Using Camera Rigs to Shoot Incredible Video

Aug302012

A lot of people have caught on to the fact that a DSLR can shoot amazing looking video. The only problem is that without a better way to hold the camera, the footage turns out looking shaky. To fix this problem and bring your production to the next level, you will need some camera rigs. In terms of DSLR video, a rig is an apparatus that attaches to your camera to give you more control over your camera. In this post I am going to look at rigs that help with stabilization by breaking down a few cool little rigs we use here to bv02 to aid us in our video shoots.

View-finder
This eyepiece attaches to the LCD screen increasing the viewing experience. Not only does it make it easier to see if the subject is in focus but by holding it tightly to your face, it acts as the first form of stabilization.

Viewfinder
Tripod/Monopod

The most common rig used is the tripod. Tripods come in a variety of sizes and prices. A cheaper tripod will work fine for static shots but if you are looking to get some smooth pan shots, a fluid head tripod designed specifically for video will work best. Not to mention a video specific tripod is more rigid and is designed to hold a heavier camera setup. If you’re worried that a tripod is too big and cumbersome, consider using a monopod; it will give a jitter-free shot while offering more freedom of movement.

Dolly/Slider
This track creates a smooth surface for the camera to travel on a horizontal plane and helps create a more dynamic shot in comparison to the static tripod shot. This is great for tracking shots or if you want to slowly reveal the subject hidden behind an object placed in the fore ground.

Shoulder Rig
A rig that mounts to the camera and places the weight onto your shoulder, while offering a hand held grip for further stabilization. This works great for live events or anything that requires moving around a lot. A shoulder rig is usually modular and gives you the option to add on other rigs like a follow focus that allows you to pull focus smoothly.

Steadicam
A steadicam is a hand held rig that mechanically isolates the camera from the operator’s movement.  A properly balanced steadicam (not as easy as it seems) can help create professional “you are there” footage that looks smooth whether you are walking, running, jumping or even traveling up stairs. The steady cam uses counter weights to off set the weight of your camera while the gimbal attached to the handle freely pivots creating ultra smooth footage.

Jib Arm / Camera Boom
A jib acts like a see-saw using counter weights to balance the camera mounted at the end of the arm. The camera can then move smoothly through an extended arc while covering a great distance both horizontally or vertically.  The jib arm can be big and hard to transport but can give your video a very distinctive look that is not achievable with any other rig.

A lot of these rigs were originally designed for motion picture cameras but have been adapted to aid when filming with a DSLR. Of course this gear can be very expensive and sometime hard to use.  So, if you want you to bring your video to the next level without investing the time and money in rigs, contact us here at bv02 and we will bring all the gear to make your video look amazing.

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