Why does my cheap gimbal make jittery footage?

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Afbeeldingsresultaat voor shaky video iphone

Going through my footage I shot with my cheap gimbal on my computer and saw jitter in a lot of videos. Where does this jitter come from?

The jitter or micro-shakes in the footage are caused mainly by the optical image stabilization on a smartphone itself. The so called OIS tries to compensate the movements that are made with your phone. But when using a gimbal, the OIS and the gimbal are compensating for every moment. This causes the overcompensation and therefore the jitter in your footage.

What is OIS?

OIS is optical image stabilization and works by using gyroscopes to calculate how much countermovements must be made by your lens. When these movements are made during the capturing of an image or video, the camera movement blur is reduced. So the optical image stabilization can be very useful in any situation with good lighting. Giving you the ability to create content without any problems by hand. But in lower light situations the OIS gives the user an advantage it didn’t have in the past. Shooting with less light, means longer exposure times and therefore you need quit a steady hand.

How can I minimize the jitter?

The jitter is quit often caused by using a gimbal and a smartphone with OIS enabled. Where you would think the overstabilization could actually work.. It doesn’t. I thought I had some good shots, because they looked great when playing it back on my Iphone. But when I imported these gimbal shots on my mac, I was instantly disappointed. The jitter is noticeable and very annoying, definitely when your just getting into videography. You can use workarounds in the editing proces with plugins that smooth out movements. But when your videos are ‘shitty’, they’ll not sudden become amazing with some video effects. You’ll have to make good looking shots, preferably without jitter, to make a good looking video. So how did I minimize the jittery effect as much as possible?

I found some apps for my Iphone that give me the option to disable the OIS and this instantly gave me better footage. The jitter was almost completely gone and now I really enjoyed the gimbal footage. So a good way to eliminate the jitter caused when using a gimbal, it to disable the OIS.

Can I disable the OIS in the native camera app?

The native camera app in your Iphone does not support the feature to disable the OIS. This will explain why a lot of people have been complaining when using their gimbal with the native camera app and getting jittery footage. In the native app on the iphone the optical and digital image stabilization is automatically turned on. Thus creating quit a lot of problems.

What apps can I use to disable the OIS on my iphone?

The app I use to disable the IOS is Procam and it gives me the option to shoot in 4k Max and this disables the image stabilization in the phone. Not only is the optical image stabilization disable, but the digital image stabilization also. I read something about it on the Procam tutorials page: ‘Neither digital nor OIS video stabilization are supported.’.

You can also use other apps like Filmic Pro, that also support the option to disable OIS. I have not tested the Filmic Pro app on this option before, so I will get back to this in the future.

What are other solutions?

You can try to improve your movements and move like a ninja. I’ve already told about some movements you need to master in my other article. But improving your movement can increase the quality of your footage dramatically.

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A few simple smartphone gimbal tips ..

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Instantly improve your shots (when using a gimbal)!

Smartphone gimbal

Stop shooting video vertically..

When your shooting vertical with your Iphone, than the footage will show black bars on the sides. This will take everything out of the cinematic feeling and make it feel like your watching something like a simple snapchat video. And because everyday more people are shooting video vertically, you can stand out by doing the opposite and creating with a ‘cinematic’ – horizontal feel. Otherwise the gimbal won’t be used to it’s full potential. So make sure that you’re always shooting horizontal to ensure the same look overall.

When you’re not shooting slowmo choose 4k 30fps settings..

When using the native Iphone camera app, make sure you’re using the right video settings. If you’re not looking to shoot slowmotion footage, then choose to use 4k 30fps (when using an Iphone 8 or higher). This framerate will be adequate enough to shoot in conditions with less light. When using a higher framerate, you need more lighting to capture good looking footage. Each frame will be taken in a shorter time, which means that there is less exposure time/light per frame. But don’t worry when you’re not looking to shoot slowmotion footage. The higher framerate mostly is needed to create smooth slowmotion videos.

Mind your step

Minimizing the vertical movements you make while recording will give steadier footage overall, but especially when using a gimbal. Gently walking with your feet heel to toe will decrease bouncing. Also keep the knees bent to absorb shocks when walking on an irregular surface. At last, keep the elbows bent where they can function as some kind of shockabsorber.

Use ‘push in/pull out’ movements to add drama with your gimbal

Don’t use standard movements when you have your smartphone on a gimbal. You need Gimbalto utilize the gimbal as much as possible by using techniques that will take advantage of a stabilizer. Two simple movements like the ‘push in’ or the ‘pull out’ movement will give you more dramatic looking shots. It uses the relationship between the subject and the background to open up a shot or to close up and focus.

Push in: when using the ‘push in’ you’re moving towards the subject and make sure that the focus is locked on it. As you come closer and closer to the subject you automatically let it seem more important. For example, when you’re subject is a person and makes expressions, you grab the emotion of the person and this will be added to your shot.

Pull out: when using the ‘pull out’ movement you’re moving away from the subject, while staying focused on it. This movement will reveal the space surrounding the subject and can give a viewer new impulses. With the ‘pull out’ movement you can also the relationship between the subject and the area it’s in. Giving you the possibility to make it seem that the subject is isolated.

Make use of ‘booming’ shots

When using the ‘booming’ shot you’re raising or lowering the camera vertically. The purpose is to show new elements or show what the subject is seeing.

Create action with the ‘orbit’ movement

Doing a ‘orbit’ movement keeps the focus on the subject while circling it with the camera. The background will be shifting constantly and gives new perspective to a scene. This movement can be used to create energy and is perfect for some kind of action shots.

Use third party apps when filming

When your using the camera app in your smartphone, it’s quit likely you can’t manually choose every parameter. Things like exposure, contrast, white balance will be automatically adjusted in the native camera app. So when you’re using this app every shot can vary in look and settings. Therefore, you would likely want to use an advanced video app like filmic pro to manually put in each setting. Giving you the ability to freeze the settings being used when making multiple shots.

Explore perspective with lenses for your smartphone

You can use the standard lens on you Iphone and already create good looking shots, but everybody can make videos this way. By using a lens for your smartphone the footage you make, will be more unique. For example, when using the wide lens made by Moment will give your a wider shot and this will give you a more interesting shot. This perspective will differ from other videographers that are using the standard lenses. Not only can you use wider lenses, but you can also use a telelens. A telelens will give you a doubled zoom optically, not digitally. So the quality of the shots won’t become worse.

Iphone lenses

Edit footage and grade using presets or LUTs to start

When the filming is done and you have made the shots you need, it’s time to do some work post processing. You’ll need to edit and montage your shots to create a good story. After you’ve done this step, it’s important to grade your footage. It will give your video a cohesive look and let you set the mood by using color. Shots can look dull and lifeless, but by grading you create a feeling.

Colour grading can be achieved easily by using LUTs. They’re like presets for your video, like the presets you can find for photos in the VSCO app for your Iphone. You can find a lot of free LUT presets created by other videographers. Some presets are premium and so you have to pay for these.

Alternative gimbals for Iphone (and other smartphones)

Freefly Movi: the Movi is one option you need to keep in mind if you want the best gimbal for the Iphone. Bare in mind the higher pricepoint for this gimbal, but it does have a more advanced stabilizing system.

DJI Osmo Mobile: the DJI gimbal is also a great gimbal, but higher priced than the Zhiyun. For the higher price you get an app that actually is functional. The DJI Osmo Mobile App is without a doubt better than the Zhiyun software.

Check the review I made of the Zhiyun Smooth Q gimbal and why I think it is the best choice for beginning videographers!

 

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Zhiyun Smooth Q: Is it the best (cheap) Iphone gimbal? (My review)

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Why buy an expensive camera and invest in other equipment, when you’ve already got an Iphone..

You can make professional looking video footage by using your Iphone camera. In this review I will tell you about the smartphone gimbal made by Zhiyun.

The device functions as a camera stabilizer for your phone. Using a gimbal can make your travel videos, vlogs or social media content look professional without the expenses. The Zhiyun is perfect for beginners or people who just want to use the gimbal only on their vacations or during events.

 

 

Review of: Zhiyun Smooth Q          Use: Iphone Video Stabilizer

Quick overview

Quality
Professional looking footage and great battery life
Price
Low cost of investment compared to other brands
Ease of use
Easy to use and results get better with more practice
App Support
Application is not as good as those of the competitors.

Iphone gimbal

Like
– Great stabilization
– Build quality
– Looks
– Battery life
– Price
– Can be used with other phones and devices

Don’t Like
– Practice is needed to make the most out of the gimbal.
– App isn’t as advanced as the  application that is made  for the DJI Gimbals.

Summary:

The Zhiyun Smooth Q is a great buy for it’s money. With just a bit over the $100 pricepoint, Zhiyun provides the user with gimbal that creates smooth looking video footage. Combine these results with good build quality and ease of use, than this purchase is a no brainer. Create memories that are more beautiful by investing in this equipment.

Iphone stabilizer

After using the Zhiyun gimbal regularly the last three weeks

Quality

The Zhiyun Smooth Q is not as heavy as some of the competitors, but it still feels premium. The gimbal is built well and makes smooth movements out of the box. While using the device for a while, the results stay consistent and the stabilizer does the job.

The battery is built-in the grip, so it isn’t interchangeable. But this is no problem, because it lasts about 12 hours. I never had a day when using the gimbal, that it died on me because it was out of juice.

The gimbal has a usb port on the bottom of the handle, so you can charge your device while using it. This really comes in handy and I used it every time.

 

Price

For a little over $100 the gimbal is a no brainer if you want to try it out. Even for the more experienced videographer, the gimbal is a  must-have in the camerabag. Where you can quickly make some smooth footage and you don’t want the hassle of adjusting your DSLR and stabilizer.

The pricing of the device is below the competitors price, where a similar product of DJI costs more. You can also choose out of three different colours.

Ease of use

As said before, the device is easy to use out of the box. You do need to make some adjustments when using bigger devices like a Iphone 6/7/8 Plus.

The video footage you can make with the gimbal without practice, is without a doubt better than anything you take handheld. But I noticed that I got better using the Zhiyun and these results were noticable in my videos. There can be a little jitter in some footages, what lookes like a mechanical shake. I noticed this because I’ve worked with equipment like this before.

Gopro gimbal

The gimbal is not only compatible with an Iphone, it can be used with multiple smartphones up to 6 inch. You can also use the Zhiyun as a Gopro gimbal.

But to do this you need to purchase this Gopro adapter to make it fit.

 

App Support

The application that is developed by Zhiyun isn’t that great, because the resolution you get when making videos with the app is lower. You’re better off using the Camera app that is in you’re smartphone itself.

Final Answer

Buying the Zhiyun Smooth Q for your smartphone will be a decision you won’t regret. To my opinion the results you can get this piece of equipment, is definitely worth the money. You can get better gimbals, but those require more hassle and are more technical. Out of the box, the Zhiyun is a winner for it’s price and I’ll call it the best cheap Iphone gimbal!

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