It’ s long been my geeky dream to be able to get those fluid Steadicam-style tracking shots without any external gear. Last year I posted a couple tests using warp stabilizer to smooth out the bumps, to mixed results.
I’ve been practicing my walking technique, and I recently downloaded a trial of the stabilizer plugin Lock and Load. So today I brought my RX100 along to shoot another test while I walked to a laundromat in Austin.
I’m a bit more satisfied with these results. Here are my tips:
- On the Sony RX100, use the “Active” image stabilization setting
- Use a fast shutter speed to minimize motion blur and rolling shutter artifacts.
- When walking, keep your knees bent like you’re doing the Egyptian walk. Try not to lift your legs up too much as you walk – this is what causes a lot of the jerking and bouncing. You’ll look like you’re shuffling your feet a bit.
- Try resting the camera on one hand’s plam and pushing down with the other hand to simulate added weight. I believe this helps eliminate the jitter created by small cameras due to their lightness.
- Mentally picture the camera floating on its own, and you’ll begin to automatically compensate for bodily jerks and bumps, much like the steady head of an owl as its body moves around.
- In post, use Lock and Load instead of Warp Stabilizer or FCP X’s native stabilizer. It’s far more customizable, most importantly allowing you to keyframe the intensity of the effect. So if you do a sudden turn while walking, you can just reduce the effect to zero until you’re done turning. This keeps it from doing anything crazy while it attempts to analyze your sudden motion.
Is this a replacement for a true camera stabilizer? Perhaps in limited circumstances. I still haven’t attempted any running or extreme low/high angles yet. Maybe one day in-camera image stabilization will be so good that we’ll all have home videos that look like a Scorcese fluid master…or maybe not.