5 Essential Gimbal Camera Movements

Since the hay day of filmmaking, moving the camera in smooth motions was the hallmark of a Hollywood-like production. Lucky for us we do not have to use expensive/ cumbersome dolly’s and tracks to achieve the same effect. Now the technology for creating those movements literally fits in your hands. With camera gimbals like the DJI Ronin, you can create smooth and creative shots that will add value to your productions.

In your favorite movie you probably have seen the scene where the hero enters the frame and the camera slowly pushes toward him.  Then hero continues their walk, and the camera follows them walking in a profile shot. He sees something. Camera goes to a close-up of something and pulls out from it in a dolly shot. All these shots are smooth and if done right do not distract from the scene.

 Here are 5 camera movements you can do yourself with a camera gimbal.


1.      THE PUSH IN / PULL OUT

This is one of those traditional but effective camera moves you’ve probably seen in just about every movie. It’s basically what a dolly would do on a track. To achieve this move hold the gimbal steady while walking toward your subject. Pushing toward a subject can add extra intensity to a character or a scene.

Walking away from your subject doing the same type of move creates the opposite effect. Walking backwards with gimbal and camera while subject walking toward you is a nice effect to try. Though you’ll need to practice and watch your steps. It’s often good to have someone watching your back to make sure you don’t trip or bump into something.

Whether you are walking forward or backward it’s good to practice your walk to get a nice steady walk with the Gimbal.


2.      PARALLAX / ARC SHOT

Whether you are walking forward or backwards it’s good to practice your walk to get a nice steady walk with the Gimbal.

You’ve seen these shots where the camera moves around a subject. It often makes it look like the background is spinning around them while they stay in center frame. Getting this shot is self-explanatory. Aim the camera on the gimbal toward your subject. Then walk around them keeping them at center 180 degrees. You can even do a full 360 for a more radical shot.

Sometimes you may want a moving shot from a car. Siting in the passenger seat with your gimbal you can recreate the effect of having a car mount. When shooting through the front windshield you may want to consider using a polarizer on your lens. You can also place a mini tripod on the seat and rig the gimbal to that.


3.      OUT THE WINDOW MOVING CAR SHOT

Cars are great way to get a Hollywood type of shot. They can act as a dolly. The challenge with cars is that even though they are somewhat stable the road can create some jerkiness. This is even more true if the camera is zoomed. That is why it is beneficial to use a gimble when creating a shot from a moving car. Siting in the passenger seat with your gimbal you can recreate the effect of having a stabilized car mount. When shooting through the front windshield you may want to consider using a polarizer on your lens. You can also place a mini tripod on the seat and rig the gimbal to that.


4.      PULL OUT / PUSH IN & TILT

Same principle of the normal push in or pull out but this time your tilt toward the subject or away from subject using the gimble joystick. Try pushing in from a low angle and tilting up while you do. This can give your subject a sense of power. Or pulling out from a higher angle and tilting down toward your subject can give a sense of being overwhelmed. Another thing you can do with all these moving shots is to consider pulling out from the sky and tilting down to reveal your shot or tilt up after a shot to end on the sky.


5.      PROFILE TRACKING SHOT

Follow a subject from left to right or right to left along a straight-line movement. When walking try heal to toe to keep steady. And have a firm two handed grip on your gimble for stability.

Another move you can do with all these shots is to move to an object after a shot to create a nice transition. Or start with an object out of focus in the foreground blocking the shot and pull away from or dolly from it to reveal the rest of the shot blocking the frame. 


As you can see adding gimble movement to your shots can add production value and are not too hard to pull off. Give one of these 5 essential gimbal camera movements a try on your next project.


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