If you’re an aspiring filmmaker who loves to shoot action scenes, you may have already tried the handheld route. The shaky-cam effect may be evocative in those jumbled, frenetic scenes, but it can also make your audience nauseous. When the camera shakes too much, you lose sight of your actors and their surroundings.
A camera stabilizer, especially one attached to a vest and arm system, can save you a great deal of time and energy when shooting. Stabilizers allow you to be a part of the action without dragging your camera into it; it’ll stay steady as everybody else moves. You can absolutely shoot fast-paced action and fight scenes without shaking and wobbling. Step into a vest stabilizer and let it do the work for you. Here’s why DSLR vest stabilizers are essential for shooting action; let these reasons inspire you to add one to your bag of tricks.
Action scenes require choreography just like musical numbers do. It takes time to get your actors moving in the right direction, and you need to move right with them. If you’re moving with a handheld camera alone, you’ll take up valuable space on your memory card with shaky, useless takes. Streamline the shooting process by getting clear shots the first or second time, and your actors and crew will thank you.
Comfort for You
Check in with your body after a long day of shooting. Without any kind of stabilizer vest, your arms and back will be sore and you’ll be grouchy the next day. Filmmaking does more of a number on the human body than you’d think.
When you don a camera vest stabilizer, the vest acts as a sort of back brace. It redistributes the weight of your camera equipment across your shoulders, back, and hips. With a stronger center of gravity and less dead weight bringing your arms down, you won’t put so much strain on any one part of your body. You’ll be able to shoot more footage every day without getting uncomfortable, and you’ll probably be in a better mood on set.
Shaky camera work is the hallmark of an amateur. That’s all well and good if that’s the effect you want, but why not elevate your movie to a piece of cinema?
Smooth, gliding shots accentuate the rapid movement of your actors. The scene is clearer and tells the story more effectively; after all, you want your audience to know what’s going on. Place more focus on the action with unfussy, invisible camera work. (Add a skateboard to your arsenal of camera equipment, too. Staying on wheels will smooth out the shots even more.)
Once your masterpiece is finished, why not submit it to a film festival or two? Wow your audience with a professional-quality movie and continue to hone your skills. You may inspire other filmmakers in your area to do the same.
Cameras have been getting smaller and smaller over the years. Most DSLR cameras weigh less than 10 pounds and can attach to just about any piece of equipment on the market. They’re customizable, too, with a variety of lenses in different sizes and weights.
Use a smaller lens on your DSLR when you shoot action scenes. That way, you and your stabilizer vest can move more quickly without the extra weight of a large lens. The stabilizer will help you forget how heavy camera equipment can be, because your body is doing the work. No need to pull a dolly around!
We’ve touched on it before, but when you can actually see what the actors are doing, you understand the scene better. It’s a no-brainer, right? Blurry, shaky camera footage can muddy the plot.
When your actors perform their action or fight choreography, they’ll be all over the place—that’s their job. Your job is to capture every move they make with clarity. You and your camera are storytellers! With your stabilizer vest on, walk a full 360 degrees around the scene, or hop on a skateboard and roll right into the middle of it. Only one element of the scene can be in utter chaos; let it be your actors, not your camera.
Stabilizer vest and arm systems are common standbys for shooting big action and fight scenes, but they’re useful for any scene that needs the camera to stand still. You don’t have to step in and out of your vest depending on the scene. Once the big action scene ends, continue to follow your actors as the frenzy winds down. When your camera work blends seamlessly from fast-paced action into slower conversations, your audience will follow your point of view without distraction or disorientation.
DSLR cameras have become the gold standard for affordable, professional-level equipment. Filmmakers and photographers alike rely on this classic. Consequently, a great deal of camera equipment and accessories have also become more accessible to amateurs. A camera stabilizer vest is an essential component of any filmmaker’s arsenal, and they’re easier to get your hands on than ever before.
Stabilizing equipment is easy on your budget—and crucial to your filmmaking career. Whether you make movies as a hobby or are hoping for Hollywood one day, learning to use a stabilizer vest will help you immensely in the future. There’s no reason not to pick up a stabilizer or gimbal vest today—it can only help you further your career!
If your next movie is heavy on action and fight scenes, you’ll need to pick up some camera stabilizing equipment. It’s not optional! You’ll enjoy ease and comfort on set, and your footage will shine with clear, gliding movements. Ban shake and blur from your dailies with a simple vest. Why are DSLR vest stabilizers essential for shooting action? Simple: they’ll help your audience know what’s going on. When you and your camera move in smooth, gliding motions, you’ll tell your story more effectively. Make your camera an extension of your body and avoid excess stress on your arms and shoulders. Stabilizers benefit you, your fellow artists, and your audience, so invest in one today.