What is a Gimbal and how to use it
February 25, 2023
If you’re seriously interested in filming, you’ve probably heard of camera stabilizers. Although, what is a gimbal? How do you use it? And what’s more important, should you choose? Well, we’re going to explain to you some important details that would guide you through this field.
What is a gimbal?
Okay, to start with, have you ever noticed that when you’re filming on your phone or with a handheld camera, the image could seem a bit shaky? A gimbal it’s a tool that you can use to avoid this problem as it uses sensors and motors to stabilize and support your camera, doing what a tripod usually would if you were staying in one location or taking a photo.
It looks a bit like a selfie stick, with a host of controls on the handle so you can pan, tilt, and control your shots on everything from DSLR cameras to GoPros, cinema cameras to smartphones.
How does a gimbal work?
The gimbal senses the difference between your intentional movements and small, unwanted interruptions like shakiness. Silent, brushless motors inside the gimbal make sure all this happens, giving you a result that looks super professional. Actually, the stabilizing motors are the same you get in drones.
So, this is the real reason why loads of content creators have invested in gimbals. Besides, they’re much cheaper than ‘proper,’ Hollywood alternatives like dollies or Steadicams, and they produce great results. Using a gimbal cuts out the need for a dedicated camera operator while still delivering stable, high-quality footage.
How to use a gimbal
Certainly, if you’re one of those users who’s used to using selfie sticks, you’ll easily understand the basics. Keep in mind that the key is to fix and balance your camera before turning your gimbal on, to avoid any vibration or shaking once you start filming.
At the same time, it’s important that you also check how long your gimbal’s battery lasts, and ensure it’s fully charged before the shoot. You know, there’s nothing worse than a gimbal going to sleep just as you’re in the middle of a perfect shot!
Is it worth getting a gimbal?
Being completely honest, as with all camera equipment, gimbals aren’t cheap. Therefore, unless you want your content to look like it came straight from ‘The Blair Witch Project’, you’ll need to spend a bit.
However, depending on what camera you’re using, a starter gimbal can cost anything from $100 to $1,000. Here are some examples for you to understand that the budget of these kinds of devices tend to vary.
Zhiyun Smooth 4
An iPhone-optimized gimbal, which lands at the lower price bracket of $99. It comes with an absurd amount of buttons and preset shooting modes, which can be a bit exhausting for a beginner. Nevertheless, it includes a detailed tutorial video and app, so once you get your head around it, it’s the perfect starter gimbal. Check it out here.
DJI RSC 2
A foldable, versatile gimbal that’s compatible with a host of DSLR cameras, and will set you back by $499. It features a technology called ActiveTrack 3.0, which uses the source signal from your camera (someone playing basketball or a dog running around, for example) to track the subject automatically. Read more about the DJI RSC 2 here.
ZhiYun Weebill 2
A ludicrously flashy, all-out gimbal that justifies its $1,099 price tag. It’s compatible with a slew of Canon and Sony cameras, features an integrated 2.88″ flip-out touchscreen, and is a genuinely heavyweight piece of kit with more features than you can shake a stick (or another gimbal) at. Learn more about it here.