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Do you need a smartphone gimbal?

The newest models of smartphones, both iPhone and Android, now have their own internal stabilization.  Because of that, I hear clients telling me that they don’t think they need a gimbal and wonder why I recommend that they use one for their self-made social media videos.  I’ve used my smartphone gimbal for nearly 4 years now and I still rely on it, even with my newer smartphone model. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Getting those cool and tricky shots. There are shots a gimbal can assist with that you just can’t get with the smartphone held in your hands. A gimbal can give you footage results that look like incredibly professional.
  2. There are unmatched features provided inside the gimbal’s app, such as object tracking and freehand recording, to mention only a few. One feature I love is the timelapse feature that allows you to program in a camera pan. Imagine capturing the fast speed of people walking down a street while the camera shot is also moving from right to left alongside that street.
  3. Many new smartphones come with their own stabilization; either the EIS or the OIS stabilization technology.
    1. EIS is a digital stabilization which uses a software to calculate a stable result of the recorded footage. It can result in artifacts and corrupted pixels. A gimbal provides the stabilization organically giving you a much smoother, cleaner result.
    2. Other phones come with a stabilization called OIS. It’s the better of the two stabilization technologies. It uses physical movement of the sensor or the lens to remove shakes. Using your camera’s OIS requires a lot of battery power – and with the camera running at the same time, you have two battery hogging features using up your camera’s battery fast. By using a gimbal, you have the benefit of two different battery sources. The gimbal has its own battery and so I recommend turning off your camera’s OIS and using your gimbal instead, giving your camera’s battery the ability to last longer.

If owning a gimbal is new to you and you are looking to purchase the right gimbal for your smartphone camera needs, there are several to choose from and it can get a bit intimidating. I recommend purchasing a 3-axis gimbal. It requires a bit of practice to use, at first. But it offers a ton of creative freedom when it comes to capturing your footage.

A 3-axis gimbal allows you to move your camera in three different directions: Pan, tilt, and roll. The gimbal that I use, and is commonly used by my peers, is the DJI OSMO Mobile gimbal. My gimbal is the OSMO Mobile 3, a best seller. But I don’t think they sell it anymore.

The latest model is the OSMO Mobile 6. But you can save some money and get either the 4 or the 5 and still have a magnificent gimbal. The big different between the 4 and the 5 is that the 5 has a built-in extension rod. The major different between the 5 and the 6 models is an added status panel to allow viewing gimbal modes more conveniently.

One of the biggest benefits for using the DJI OSMO gimbals is its easy ability to switch your camera from shooting wide to shooting vertically with the simple click of a button – a great feature for the different needs of your social media sites. Most other gimbals require you to remove the camera and remount it each time you want to switch from wide to vertical.

There is a learning curve to getting the full benefit of your gimbal.

  1. There are different modes that control the motors and movement of your camera and then the understanding of when and why to use those modes.
  2. There are also ways in which to move with the gimbal that minimize jittery footage better than other movements.
  3. There are shots you can capture with your gimbal that aren’t easily intuitive.
  4. Lastly, you will want to take advantage of the massive benefits that the apps offer, including setting your gimbal up to be its own camera operator.

There are lots of videos on YouTube that demonstrate the different techniques and modes used with a gimbal. But my latest workshop involves me working directly with you, giving you the practice and experience with me right at your side, and allowing me to customize the skills and shots you need to learn that suit what you will be recording for your business and social media outcomes.  To learn more or to book a session, you can reach out to me through my website.