The Common Sense of Using a Smartphone Gimbal

Last weekend, I took my smartphone gimbal out for a stroll. Because of the pandemic, I’ve avoided non-essential outings all winter. Therefore, it was the first time I filmed any video footage outside the house. Here are a few common sense things I learned.

Most important: Pan in one direction only.

In my first real excursion with the gimbal, I went a little too trigger-happy with panning. Wow, my shots get automatically stabilized! So, let’s just capture every single view possible! After I got home and viewed the footage, only half of it was usable because it was just too confusing to combine shots panned in different directions. The video is taking the viewer through what I saw on my walk, and so every movement should make sense as if they were walking with me.

Next most important: Ensure the horizon is at the right level.

With photography, we learn the “rule of thirds” where important objects and lines go on an imaginary grid dividing the image in thirds length-wise and width-wise. This rule also applies to video, but needs practice to execute with a smartphone and gimbal. This is because the gimbal moves on its own, so you need to be extra mindful of your framing.

Absolutely “duh”: Hold it by the handle at all times.

Don’t touch the bracket that holds the phone when the gimbal is on – it will spoil the motor as you are preventing it from moving freely. Therefore, when the gimbal is on, you need to hold it by the handle. However, you will probably want to switch it off when you don’t want to shoot, so as to save battery.

The video I made from the walk is on my Facebook page; as I used background music from the Facebook Sound Collection, I can only post it there. Here is a shot from the video of the beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom:

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