When you’re working on a video, having the best equipment matters. When choosing between Steadicam and Gimbal, it can seem like these two products are head-to-head rivals that both try to do the same thing. You need to know which one is better for you and why. In this blog, we will review each product to help you make the decision on which one is best for your needs.
Steadicam vs Gimbal
Steadicam was invented in 1975. It is a mechanical solution to stabilize the camera. This solution has been in use for 47 years.
Steadicam is a well-known and widely used camera that is specifically made for cinema production cameras. The Steadicam first appeared in the film industry around 1970. With the passing of time, they became more popular among videographers. Many people believe that the Steadicam has lost its importance after the introduction of the Gimbal tool. However, this is false. Many videographers, photographers, and production companies still prefer these steady cams to the gimbals.
Stabilizers are similar to manual machines. They do not contain any gyros or motors, but they use simple physics. This allows you to achieve great results with video recordings that have stabilized results.
The Function of the Steadicam
Although the Steadicam is simple to use and very easy to use, they have limited features and controls. These tools require the most physical input from their users. The results they produce are comparable to the Gimbal but require more energy.
There may be compatibility issues with your camera as you might not have the right Steadicam for every camera. This doesn’t mean you can’t use it for your camera. In these situations, you will need to adjust your stabilizer manually.
They are designed to work with professional cameras, as well as those used for videography and professional photography. These tools can be used for cameras that are very heavy and bulky. Some stabilizers can be used with lightweight cameras, but you will need to adjust your camera to use them.
You can purchase a variety of accessories to go with your Steadicam to make important adjustments. These accessories are very heavy, and you will need to exert extra effort to manage them. It will not be all on your arms and hands, but it will spread all over.
Steadicam stabilizers are not easy to attach to your camera. Because you can’t set them up correctly the first time, it is best to practice. This device does not have software, and you must operate it manually. The motors and batteries are not used, so there is no risk of the battery dying or requiring excessive maintenance.
Steadicam’s vertical translations are another thing you need to be aware of. These stabilizers can make it difficult to maintain balance with heavy cameras.
Gimbal, which is not Steadicam, is an electronic solution that allows you to make the most of your footage. The technology was first used in helicopter mounts and crane arms but first got used as a mobile camera stabilizer by Movi in 2013
You can find them for almost all types of cameras, which is why they are so popular. Gimbals are available that work well with both your smartphone and camera. It is easy to adjust your smartphone’s settings. Gimbals offer many options. Gimbals can improve the quality of your videography. Gimbal can stop your videos from vibrating or shaking.
You will see smoother results due to the motors in the rings.
The Gimbal stabilizers can be used with cameras that use a special mechanism called pivot axis. It allows for smooth, bump-free images and video recordings.
Technicalities of the Gimbals:
Gimbals can’t be used in the same way as Steadicam. They have a motor that controls stabilization. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to balance it. You will still need to balance them in order to achieve perfect videography, but it is much easier than fixing the Steadicam.
You will need to charge the motors with Gimbals every day. This is why you need a battery. This device requires more maintenance due to the battery and charging issues. You just need to have the charger with your every day. This is much easier than the Steadicam because you don’t need to have a lot of experience and years of practice to use them.
You can check our article on the best Gimbal for iPhone and DSLR and to learn more and buy it:
Offer A Wide Range Of Options
We mentioned earlier that gimbals can be used with a variety of cameras and are commonly used by professionals in film production. This is the best option for both smartphone and camera users in order to achieve the desired results.
They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending on how compatible they are with the shooters. These tools are very popular in drone cameras to ensure a flawless shoot.
Gimbals can be purchased at very affordable prices, so you don’t need extra equipment. Gimbals can be more difficult to handle if your camera is heavier than the Steadicam. All weight will fall on your hands.
Video Camera Stabilizers vs Gimbal
A 3-axis electronic stabilizer like the DJI Ronin and the Freefly Movi can also have issues. For example, it is difficult to pave while turning fast to maintain the frame center accurately. This is something that any operator with a Video camera stabilizer can do with their hands using any mechanical wearable stabilizer.
Finally, the weight of mounting a digital camera to a 3-axis electronic stabilizer like the DJI Ronin and the Freefly Movi must be taken into consideration.
A heavy-weight cinema camera mounted on a video camera stabilizer is evenly distributed throughout the operator’s body. The whole weight is attached to a comfortable vest that reduces fatigue and allows you to carry more weight for longer periods than any three-axis gimbal where all of your weight is on your arms.
The DJI Ronin and the Freeflymovi 3 axes Gimbals are lighter, but the hole pressure is entirely on the operators’ shoulders, making it impractical to use the 3 Axis gimbal system.
It can be difficult to move around with a digital cinema camera like a Red Epic, an Alexa Mini, or mounted on a 3 Axis gimbal like the DJI Ronin or the Freefly Movi for longer than a few minutes.
Both the camera stabilizers, the electronic three axes Gimbal and the mechanical Video camera stabilizer, require a lot of practice and coordination in order to master them both.
This is why professional Video camera stabilizer operators are well-paid.
The 2 and 3 Axis Gimbals
Gimbals are similar to the Steadicam in that they do not just focus on the hardware but also on how you control the motor’s movement. These tools are great because they come with reliable joysticks and remote controls that make them easier to use.
These gimbals were initially introduced with controls for two axes. Later, it was added with three axes control to improve efficiency.
Gimbals, however, aren’t as good for vertical translation as the Steadicam.
Enter the Gimbal
Movi first made Gimbal popular in 2013. It is an electronic solution. This technology was first used in crane arms and helicopter mounts years ago. A handheld gimbal was only possible after digital cinema cameras below 10 pounds were developed. Camera gimbals work by measuring the camera’s position hundreds upon hundreds of times per second. When it detects movement, motors are engaged to move in the opposite direction.
Brushless gimbals, like many gears that depend on computers, have many points of failure but also have an easy improvement curve. Every year, gimbals become lighter, stronger, and more capable, while the Steadicam remains basically unchanged four decades later. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each?
Gimbals are easier to use, cheaper to set up, and more efficient. It’s quicker and easier than you might think, but not easy and quick. There is still a learning curve. You will need to practice and take time to get proficient, especially if you have a heavier camera. You can expect to spend $6,500 on a Movi Pro or Ronin 2. Other accessories such as batteries and mounts may be required, but the overall cost will likely not exceed $8,000. You can rent a Steadicam operator for as low as $1,000/day, or you can buy a complete Steadicam set up for $45,000.
One thing a Steadicam compensates for that a gimbal does not is the up-and-down movement of walking. When walking with a gimbal, you must bend your knees and perform what is known as the “duck walk” — a shuffle that limits vertical bobbing. This restricts how rapidly you can move while keeping the action smooth.
Right Tool For The Job
Although it is more expensive and takes longer to set up, the Steadicam has more advantages than the Gimbal. The operator can perform more shots per taking because the Steadicam doesn’t rely on their arms. The famous Steadicam takes only minutes and can be done by a skilled operator without requiring a break.
Steadicam is mechanical and doesn’t require batteries. It also doesn’t have any electronic issues like firmware updates. Many times, gimbal shoots ended in tears because the software on the Gimbal crashed and couldn’t be restarted.
Gimbals Are Very Popular
- Gimbals have become very popular over the years and are now a preferred choice for perfect and stable video production. This is a different type of Steadicam, which will make it feel more convenient, but it also has many maintenance problems.
- Your Steadicam or Gimbal’s performance will not only depend on its equipment but also on the operator’s abilities and potential. Different operators use different techniques and ways to work with cameras. This is why professional help is required to achieve the best results and meet your goals.
Which One Should You Choose As A Beginner?
- It will be difficult for beginners to manage these balances. We recommend that you start with a basic gimbal to practice your skills. Keep in mind, however, that the outcome of your decision will also depend on your choices. So don’t take our word for it as absolute. You can learn how to use Steadicam by first practicing with the auto stabilizer, then moving on to the manual. This will help you to understand the tool.
- Both tools work well and can be used in a variety of ways to help you achieve professional results.
Benefits of Using the Gimbals
Gimbals have many benefits. These are the ones we will be discussing:
- They are reliable and flexible, especially when used to shoot high-altitude scenes. This system can be used on horseback, on bicycles and with rollerblades.
- Gimbal management doesn’t require a lot practice and experience.
- They are available at different prices, including expensive, affordable and cheap. You can choose the price that suits your needs and budget.
- Easy to use and user-friendly
Benefits of Using the Steadicam
- They allow for more precise settings
- Ideal for vertical translation and vertical angles
- Steadicam can be controlled and operated by one person.
- It’s a very robust technology. Your Steadicam’s electronics will not fail at any stage of shooting. You can continue your videography without interruption.
- You are ready to go faster. It will only take a few seconds for an experienced operator to balance this tool.
- This is suitable for large and heavy-weight cameras
- They are still used by most production companies for video creation.
Which One Is Better?
- While the Steadicam has been used by professional filmmakers and videographers for many years, the gimbals on the market are relatively new. Although both tools have their own unique functions, it can be difficult to decide which one you prefer. However, you can still choose one of the two by considering your specific needs. Both tools come in a variety of versions, but they are all used for stabilization.
- The Steadicam is suitable for manual use. For automatic use, the Gimbal can be purchased. Both can serve the same purpose but have different functions and features.
Both gimbals and Steadicam are great for making amazing videos and still images. Each has its own function and features, which depend on the operator. You should consider your individual requirements before making a decision about which one to choose. Start with the easiest stabilized and work your way up.
We hope Gimbal vs. stabilizer/Steadicam will be helpful for you. Thank you for reading!