering one for some time now, but I am still reflecting on the idea!

Here's a pic of the rig. It's all spare parts or different things I picked up on eBay or at B&H - at least 3 different brands for the top handle, shoulder pad, rails, etc. I have a follow-focus but it's not pictured, and probably didn't use it on that shoot. On the back is a Ken-Lab KS-6 gyro stabilizer. It does help stabilize things a little bit, but it makes noise and the battery runs out after about an hour of use so it's mainly just a counter-weight on the back of the rig.

@mercer - it wasn't ML Raw, just plain-old h.264, but I did use a LUT from Vision Color in-camera, and another (light) pass on color in post.

 

IMG_6602.jpg

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