Do you know what is a gimbal? It is what YouTubers and video-bloggers often use when they film to ensure crisp, high-quality video while on the move and without the bulk and of a tripod set-up. So, what exactly is a Gimbal and how does one work? For the answer to those questions and more, you've come to the right place. The article below will give the most important details about Gimbals and even recommend one, the VanTop Nimble M3, which is a great model for Gimbal pros and beginners alike.
How Does a Gimbal Work?
Though most well-known now as a way to stabilize photos and videos, a gimbal is actually based on centuries old technology from the 16th century Italian mathematician Gerolamo Cardano. A single gimbal is a support that allows rotation on a single axis, if you put three such supports together it allows the innermost gimbal to remain independent from the forces and movement exerted around it. For a good visual representation of what this looks like, check out this gif on the operation of a Gyroscope.
So, how does a Gimbal work for your camera and smart phone?
The most common Gimbal used in film and video production is the handheld 3-axis gimbal that functions much as the Gyroscope mentioned above. In this example, however, the object at the center of your Gimbal that is being stabilized is your phone or camera. Gimbals are often used to minimize the vibration and shake, that is pretty much inherent when shooting handheld, by providing a smoothing process. There are two ways in which a Gimbal can accomplish this smoothing, through mechanical or motorized systems, let's consider both briefly below:
Mechanical Gimbals are precisely controlled by the operator by making the entire system slightly bottom heavy. This means that the entire center of gravity is left to the operators control, which can become tiring, it also means greater control over fluidity which is prized by professionals. As you can see in this video, they offer deft camera control.
Motorized Gimbals are powered by three synchronous, high-power to weight, brushless electric motors that are used to provide the stabilization needed to keep the camera or phone level on all axes. Normally this type of Gimbal will measure the unit's inertia internally and independently move the motors with minimal input needed from operators.
What to Look for When Choose the Best Gimbal
There are many Gimbals on the market, and they all seem to offer competing features and benefits, with each claiming to be the best Gimbal. A good option for both pros and newbies alike is the VanTop Nimble M3 Gimbal, which we will use as an example when looking at potential features below. While everyone's situation will be unique to their own needs, the following features should be useful to look for to anyone thinking of purchasing a Gimbal.
One of the best core features of any Gimbal is its ability to reduce shake and blur in your videos, especially while still providing the ease of a handheld rig. As shown above, this is thanks to the Gimbals unique stabilizing structure. What this means in practice is that, with minimal effort on your part, your camera will be able to capture quality handheld footage with a noticeable lack of shaking and blur.
Smart tracking is a feature available on many Gimbals that allows for the camera operator to execute smooth pans and to follow individual subjects or motion. On the VanTop Nimble M3 Gimbal, this means that the camera automatically can recognize and track your face and you can also manually set the Gimbal to track other objects.
A popular Gimbal feature these days is a variety of pre-loaded camera effects, or "film" modes, that can allow users to replicate cinema quality shots. For example, the VanTop M3 Gimbal has the ability to do a slow pan and zoom known as the Hitchcock Effect, or a head-spinning total inversion shot known as Inception Mode. When using these modes, the operator simply chooses what action he wants and the Gimbal executes it flawlessly, this allows for increased creativity from all parties involved thanks to the dynamic features of the Gimbal.
How easy is the Gimbal to set up? Does it require its own proprietary app, or will it work with your smartphone's own camera natively? These are questions you will have to ask yourself about any Gimbal you consider purchasing.
What is the set up like for the operator? For some Gimbal models this is as easy as pick up and go, others will require a careful calibration to make sure they are properly optimized. How simple the set-up is for your own Gimbal will be largely dependent on what type of model you have, so be sure to look into the details before you purchase.
Does your Gimbal work with a drone? The best way to get some truly epic drone shots is to complete them with the stability of a Gimbal. The ability to attach to a drone is a feature that some Gimbals offer and is one you should look out for if it's an important function to you.
Is it worth purchasing a gimbal?
After read the above contents, you must know more about what is a gimbal. A Gimbal is well worth the money if you are a serious YouTuber or even a worthwhile purchase for those that just want to improve the quality of their own Vlogs. This is because they are an indispensable piece of equipment that can seriously improve the quality of anyone's footage by lessening shake and blur. A Gimbal can be compact in size and easily taken on shoots almost anywhere. The best part is they needn't be expensive, some options like the VanTop M3 Gimbal are actually quite affordable for the value they can provide. In short, a gimbal is a great piece of equipment that can easily improve the quality of just about anyone's videos no matter the quality of their actual camera or phone.