Beyond any doubt, 3-axis gimbal stabilizers are fantastic tools for capturing buttery smooth footage that can be used in a variety of creative projects and applications. But more importantly, they create motion that can have a substantial emotional impact on your audience hence serving your storytelling in a unique and unadulterated manner. What a better way to achieve that goal than utilising some essential gimbal movements vastly employed by seasoned gimbal operators and aspiring filmmakers alike. In the next episode of 4 Minute Film School produced by Aputure, pro gimbal operator Casey McBeath covers seven essential movements that can certainly enhance your camerawork when using a gimbal by exploring and explaining the psychological purpose these actions serve in your storytelling efforts.
The first type of gimbal motion suggested by Casey McBeath is the Push In or Pull Out movement. In essence, when you’re pushing in on a subject you’re drawing not only the attention of your audience, but you add importance and emotion to your character as well. This gimbal movement can also be used to add meaning to a subject or emphasize on what’s going to happen next as your story unfolds. The Pull Out gimbal movement, on the other hand, can be utilised to reveal a particular area or space, or make your character seem isolated or alone.
Another common gimbal motion widely used in multiple productions is Booming. This type of gimbal movement suggests raising or lowering the camera on a vertical axis. The primary purpose here is to reveal new information to your audience or visually explore more of your scene. It’s a commonly used trick to show what a character sees by unveiling particular visual details at the very same moment to the audience as the action unfolds.
The third shot is the common Dolly shot that typically refers to moving the camera from side to side just as if you’re using a conventional mechanical system. It’s very similar to a dolly shot, except the movement is free and it’s not locked to a single axis, nor it’s limited by the railing system of a track dolly.
Furthermore, the Follow shot (or Lead shot) is another gimbal movement where you’re constantly moving away or towards your subject while filming, but unlike the first technique on the list, you are both changing position simultaneously. For instance, you can be in front of the actor as he/she walks towards you, or you can be behind him/her performing the following shot while keeping a particular distance in between.
The next on the list is the Orbit movement. In essence, it lets you focus on a subject while the camera circles it. As a result, the background is quickly shifting and changing, as you’re getting great parallax effect along with an entirely new perspective of your scene. This type of shot is also a fantastic way to add more energy and dynamics to a sequence and make it way more appealing to watch. Unlike the orbit shot that is focused inward the action, the Rotate movement explores the environment and physical space surrounding the characters in the scene.
Last but not least, comes the Tilt movement. A typical example of this shot is when the gimbal operator starts filming on a particular frame and then tilts the camera up or down to an entirely different angle. The primary purpose of this shot is revealing location relation between the various physical points in the space occupied by characters and their surroundings. All in all, you can mix and match all these gimbal movements while exploring new creative ways to enhance your camerawork. As-a-rule-of-thumb, always utilize this approach with a clear purpose and motivation to serve your story better.