Why you need a Gimbal if you’re making social media movies

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

When taking still shots, there are many opportunities to go back and edit it. But when filming, more so if live streaming is being done, then the motion especially if one is moving can be really disruptive, so this is where a gimbal can be of use. Although it sounds like a character from Pulp Fiction, the gimbal is a motion stabilizer that is really useful for making short videos or live streaming. It’s what a cameraman is seen carrying on behind the scenes movie takes. 

The beauty of the DJI Osmo Mobile 3

Photo from FlyHighUSA

A gimbal solves the problem of people taking videos as they’re moving. If you’re looking at creating video content on location, even at an event, then a stabilizer could be a really good investment. The gimbal works in a pretty simple way with some gyroscopes inside it. One example of a gimbal is the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 which is a foldable, mobile gimbal, and this particular product has a handle similar to that of pistol, and it has a swing arm which is foldable and this is where the phone is placed. The entire device only weighs 400 g, so it’s not heavy, and it’s very easy to use, even for someone with small hands. It can fit phones up to 88 mm wide and 9.5 mm thick, so pretty much all phones can be used with it.

With a phone tucked onto the cradle, the gimbal can be moved around. Before turning on the gimbal and connecting it via Bluetooth to a phone, the DJI Mimo app needs to be downloaded. Once everything is ready, the gimbal becomes the control device for the phone. There’s a joystick with a thumb dial that only has one button that can be used to move the device or rotate it left, right, up, and down. There’s a little motor in the gimbal that moves the camera 180 degrees, making it easy to track and follow moving objects or people. The camera also tilts forward and backward, so one can film the ground and pan up to the sky, or do a panorama from left to right and be panning up and down at the same time. It’s an articulated joint powered by an absolutely silent motor, so there’s no noise that would appear on the recording. 

Why you need the DJI Mimo app

Photo from DroneDJ

The DJI Mimo app comes with different and cool functions. First, it can recognise a palm and a ‘V’ gesture. When filming oneself with the tripod stand that it comes with, when you put your palm up, it will stop the device moving and hold the frame. It can do the same with ‘V’ gestures if you do that sign with your fingers. The app also has some gesture control functions as well. It’s possible to command the camera from a distance with it facing you and gesturing in front of it, not holding it. That’s one of the features worth paying for, and aside from that, using the joystick, one can zoom in and out on the camera. 

The app can also be used to create mini movies. It has stylistic renderings, so one can film, edit the video, and do color grading on the phone or in real time while filming using the gimbal. Using the software on the phone, it’s easy to edit video clips together. The big focus on the app is around storytelling and story creation, so they have a large number of videos to show you how other people are creating content. It even has an AI editor that can help you create videos. Whether it’s old photos, recent shots, or legacy content, it can be used to create content on-site, join all those together, and render it into the desired form of content. The app can even let you add in music clips into the background, export it as a video file and, through one of the amplification platforms, send that out across social media channels. 

On the trigger on the front of the joystick, one can click to transition between portrait and landscape mode as well as rotate the axis manually. There are several ways to move between the front and the rear camera on the DJI Osmo Mobile 3, making it very flexible, and because it’s small and foldable, it’s compact and can easily fit in a pocket and be brought anywhere. It even comes with a little case to carry things around in. Since it only weighs 400 g, it can be held for several minutes while filming without causing any arm ache.

The Osmo products come from the DJI company which is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, and DJI is one of the leaders in building drones too. DJI has a lot of gimbal offerings, and in fact, there’s also another product where they have the camera in the gimbal itself. In terms of costs, the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is £99 on Amazon. There’s a Chinese product that has been profiled by the New York Times called Zhiyun, and that costs around $100 or £80. There’s also the Hohem, which is £87 on Amazon. Gimbals are around £100 or less, and it’s definitely worth its price. All in all, the gimbal is a really useful piece of equipment for creating professional videos without a shaky hand affecting the video quality. Also, this opens up a category of content that is much more compelling and wasn’t possible before. It gives one the chance to film while on the move, which makes for much more interesting content than the static photograph. So, if you’re creating video content, especially where the subject matter is moving, invest in something that can stabilize the image or video, and that’s called a gimbal. 

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo from Amazon

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