Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - How To Do Every Thing With Video -

Whether you’re shoot­ing with your phone or an ex­pen­sive SLR rig, a gimbal will help sta­bilise your shots and prevent your videos from look­ing like they were shot by Ja­son Bourne af­ter 16 cups of cof­fee. For your phone – espe­cially larger ones like the 7 Plus and the Pixel XL – the Zhiyun-tech Smooth Q about R3 000; pic­tured) takes only five min­utes to set up. It works ba­si­cally like a car mount: your phone sits in the cra­dle. Af­ter get­ting ev­ery­thing bal­anced on all three axes us­ing the gimbal’s two slid­ers, you can power on the mo­tors that will ul­ti­mately con­trol the move­ments. It was much eas­ier than I ex­pected. I used the Zhiyun to an­noy film my wife mak­ing din­ner. I got way bet­ter shots than I ex­pected and although it was just to prac­tice, I was thrilled with my ul­tra-slow-mo­tion pan of toma­toes cas­cad­ing on to a fresh bed of salad greens.

For my SLR, a Canon 5D Mark IV with a 24–70mm lens and an at­tached Røde shot­gun mic, I tried the Ikan EC1 three­axis gimbal (R11 000). Bal­anc­ing a big SLR with a long lens was much harder than bal­anc­ing a phone. The cen­tre of grav­ity is harder to fig­ure out and I was wor­ried the whole thing would tip over and break be­fore I got to shoot any­thing. All this was made worse when I tried to as­sem­ble and bal­ance the rig at a dusty race­track. Worst of all, it was heavy. Af­ter 14 hours of shoot­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle race in Ken­tucky in the hot sun, my hands, back and shoul­ders ached. That’s when I ap­pre­ci­ated the joy­stick. I could set the whole rig on a flat sur­face and pan by mov­ing the stick. The video came out great. My back, how­ever, still feels ter­ri­ble. – Michael Wil­son

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