The Goodness of a Gimbal

Sunflowers and Osmo in Carleton's Arboretum Prairie

There are lots of things to consider when buying a video camera.  Sensors, color chips, resolution, recording formats, inputs/outputs, price-points and lots and lots more.  Until the recent explosion of drones, smooth camera movement has usually required peripheral hardware such as sliders, booms, dollies, and glidecams.  Enter the gimbal–that little mechanism that allows for smooth motion around a central axis.

You’ve seen gimbal-based footage shot from drones.  It’s smooth.  Ethereal.  DJI recently released their Osmo camera, and now you can get beautiful 1080 or even 4K footage without schlepping your clumsy peripheral hardware.  Here’s side-by-side comparison of handheld video shot using a DJI Osmo and an Intova Edge X action cam.

The Intova Edge X is an excellent waterproof GoPro alternative–but it doesn’t compare to the Osmo for filming smooth movement.  As an example, we recently filmed a short “Walking Tour” of Carleton’s Arboretum using only the Osmo.  You’ll see some beautiful scenery through a gracefully floating Osmo lens–all handheld.

Though operating the Osmo requires syncing to your phone–to use as the viewfinder–it is lightweight and easy to use.  If you purchase an Osmo ($600), be sure to get the ND filters, an extra battery, extension stick, straight extension arm, and universal mount.  This will give you extra filming time and height and the ability to attach a mic transmitter or other small peripherals.  I’d also recommend the Nanuk Case for the Osmo.

Special thanks to Eric Mistry for helping film and edit the side-by-side comparison . . . and thanks a ton to Nancy Braker for the walking tour.

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Dann Hurlbert

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