4 Creative Ways to Use a Gimbal

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ways to use a gimbal

We have a guest article today from Barney Elo. Barney has a YouTube channel that specialises in filmmaking tips and tutorials. Today, he’s going to be covering 4 creative ways to use a gimbal.

Take it away, Barney!

First of all, I need to apologize. I am from Germany, so my English maybe isn‘t that great. I have tried my best to write my first article ever explaining these topics, but it’s not in my native tongue :P. Please be patient with me. Long story short, let’s begin with the article.

Introduction to Creative Ways to Use a Gimbal

Gimbals are trendy at the moment. Everyone has one or wants to own one. Especially the one-handed or pistolgrip gimbals become more and more popular these days. This makes sense, because if you’ve ever worked with one of those small gimbals you will instantly fall in love with them.

The easy workflow and their light weight are just a few benefits when using a small gimbal.

But why use your gimbal like everybody else? Why not get creative with it? And how about learning to save a lot of time and money?

How? I’m glad you asked!

Okay, so let’s get started with 4 creative ways to use your gimbal!

Tip 1:  Use your gimbal as a Slider

Setting up a slider could cost a lot of time. And, of course, you need to buy one in the first place. And maybe you need a fluid head in addition to your slider. You see, this could dig a deep hole in your wallet. But if you already have a gimbal you can simply use this as a slider.

To best sell the effect, that you’ve used it as a slider, you need a blank surface. Just use a table or a park bench in the foreground of your clip and slide along a few inches above it.

This is the easiest gimbal move to recreate, but the effect clearly fires up your work.

Tip 2: Use your gimbal as a jib or crane

Have you ever set up a jib or a crane? If you have, you know what I’m talking about.

These boom devices are heavy as hell and need a lot of space. Also, you need a big tripod which can handle the heavy weights. And those tripods alone cost a lot of money.

So a gimbal is a much cheaper and easier way to get jib or crane look-a-like shots. Just move your gimbal as you would move the front part of the jib or crane.

Nobody, who is watching your final project, will tell the difference. They might think you’ve either used a jib or just your gimbal.

Of course, you’re limited in the height department, but I will cover this issue later in the article.

Try to imagine how much time this will save you, when you don’t need to set up an entire jib or crane. And time is money in this industry! Oh and, imagine how your back will thank you later, if you’re not going to need to carry those heavy weights around!

Tip 3: Use your gimbal as a dolly

I really like this one. I’ve never owned a dolly, but always like the moving shots and how you can tell a story through the camera movement.

And I’ve always wanted to create the dolly zoom or ‘vertigo effect.’ And since I’ve bought a Panasonic G80, which is able to shoot 4K footage, I want to recreate a Dolly Zoom effect.

Without a dolly, it would be difficult. And this is where the gimbal comes into play. All you need to get a dolly move with a gimbal is something you can sit on with wheels, like a wheelchair or a shopping cart or the trunk of your car and someone who pulls you or drives the car slowly.

In my case, my girlfriend helped me out for those shots you can see in the video on YouTube. Looks kinda funny, but nobody knows. Some of the best shots are those that will make you look stupid shooting them :P. I know what I’m talking about, because I always look kinda weird behind the camera (and maybe in front of it, too!)

Okay. Now we will come to…

Tip 4: Use it as a drone

Yes. You have read that correctly. Use your gimbal as a drone.

And no, I don’t mean, throw it as high as possible in the air and hope to catch it afterwards! There is an easier way to get fake drone shots with a gimbal.

I mentioned the height problem earlier in Tip 2, when using your gimbal as a crane or jib. So this is a really similar solution that has a slightly different purpose.

I love this one and I regularly use it in my client work.

Short storytime. My client wants me to shoot a highlight movie for his booth at a fair. No problem at all until he says he wants “drone shots” of his fair booth.

As you are probably already aware, you won’t get a permission to fly a drone in a hall full of people! Now, how can I get those shots my client wants?

Sure I could say that it isn’t legally possible. Instead I said that it isn’t possible to get legal permission, but I have an idea how he can get the shots he wants anyway.

My client is happy, I’m the big hero and everyone at the fair is also happy because they aren’t in danger!

What have I done?

All those pistolgrip gimbals have a quarter inch mount built into the grip. So you’re able to mount a tripod or anything else underneath it. This brings in the opportunity to mount a monopod to your gimbal. Extend this monopod as long as you’ll need it (or as long as you can) and walk around.

You can point the camera slightly towards the ground. This will sell the effect even more. Easy solution with a big impact on your work. And your clients will be happy and spread the word to potential clients that you go that extra mile creatively to get the shots they want for their projects.

Ways to Use a Gimbal – Conclusion

Think outside the box. Maybe there are a lot more ways to use your gimbal to satisfy your clients or just pump up your own work.

On my channel I will post a lot about creative and different ways to shoot with a low or no budget. Because my opinion is: use what you have for as long as possible.

The gimbal was my largest investment for my business till now, but it also has brought the most value to my work.

I always look at the budget. Is it worth the money? Are there cheaper solutions? Remember, the highest priced equipment isn’t always the best solution for the result you need to achieve. Keep this in mind and start to get creative with what you have.

So make sure to take a look at my YouTube channel and check out my Video on Youtube about 4 creative ways of how to use a gimbal.

If you like those tips, I would love to see you on my channel, consider subscribing if you’re interested in more tips and tricks all about filmmaking.

Barney Elo – Filmmaking Tips, Tutorials and more

If you’re interested in a gimbal, I made a gimbal kit in which I have put together all the equipment I use and highly recommend. Especially for working with more high-end clients, this is a must-have. It looks way more professional than just using a DSLR on a tripod!

Get everything you need for your gimbal HERE

Thanks for reading and thanks for the opportunity to write this article =)

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