Stabilise it! Widgets

Now. Unless you’re watching Cloverfield, The Blair Witch Project, or any film that uses the “running with a video camera” gimmick, shakiness in films is something to be avoided.

Unless you’re intending to make a film like those similar to the ones mentioned about, shaky shots and dizzying footage not only is an annoyance to the eyes, but also a sure way to tattoo “AMATEUR” on your pro-filmmaker head.

Stabilising on an budget can be a real hassle, glide cams and the industry gear can cost a fortune and when planning a production, or even writing a script, we have these things in mind to ensure that we write or plan for what we can do.

“But, hold on! There’s a really cool getaway scene, and to do it, I have to chase the hero with the camera while he’s running away, jumping over walls and doing all this cool movement to escape his death!”

Never fear.

Even for us indies, there are ways to pull this off and stabilise on the cheap:

1. Monopods

The often forgotten brother of the regular tripod, the monopod is actually an essential item when it comes to creating expensive looking stabilised shots in your movies.

Monopods are more versatile and easily manipulated than the tripod, and because of this, allows you or your cinematographer to experiment creatively, be it holding the monopod outside of a moving car window, holding it at ground level while walking, or using it for tracking shots.

Monopods can be had for as little as a tenner up to one the pros use from Manfrotto for about £120.00.

Check out some pros working the monopod below:

2. Glide Gear SYL 3000

Or any kind of balancing stabiliser to this effect. I’m talking about this piece of kit in particular because I use it myself.

This great piece of gear comes in at just under £80 on Amazon UK.

As an owner of one of these, I’ll try not to be biased – however, it’s going to be difficult, because for the price you pay, the quality and ability of this device is pretty spectacular.

It comes in a neat little suitcase/bag with in-depth instructions on how to balance your DSLR accurately and efficiently. It does take time getting used to it, and it will most likely take a good couple of minutes to first balance your DSLR, however once you have this down, you’re set and very much like driving a car, or riding a bike, once you’ve done it once, setting it up each time after takes less and less time.

Check out Blunty3000′s review on the “papa and baby bear” of the GlideGear stabilisers below.

3.  Bracket Stabiliser

Super duper cheap, you can even get one for a tenner on Amazon.

If you aren’t too sure about whether or not you need a stabiliser, then start off with this and take it from there.

The video below goes through the unboxing of this stabiliser.

4. Shoulder rigs/Fig Rigs

Handy, but on occasion, heavy, shoulder and fig rigs allow you to turn your physical self into the camera stabiliser.

Of course, the more expensive the gear, the more comfortable it is going to be, but you can pick up a basic shoulder rig kit for a mere £35 from Amazon UK.

When it comes to fig rigs however, you can even make one yourself by following the many DIY tutorials there are on YouTube.

5. Use a slider/dolly

Not only will your footage be smooth and level, it will also look sexy and expensive.

Depending on what you’re feeling up for, sliders and dollies can come in all shapes and sizes.

You can get a nifty tabletop dolly for somewhere between £10-£20 or you can get a slider stabiliser for around £80 on Amazon UK.

6. Fix it in post (USE A WIDE SHOT)

I hate it when people say “we’ll just fix it in post”… but sometimes when you’re short for time, you don’t have a choice, and in some cases, simply using a wider shots makes the whole editing process easier.

The wider the shot, the better the finished product will look once you’ve stabilised it using the editing software of your choice, be it FCP, Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas and all the rest.

When you stabilise a shot during your edit, you’re essentially zooming into your footage and cutting out the outer and more shaky parts of the footage and focusing in on the centre, more stable image.

For examples and tutorials on how to do this, check out the videos below.

Of course, there are

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