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Kyle Kearns

Handheld Vs Stabilized

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How do you guys decide when to go handheld and when to keep it perfectly stabilized?

 

I'm DPing/directing a short soon and I'm having the hardest time trying to decide what would look the best.

 

 

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In general a shaking handheld camera creates tension in the viewer.  If you use handheld extensively, you loose this effect as the viewers get used to it.  And sometimes, if too much handheld, you will observe some people leaving the theater feeling sick, as I saw when watching "Beasts of the Southern Wild" some time ago...

So, if you want the viewer a bit uncomfortable use hand held.

Also, handheld can suggest that the view is through the eyes of someone in the scene, which you can consider as well.  Especially when cut into an otherwise stable scene.

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Depends on the scene - handheld can inject some energy into a scene or be a distraction if too wobbly. 

I don't mind hand held - but I only use it with larger camera and wider lens. The vibration type wobble you can get when hand holding small cameras is nearly always distracting. In those situations, I keep the camera on the tripod and pick up the camera and tripod and handhold both to provide some much needed inertia - gets heavy but looks more stable. 

But is down to taste. I use hand held a lot on music videos but I've never used it on a drama I've directed

Its also down to the tool you have to hand. I've used handheld because we didn't have the budget for a stedicam or time to lay track etc...  Its the cheapest simplest way to move the camera after all.

Gimbals can improve handheld shots - but they can cause their own problems - you do see quite "robotic" looking gimbal operating with jerky pans from op's that arn't experienced on them - its usually easy to spot gimbal vs stedicam. 

 

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Posted (edited)

EZrigs are good at "taking the edge off" of handheld. Not a steadicam, and obviously not a gimbal, but if skilled you can find a good middleground between the two. You can also adjust how handheldy you want it to feel. It also solves the microshake problem of smaller cameras, if applicable. My hips hurt after awhile with this rig.

IMG_5092.jpg

Edited by Joseph Tese
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EZ rigs work great. I personally shoot a lot of shoulder mount hand held and the trick is to keep wider focal lengths and have someone spot you as you walk. The same could be said about ANY stabilizer as well, like a gimbal or steadicam. 

My favorite way to shoot is with a steadicam though. I use to hate them because they were so over-used in the 90's, but today I shoot a lot with one since I own it and I think it's the best tool. If you keep your rig light and well balanced, nothing else beats it and you can run it for hours without stopping. It's hard to do that with shoulder mount, after a while your shoulder kills ya, even with padding and a lightweight camera. Your hands will start to shake as well and it makes it very difficult. So I can shoot an hour or two ENG style non-stop but I can shoot hours upon hours with a steadicam, if the rig is light enough. 

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Trouble with easy rig is the sway movement  due to weight being on the hips.. small moves great.. but any walking its NG.. and well its not designed for that anyway .. good for many things but not really  a general hand held alternative ..

As to the OP.. its an impossible question as it totally down to the look/feel you want .. for the subject matter you are shooting .. eg a reconstruction of a riot or a classic Italian garden with refined gents and ladies strolling around ..no rules but its most likely then down to what "look" your director wants to to create ..

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EZ rigs are amazing when you're standing still, but problematic if you need to move around. I'm very interested in the new "Ergo Rig" for that reason (I still can't quite believe it took until 2019 for such a camera support concept to appear).

For me, handheld works best when there's a reason for it. When you want to take the audience and unsettle them in a particular moment or scene. For that very reason, I don't think it pays to overuse it.

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Yes looks good.. seems you can operate as you would .. although for something like walking /shooting I wonder if it also introduces some sort of sidewards "sway".. 

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18 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

https://www.newsshooter.com/2019/04/11/ergorig-the-handheld-back-saver/

 

Saw this a month ago and had completely forgotten about it !.. agreed it looks exactly what needed.. although unlike the easy rig you cant check your phone when you use it ... 

It looks interesting, but it seems like it might suffer from the same issues as an easy rig. That is, by transferring the weight to your hips, it makes it difficult to move smoothly.

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Yes thats was my worry too.. I think I would try one before buying as I have an easy rig already.. although  gathering dust as the solution for me  was just to  use lighter lenses .. and just shoot hand held ..

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1 hour ago, Robin R Probyn said:

Yes looks good.. seems you can operate as you would .. although for something like walking /shooting I wonder if it also introduces some sort of sidewards "sway".. 

Yeah, I'm very intrigued by what shifting the load to the hips will do to the movement. It's the one thing that's holding me back from ordering one just yet. I touched base with Jesse (the cam op who's created it) as soon as I saw the coverage of it at NAB, asking if he had any sample footage from it comparing the movement both with it and without it.

But (unsurprisingly) they've been swamped with orders, so it's not something they really have time for at the moment.

Jesse said he'd used versions of it on Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, American Horror Story, Pose, The Assassination of Giani Versace, Futureman, The Disaster Artist, Foo Fighters: Run, and Feud. I've seen two of those (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile and The Disaster Artist), and I certainly didn't notice anything strange or unexpected in the handheld work on either of them. So I suspect anything it does introduce into the movement is pretty minimal (certainly compared to the pendulum issues you have when walking with an EZ rig).

But I'll probably hold off until I can actually see it in action.

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3 hours ago, Mark Kenfield said:

Yeah, I'm very intrigued by what shifting the load to the hips will do to the movement. It's the one thing that's holding me back from ordering one just yet. I touched base with Jesse (the cam op who's created it) as soon as I saw the coverage of it at NAB, asking if he had any sample footage from it comparing the movement both with it and without it.

But (unsurprisingly) they've been swamped with orders, so it's not something they really have time for at the moment.

Jesse said he'd used versions of it on Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, American Horror Story, Pose, The Assassination of Giani Versace, Futureman, The Disaster Artist, Foo Fighters: Run, and Feud. I've seen two of those (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile and The Disaster Artist), and I certainly didn't notice anything strange or unexpected in the handheld work on either of them. So I suspect anything it does introduce into the movement is pretty minimal (certainly compared to the pendulum issues you have when walking with an EZ rig).

But I'll probably hold off until I can actually see it in action.

Yes its reassuring the guy is working in the industry and clearly knows what he's talking about ..as with the easy rig .. which was basically invented for hand held interviews rather than actual "hand holding " camera work ..I guess as this one isn't attached at the top and is just resting on a foam plate.. or so it seems.. you can actually counter any sway to some extent ..Im sure its good.. but yeah if possible Idol want to give one a quick try before buying.. my easy rig has served its purpose but now gathers dust.. as I use lighter lenses 

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