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3-axis camera stabilizing systems – Overview

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It all started with the sensational announcement of MoVi. The possibilities with this gyro-stabilzing system are incredible. The technology of the gyro system isn’t a new concept but this new interpretation gives all filmmakers a new instrument to realize their creative ideas. Mindcut blog has created a compilation of all current systems.

 

http://www.mindcutfilms.com/3-axis-camera-stabilizing-systems-overview/#.UhcQzrwR5pd

 

 

 

Bildschirmfoto-2013-08-23-um-09.12.17.pn

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Last week we used our new Porta Head 5 system for the first time with the cablecam and the brushless gimbal brought another improvement into the stabilization together with the kenyon gyro we used before. I edited some footage and making-of-material from the shooting with the cablecam. The camera used was a Canon 5D Mark 3 in RAW modus. Focal length mainly used was 50 mm, some shots used 35 mm and up to 85 mm.

1609556_10152196155278209_74376397_n.jpg



Best regards,
Andreas Kielb

http://www.portahead.de

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To me, these handheld gimbal stabilizers are bigger game-changers than the 4K/upped color space push. I'm just an enthusiast, so maybe the "gadgetry" aspect is what's appealing to me, but the effect that smooth motion has on footage is pretty profound.

Exciting to see and know that you can have both (4K + a gimbal) for around $4,000!

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I think the idea of the 3 axis gimbals are brilliant. Here's the issue I have with all of them. They seemed to be designed as if most people shoot from the hip or thereabouts. Great for walk and talks for children or dwarves but not for most stand up tracking shots. Most shots are done eye level and the current gimbal designs make shooting higher than your chest a complete and impractical workout. Sure we could always purchase an easy rig for another 3 grand, but this takes away much of a gimbals portable charm and manueverability. So as a longtime DP and operator, I beg the developers to consider rigs that I can throw on my shoulder and instantly take off an hold in low mode. Here's one developer who has the right idea but it's only vaporware for now.

 

http://www.shadowcam.tv/pdf/ShadowCam%20S-5.pdf

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Most shots are done eye level and the current gimbal designs make shooting higher than your chest a complete and impractical workout. 

 

Totally agree. That's the first thing I thought when I saw the MOVI demo. I couldn't believe that experienced cameramen an DPs weren't even mentioning that they ares useless for most tracking shots. Nowadays it seems that if a tool works to shoot skaters or surfers it is "awesome" or a "game changer". Then it becomes so ubiquitous that we forget it wasn't at all right from the beginning and end up accepting it as normal and downgrading our expectations of what professionally shot means.

 

Shoulder mounted gimbals coud work... at least the idea is in tune with the narrative of film and broadcast.

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A good solution for camera heights at eye level is to mount the gimbal overslung on a steadicam sled. Then both, the steadicam arm and the inertia of sled and gimbal eliminate the foodsteps completely. I already did some tests in that direction but have yet to record more cinematic scenes to show the advantages. I made a bracket which can be mounted to the pan motor instead of the handles.

 

You loose some of the flexibility but the change between handle mode and the steadicam mount takes only about 5 minutes. That should be ok on a feature set. You can manage to be up and running again after a lightning change. Didn't make photos yet but you can see the bracket here. I used it to mount the gimbal to the cablecam last week.

 

1660628_255485991292240_570266175_n.jpg

 

We also had good results by mounting an extension tube to an easy rig to put the attachment point more in front of the body. Then we used a bungee cord instead of the original easyrig cord which did a better job in damping the foodsteps. The original easyrig cord transfered the foodsteps actually too much into the gimbal (I think it was either the 5-8 or the 10-12 kg version. Not sure, though).

 

If I should rate the different mounting possibilities in regards to elimination of foodsteps I'd give them this order:

 

1) mounted to a full steadicam system  (the suspension arm and also the big inertia of steadicam sled and gimbal can remove all foodsteps, also with objects in the forground)

2) handheld gimbal (no vibrations in the image itself if the gimbal is well tuned but objects in the foreground might show foodsteps, depending on the pace of the operator)

3) easy rig with bungee cord (no real vibrations in the image but heavier steps might get through)

4) easy rig with original cord (ok if you walk very carefull but not usefull for heavier steps or running)

 

I can't really say where a shoulder mounted gimbal with a short suspension arm like the upcoming shadowcam will enter. I don't think it will match number one, though, as it won't have the same inertia as the steadicam sled and gimbal combo. The gimbal alone is to light to accomplish the same inertia and therefore I think it can only be as good as handheld.

 

www.portahead.de

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Howabout one of these?

 

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__51496__Turnigy_PRO_Steady_Hand_Gimbal_3_Axis_KIT.html

 

Turnigy is legendary, especially for their 9X / 9XR 9CH Transmitters which are pretty much undoubtedly the best bang for buck out there.

 

The also have a pretty new system called the PRO Steady-Hand Gimbal 3 Axis Kit which you can find here at HobbyKing: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__51496__Turnigy_PRO_Steady_Hand_Gimbal_3_Axis_KIT.html .

 

 

There's also schtuff over at LD: http://www.linkdelight.com/331218001W-3-Axis-Brushless-Gimbal-Handheld-with-GBM5208-180T-Motors-for-for-Camera-DSLR.html .

 

You also might want to checkout RCTimer's offerings: http://www.rctimer.com/product_1008.html / http://www.rctimer.com/product_885.html and the schtuff over at GoodLuckBuy:

http://www.goodluckbuy.com/3-axis-red-epic-scarlet-dslr-handle-brushless-gimbal-stabilizer-camera-mount-kit-4pcs-8108-motors-36n42p-.html
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/3-axis-dslr-handle-brushless-gimbal-camera-mount-kit-w-debugging-test-frame-holder-for-fpv-aerial-photography-l.html
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/3-axis-handle-brushless-gimbal-canon-5d-mark-iii-dslr-3pcs-5208-motor-w-ptz-controller-.html
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/fpv-brushless-handle-3-axis-gimbal-camera-mount-for-5d-5n-5d3-dslr-aerial-photography.html
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/fy-carbon-fiber-3-axis-brushless-gimbal-camera-mount-w-motors-for-5d-fpv-aerial-photography.html
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/hand-3-axis-red-epic-scarlet-brushless-gimbal-stabilize-alexmos-controller-power.html
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/glass-fiber-two-axis-handheld-brushless-gimbal-camera-stabilizer-kit-for-photography.html
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/death-and-love-fpv-handheld-brushless-gimbal-camera-mount-for-dslr-aerial-photography.html
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/shppro-handle-two-axis-brushless-gimbal-w-gimbal-controller-for-ildc-camera-photography.html
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/shppro-handle-three-axis-brushless-gimbal-w-motors-and-gimbal-controller-for-5n-7n-ildc-camera-photography.html
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/feiyu-gopro3-handheld-two-axis-brushless-gimbal-handle-camera-mount-for-photography.html

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The Nebula 4000 is already over the peak of its popularity I think. Now there's the Ronin M and the Pilotfly H1 of which the results seem quite a bit nicer.

It's nice that the Nebula 4000 made the pistol grip gimbal a thing... but I always felt it was too much hassle and looked like it was digitally correcting itself, it wasn't as fluid as I'd like.

Dave Dugdale seems to be testing all of these, check him out over at https://www.youtube.com/user/drumat5280/videos . Don't forget MrCheesycam and Erik Naso either: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrCheesyCam/videos and https://www.youtube.com/user/ErikNaso .

If you don't have immediate use for it, wait a couple of months more. These systems are maturing as we go, so there are bound to be better options out in the near future.

- Ah, I've read up on Pilotfly's doings... there's now the H1+ that sports a 32bit controller with dual imu sensor. Definit upgrade from the 8bit controller. Good news.

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The Nebula 4000 is already over the peak of its popularity I think. Now there's the Ronin M and the Pilotfly H1 of which the results seem quite a bit nicer.

It's nice that the Nebula 4000 made the pistol grip gimbal a thing... but I always felt it was too much hassle and looked like it was digitally correcting itself, it wasn't as fluid as I'd like.

Dave Dugdale seems to be testing all of these, check him out over at https://www.youtube.com/user/drumat5280/videos . Don't forget MrCheesycam and Erik Naso either: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrCheesyCam/videos and https://www.youtube.com/user/ErikNaso .

If you don't have immediate use for it, wait a couple of months more. These systems are maturing as we go, so there are bound to be better options out in the near future.

- Ah, I've read up on Pilotfly's doings... there's now the H1+ that sports a 32bit controller with dual imu sensor. Definit upgrade from the 8bit controller. Good news.

Some interesting videos with new products out lately! Actually the latest exciting one seems to be the CAME-TV Single. It has brushless motors with encoders, which seems to be the latest next level thing with these pistol grip gimbal stabilizers (things were already heading in the direction of 32Bit controllers and toolless design). Now with 100 USD off if you pre-order (still comes out being the priciest of its kind at $988 though, mind you).

 

 

 

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Thought I'd throw my two cents in here.

We've been shooting with Glidecams for three years. We had it all, sleds, arms, vests, etc. etc. etc.

Last year my local dealer put me onto the DJI Ronin. We had been complaining about the pricing that Defy and Movi was pushing out and the Ronin came in at a price point we could swallow. After we got it in we worked with it for a week. Balancing, rebalancing, screaming, smashing, balancing again, phone apps, etc.

Our FS700 would not fit on it but the GH4's we have seemed to work great as long as you weighted them down with cages, etc.

So for 8-10 months now we have been shooting with the Ronin. Some days it's fantastic, some days it's super annoying. The app definitely helps and once you get that sweet spot, it's hard not to always want to use it. 

We shoot a lot of high end real estate work and running the gimbal has given us an enormous amount of creative freedom that we could have only dreamed of with the Glidecam. Using thumb controllers and all the other little toys that are available for gimbals has been addicting to a new level.

We finally sold our Glidecam rig and have recently bought the CAME TV Mini 2 tool less gimbal. Specifically to run with the GH4 and A7 cameras. We've had it a short time and although we love the lightweight and ease of setup, its' just not as polished and refined as the Ronin.

We already blew the cheap chinese battery charger that came with it, so be sure to do your research on what voltage to set it for. 

All in all, the transition from Glidecam to gimbal systems has been fruitful for us and we've loved all the new beautiful shots we can get with it.

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