How Gimbals are Replacing Outdated Stabilizers

The modern camera drone can be operated with stabilizers like the Steadicam (a device responsible the smooth and seamless hallways scenes of “The Shining,” the stairwell scenes of “Rocky” and the flowing gala scene from “Pride and Prejudice”). While these classic movies have stood the test of time, the use of 3-axis brushless camera gimbals are starting to phase out stabilizers like the Steadicam due to new technology, ease of use and adaptability.

Here are some of the reasons why gimbals are growing in popularity.

What is a brushless camera gimbal?

A brushless camera gimbal can be used to describe any adjustable camera or compass holder. The aim of using a gimbal is to keep the device level, stable and free from the effects of vibration during flight. Gimbals can also optimize imaging in sub-optimal weather conditions during video recording. They have brushless motors that are some of the most powerful yet quiet and long lasting on the market.

How they do they work?

Gimbals have 3 axes, which refers to how the camera can be adjusted in all directions (up and down, left and right and forward and backward). This helps to properly capture the essence of our three dimensional world.

Mechanically speaking, the gimbal is quite basic. It has a camera holder and 3 motors that level the camera and protect it from vibration. A lot of technology goes into how it works, and the modern consumer camera gimbal only became possible a few years ago in 2012.

What makes them adaptable?

Brushless camera gimbals contain many of the same technologies that are already found within the drone, making it easy to add to mount cameras to UAVs. They can be sold as a separate unit, as a mount, or as a unit complete within an integrated camera (think: the DJI Phantom 4)

Gimbal users have stated that they can be used in many ways which open up an array of possibilities while shooting. For instance, it’s possible to hand a gimbal to another operator as a shot continues for easy, seamless shot in action sequences.

What makes them easier to use vs. stabilizers?

Gimbals mounted to a jib can also be operated remotely by a person standing next to the jib or jib operator. This makes them far more easily operated than stabilizers like the Steadicam, where the camera operator must follow a predetermined path while paying attention obstacles, adjusting the camera in real-time, all while holding more than 70 pounds of camera equipment.

If you’re shooting an action sequence, gimbal rigs also can be operated by somebody in the same car, as an example, or another car that is following the car with the gimbal inside it. They can also be mounted to moving vehicles for “off the ground” low shots or easily mounted onto flying drones. This produces unique shots that other stabilizers simply wouldn’t be able to achieve.

Steadicams and other stabilizers also have to operated by trained and experienced operators as they can be complicated to use, require physical stamina, technical skill and a strong sense of shot composition. The director has to plan the shot for the operator to execute.

Many users argue that gimbals are more readily accessible and provide fewer restrictions like the ability to do hand-offs, low shots or jib-style movements. They can also correct mistakes and are more forgiving of operation errors than stabilizers.

For more information, check out our line of gimbals and gimbal accessories.

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