Shooting Video on the Move!

Having been messing around with Canon 60D video for a few months, the inevitable next step after stationary tripod mounted shooting is to try some stabilised video while moving. The tripod mounted side of things was relatively easy – just turn down the standard sharpness and contrast to their minimum setting, and the colour down a notch or two and correct in post processing. Apart from some basic pre-shoot checks (composition, level, exposure etc) that’s about it really – all very familiar to a stills shooter used to doing long exposures :-

Achieving stabilised video while moving is something else altogether! Hand holding is pretty much impossible, so some form of stabiliser device is required, and they range in price from a £150 to £thousands. There’s also the option of software stablisation, which seems attractive, but it can’t work miracles on a poorly shot sequence.

So – after hours of research, practice and a moderate outlay, here’s my solution. A Hague video stabiliser unit was bought in order to provide a basic level of smoothness to the shots. This initially proved very difficult to use and balance, but with practice (lots!) it’s beginning to yield some decent results – certainly better than hand-holding. A minor modification was to wrap some light cloth around the  gimbal unit and handle (secured with rubber bands) to dampen the very fluid movement of the camera during movement. This fixed most of the problems, but to remove the residual pitch and roll the video was run through a copy of Mercalli V3 software which does an amazing job of smoothing out the final movement.  It can’t correct extreme problems, but the Hague stabiliser provides a means of getting close enough for Mercalli to iron out the remaining final flaws.

The latest result is here, slowed down a bit to add a touch of drama. The subject is Knowlton Church in Dorset, which will hopefully be the subject used for two, one hour films shot over a year.

Hope you find this useful – thanks for looking!