Gear to Stabilize Your Camera
In the kind of more fleshed-out version of the film, obviously, like, you have to... I bet there is an art film or, like, a great kind of artistic experiment out there where, like, everything is taken just from the perspective of still photography, but in order to kind of keep a narrative going, you want to be able to move down a hallway with someone, especially in the situation, it was a story about a young woman who was taking care of a guy in a vegetative state all alone, nearby to here, on Whidbey Island. And so it was just about her kind of being in this house with this man, so a very kind of limited environment, limited set, but yet you wanna be able to, like, move with her from her bedroom, let's say, down the hallway to where he is, or from the door of the house out into the forest. You wanna be able to kind of go from Point A to Point B, and in the way that I was shooting, I was so limited to just kind of sticking right on top of her because I just couldn't do anything, even s...
tanding at eye length, at kind of, you know, just being at eye level, even if I wasn't going to move the camera, without being able to kinda lock myself into some kind of, like, human tripod position, it was very difficult to kind of stand fully upright like this and keep the camera steady. And so for all of that, the other DP was able to do this stuff much more easily, and coming out of that moment and coming out of working in that situation, I was like, okay, now we gotta, like, up the ante again. First I was afraid to do anything, then I realized if I pressed record, I already knew how to do a bunch of stuff, but now this is the next thing I've gotta kind of conquer, and that's figuring out how to stabilize your camera. So you've got some options. I'm really only gonna talk about the top three today because these are the things I use and I don't wanna kind of lead you down paths that I don't know much about. There are more kind of complicated stabilizations that, like, you use Gimbal systems. There are all types of kind of tricks and tools that you can use. Steadicams, which require steadicam operators. But for my own purposes, for run and gun, all of that stuff, I wanna talk about monopods, shoulder rigs, and tripods. So the shoulder rig, which you see me shooting with here, is really what I use most of the time. It's what I have shot the majority of my work on since doing that film, and I like it for a bunch of reasons. One, that you can see here, is that I find it relatively mobile, and it's the reason that I'm not talking about kind of those more complicated systems at the bottom of that list here, is that these are not necessarily things that I can go out and shoot with all day, and I am, a a documentarian, I am an all day shooter. So when I think about shooting, for me personally, I'm like, can I do this for 10 hours? I might be very cranky after those 10 hours. It, like, some of this stuff is physically demanding and does hurt. But I can do it. I can hold it, I can manage it, and I can go out, you know, even to, this was very close to here, up in the mountains. One of the people that I was following was gonna go cut down her own Christmas tree. I wanted to make sure I had it. And a system like this is totally mobile and I could've followed her to go hiking and all of these things. So let's look at what that actually is. I'm gonna set it up for you a little bit, and I'm gonna set it up here because I also want you to see that this is not, it's not only about being mobile once you're out there shooting, but also that, like, from being at home into out shooting is not an all-day process or an all-day setup. It's something that, you know, you can basically do in a few minutes and then you're ready to go out the door.