When you start a video project, think about your camera work. You’re probably not going to be holding that camera in your hand the entire time, and that’s where a good rig comes in. Photographers and filmmakers need to know how different professional video camera rigs work so they can produce high-quality content. Let’s take a closer look at how to properly use camera rigs so you can add professionalism to your finished project.
Let’s start with an easy one. A tripod is a popular piece of equipment that holds the camera still. Notice the head of the tripod; it’s fluid and movable. You can use the tripod to pan left and right and tilt the camera up while remaining steady. Practice moving your camera on the head of the tripod and panning left, right, and up. Think of it like exercise.
Shoulder rigs are what they sound like: camera stabilizers that rest on the shoulders of the camera operator. Because the fluidity of the camera depends on the operator’s footwork, you may experience shaking. That can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the sort of scene you’re shooting. A little shake can prove evocative if you’re shooting a fight scene. Otherwise, keep your footwork steady as you wear the shoulder rig.
Much like other camera stabilizers and professional video camera rigs, a gimbal vest uses the movement of the camera operator. The gimbal balances your camera on three axes, so even if your footwork is a little shaky, your camera will remain steady. Get used to wearing the vest and practice moving around with the extra weight on.
A dolly can be as simple as a cart with a tripod attached or as fancy as a specialized camera stand on wheels. Use a dolly for tracking shots by pulling the camera away from its subject. Even if your camera equipment isn’t attached to your body, practice precision and steady footwork. Move the dolly back in a straight line and keep your speed consistent.
As you practice how to properly use different camera rigs, remain smooth and steady. Your equipment is there to help you, so use it wisely. Proper use of camera rigs will pay off when your viewers compliment your film or video on its production value!