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Shoulder rig for a mirrorless camera - how not to go overboard?

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2 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

But I am hard on equipment.  Throw it all in the trunk and away we go!

I'm afraid I might be even harder on mine - I'll just throw it into the bag and then into the bus's trunk.

I knew this plasticky mounts were not to be trusted..

 

2 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

I'm sure you realize this but it's a teachable moment for others here that may not be aware. You have to practice, practice, practice with these gimbals just as you would a glidecam. They're deceiving when you watch them in action but have yet to use one yourself.

True! I guess I'd need to keep at it.

But still, gimbals appear to me more like a some kind of a magic wand than a proper filmmaking tool.

2 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

To help this, I invested in a device that went up on Kickstarter that automatically tracks your talent by transmitting a signal from a wrist band the talent wears to a receiver that transmits to the gimbal.

This is neat. Haven't heard about it before.

 

Nonetheless, I think I'll give shoulder rig a try.

Some rental service near me offers a Gini rig and I guess the only way to stop thinking about acquiring one is just try it for myself, like Dude_ger said.

 

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22 hours ago, ntblowz said:

Sometimes work for free means they feel they are entitled to do whatever they want since everything is "free"  I got a friend who owns a FS7 and did a "free" shoot for a "student" project. When it finished they never show gratitude for his time and gears (and the crafty is the usual shit for this kind of stuff) , and cut him off completely after it wrap up so he didn't even get to see what the final one looks like.

It absolutely boggles my mind that people don't even just send out a mass email to share the final product. (or in this day and age of social media, bulk tag everyone in it when the film is shared)

After all you make your film to be seen (what is the point in making it if no one sees it?!), and the easiest audience to get viewing it (& hopefully then share it themselves) is those who were involved in it!

Plus filmmaking is a team effort, thus networking is so important, and an email to show the final result is an easy way to stay in touch with people and remind them you still exist. And even if it is just a lowly PA you're keeping in the loop, you never know what else they're doing or where they might be in five years time. 
 

 

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On 16/03/2018 at 11:32 PM, heart0less said:

Gimbals are not for me; since they are an electronic devices, they're more prone to fail than a simple rig / tripod / monopod. Neither am I a huge fan of the results they give - it lacks the authenticity, immersiveness, naturality.

 

7 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

Yeah but a electronic Gimbal gives new life to old cameras that never had IBIS in them. If used right and not in excess I think they can look damn good with practice. Most people overuse them, I did also when I first got mine. The better ones are pretty damn good. The biggest failure with them is forgetting to charge the batteries in them LoL!

 

6 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

You have to practice, practice, practice with these gimbals just as you would a glidecam. They're deceiving when you watch them in action but have yet to use one yourself.

I've stated this several times already in the past but it's worth repeating, they're not a magic bullet out of the box, nor are they the most natural thing to hold. It takes time and practice to get the results and performance you want after some muscle memory has set in, and they have to be balanced correctly, just like a glidecam. I think if you look at it as just one tool in a bigger toolbox the expectation becomes realistic. 

(In reply to all of the above)

I had an "ah-ha" moment in film-making from one of my favourite YouTubers - Kraig Adams when he released these two videos:

 

I'm not saying that he's a genius or anything, but I can say that he knows a ton more about film-making than I do, and his style of shooting is similar to mine so I find useful information in videos like these.

The "ah-ha" moment was that he basically shoots in two separate 'styles'..  The first is 'vlog / real-life / run-and-gun / content-over-style'.  This is shot with the gorillapod, in real-time (ie, not slow-motion), with location sound, and is shown in 16:9 aspect ratio.  The second style is 'cinematic' and is basically used to show beautiful things in a beautiful way.  This appears to be shot with the gimbal (or a drone, although he's moving away from drone footage), sometimes in slow motion depending on how fast things are moving in the scene, music only, and is shown in something like 2.35:1.

The reason that I 'clicked' with these two was that in the above video he makes the two really obvious be deliberately contrasting the two styles, and talks about them in the making-of.  

@heart0less You probably already know this but I think it's about working out what look you're trying to achieve, looking at the conditions you're shooting in, and then working out what equipment / techniques / etc are required to bridge that gap.  I can assure you that a gimbal will not produce smooth-with-no-soul results if you were riding a horse at full-speed!  

I've settled on having two rigs.  The first is the XC10 and GoPro on the GorillaPod which with the IS in the XC10 and the crazy-wide-angle of the GoPro will give lifelike and natural movement without fast/tiny hand-shake.  The second is my iPhone8 on a gimbal which between the lens IS and gimbal will allow me to do smooth panning shots of a beautiful scene, have walking shots that aren't distractingly shaky, and even have a faux drone shot or two (if you hold the gimbal up above your head they really look like a drone!).  

The gimbal can also be automated for panning during time lapses, or create hyper lapses which are basically super-smooth time lapses with the camera moving, and both of these are almost in the special-effects category, but will be fun to play around with.  From an artistic perspective my films are about my family and photography/videography is a big part of my life so having a little bit of it in the video isn't inappropriate.

@Matthew Hartman Homework assignment received - I will practice with my gimbal the moment I get home! :)

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@Kye How did you get so smart so quick?? Your embarrassing the rest of us!  :blush: Out of likes. But you deserve one. :grin: Yeah everyone has their likes and not likes.

Wow that first video is, well amazing. That kid, he is to me, is talented and funny to boot. Now that is a V logger. One of the few countries, Japan, I have never been to in the far east. I would probably be a Bull in a China Store now at my age. Plus I have No F ing Patience. So I doubt it would work out well there LoL :grimace: Polite, I am not! Not proud of it though. I wish I was the other.

You need to get good like him Kye. If you are going to copy someone, might as well be him. About the best I have seen, and he has a lot more to learn being as young as he is. He has talent no doubt.

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Speaking of videos. Not sure where to put this. But man you people in England have a national treasure with these waterways. This is some cool stuff. I would have to own one of these if I lived there. But I am sure they are not cheap. We have Canals in the US but they are not manicured to that extent, or that old I would imagine.

This guy is  damn good also with making a video. Beautiful scenery also. I have no clue what camera he shot it on. The story is so good, who cares. I don't know what camera shot the one above that is so great. Again, who cares. It's all about the story.

 

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@webrunner5 - thanks!  I just chalk it up to having a good memory and reading / watching too many tutorials..  We are all standing on the shoulders of giants.  Everything from Montage Theory to the psychology of colour to the basics of composition from the early days of photography - we're swimming in images that have absorbed many many decades of talent and hard work.

Kraig Adams (who did the above videos) is a bit of a wolf in sheeps clothing in film-making terms.  IIRC he started  filming weddings straight out of school, got crazy good at it, then created the Wedding Film School YT channel (which is excellent BTW), before pursuing vlogging and other videos and phasing out wedding filming altogether.  He's also a minimalist so is a deep thinker in terms of what he needs for the final film and then how to get it with the minimum of equipment.  

I watch YT film-makers / vloggers a lot, but they're all operating at close to this level, which I know is the exception rather than the rule.  Several of my favourites have things like C300s in their home studios for their talking-to-camera pieces, or at the least use A7SII (as Kraig does - including the above) or equivalent performance cameras, so they're at the top end of the platform.

As someone who is also on the 'downhill' side of 40, they all look young to me too!  
If you're interested in more outrageously talented Yuotubers I can happily recommend people like: Brandon Li, Leftcoast, Peter McKinnon, and for people that are all about content and not film-making talk: Primitive Technology (videos of him making stuff in the bush without tools - he does not speak), and Andrew Huang (behind-the-scenes of making electronic music but I think his videos are better than the music).

52 minutes ago, Matthew Hartman said:

@kye

This guy does a lot of videos on best practices for handheld gimbals. You may find it useful. 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8sibhG707qg5AlVlj5P3mw

Subscribed.  Looks like lots of good content there.  Thanks!

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This looks like an interesting add on to help with the Z axis movement.

Not a magic bullet as you still need to hone your technique but looks to be a definite advantage to people like me who move about as elegantly as that Honda robot.

Has anyone here got one?

 

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Gimbals are tools. I do not particular "love" gimbals, or drones, or IBIS, but in the right moment they add to production values and to the moving images language.

I would say that no more than 5-10%(at the most) are anything other than tripod and monopod shots, in most the shots I can influence.

Disclaimer: recently directors "order" the use of IBIS at 100% rate, 50% drones usage, and less of gimbals (because drones and IBIS are cheap, but we usually rent Ronin gimbals, and it costs money and time to setup, and they hate those kind of needs!).

None 1 of those people are worth anything other than our pity, but they are been paid 10 times, or more than me!

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Bringing the topic up and summarizing my experiences after renting a shoulder rig for a while.

My setup looked like this:
image.thumb.png.1c3ba49d2965434b236de4b7587806b3.png
(Reds were matched by a pure accident, though it looks really nice)

 

The rig helped me to get rid of all micro shakes and a lot of rolling shutter, as well.

Definitely smoothes pans / tilts, etc.
 

I'd need some practice to keep my framing while walking, but it manages to make 'bumps' less apparent.
 

All in all:
I'm content with the results and think this thing matches my style of shooting.

Can provide some footage to all interested.

 

Thank you all for participating in this thread and sharing your experiences, observations and opinions.
Really appreciate it!

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4 hours ago, heart0less said:

Bringing the topic up and summarizing my experiences after renting a shoulder rig for a while.

My setup looked like this:
image.thumb.png.1c3ba49d2965434b236de4b7587806b3.png
(Reds were matched by a pure accident, though it looks really nice)

 

The rig helped me to get rid of all micro shakes and a lot of rolling shutter, as well.

Definitely smoothes pans / tilts, etc.
 

I'd need some practice to keep my framing while walking, but it manages to make 'bumps' less apparent.
 

All in all:
I'm content with the results and think this thing matches my style of shooting.

Can provide some footage to all interested.

 

Thank you all for participating in this thread and sharing your experiences, observations and opinions.
Really appreciate it!

That counter weights looks huge for that setup. 5lbs? 

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39 minutes ago, Matthew Hartman said:

That counter weights looks huge for that setup. 5lbs? 

The center of gravity is the shoulder pad.

 

@heart0less

Can you please provide a list/links of the components in your rig?

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7 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

That counter weights looks huge for that setup. 5lbs? 

Just plain 2.2lbs (1kg) and a small 1.1lbs (0.5kg) behind it.

Total counterweight: 3.3lbs (1.5kg)

 

6 hours ago, tupp said:

heart0less

Can you please provide a list/links of the components in your rig?

Sure! 

Sony a6300, Samyang / Rokinon 12/2, JJC LCH-A6 LCD Hood, Peak Design Anchor Links, Zomei Variable ND2-400 77mm

Gini Rig Pro-10, a 3D printed part to attach the counterweights (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2761632) and 2 standard weights (2.2lbs + 1.1lbs aka 1kg + 0.5kg), which can be bought in a sports departament store and act as a counterweight. 

 

All rods, clamps, handles, etc. are the part of the above mentioned Gini Rig, no additional parts (besides the counterweight system) were added to it. 

( :

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23 minutes ago, heart0less said:

Sure! 

Sony a6300, Samyang / Rokinon 12/2, JJC LCH-A6 LCD Hood, Peak Design Anchor Links, Zomei Variable ND2-400 77mm

Gini Rig Pro-10, a 3D printed part to attach the counterweights (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2761632) and 2 standard weights (2.2lbs + 1.1lbs aka 1kg + 0.5kg), which can be bought in a sports departament store and act as a counterweight. 

 

All rods, clamps, handles, etc. are the part of the above mentioned Gini Rig, no additional parts (besides the counterweight system) were added to it. 

( :

Thanks!  Nice rig!

 

Do you have your own 3D printer?

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