Gimbals have become one of the most popular camera accessories for filmmakers looking to create cinematic footage with a skeleton crew team, but they do come with a bit of a learning curve. In the video at the bottom of this post, cinematographer Jacques Crafford shows you the following seven great gimbal moves to help you produce epic cinematic video.
#1 Reveal Turn Around
This is a great shot to use to introduce one character into the frame with the option to turn around and reveal a second character. These typically are most effective when you introduce the first subject into frame with movement. Start at an upward angle and slowly pull down to make the effect more dramatic. To pull this off you will want your gimbal set to PFT mode with a Custom Speed. This is a great shot to use a 35mm lens on because it most closely resembles the field of view of the human eye.
#2 Character Switch
This shot is when the camera is following one character and then mid-action begins to follow another character. This dynamic move is a great way to introduce a new character into the story as well. To accomplish it, you will want to put your gimbal into PF Mode with a Medium Speed setting. A shot like this is most effective when using a wide lens to reveal more of the background.
#3 Tracker Reveal
This move combines two standard gimbal moves into one. You start with a tracking shot on the feet and then slowly pull out and pan up to reveal more of the scene. This particular shot works best when the gimbal is in inverted mode. To achieve this, put the gimbal into standby, turn it around and switch it back on. Change setting to PTF Mode with Custom Speed. When the gimbal is in inverted mode, it has more freedom of movement which makes it easier to shoot low angle shots.
#4 POV Swing
You can emulate the POV of two people dancing with this unique shot. To achieve this shot, turn the camera towards the character and have them spin around while holding the gimbal and the camera. Put the gimbal in PF Mode at Fast Speed. This is one shot where it makes sense to bump your frame rate up 50 or 60 fps for a more euphoric feeling.
#5 The Ride In
This shot brings your character into a stop. Start your camera movement on the opposite side of the frame as your subject and then slowly cross with your camera, keeping the subject in the right third of the frame for the majority of the shot. When shot at a lower angle this can be a great hero shot. To accomplish this shot set your gimbal to PTF Mode and Custom Speed.
#6 Tilt Up Forward Push
As a camera operator, you will want to push forward towards your subject, while slowly tilting up, for extra drama you can ask your subject to do a slight head movement as you bring the camera closer to their face. To accomplish this set your gimbal to PTF Mode and Custom Speed. Shooting with a long lens and a shutter speed of 100 fps will give the shot a more dramatic feel.
#7 Telephoto Tracker
For this shot, you are going to need a long lens to follow your subject. It’s best accomplished shooting from a moving object so that you can keep time with your subject. Having a deep foreground will make the shot even more dynamic. To accomplish this move put the gimbal in PF Mode and Custom Speed.