What Kinds Of Stabilizers Are Property Video Shooters Using?

February 22nd, 2016

GlideCamLast week Robert asked:

I am looking to enter the field of real estate video.  I was wondering what is the cheapest and best 3 axis hand held gimbal you or your readers might recommend – or would a good dolly work for interiors. I shoot primarily with the Canon 5D Mark III and a 16-35mm lens.

When most people starting out shooting real estate video they start out with a slider and a jib. A good 3 axis handheld stabilizer is quite expensive. Here are some stabilizers that readers are using:

As Fred Light recommended on a getting started in video post a while back – There is a lot of expensive gear you need to do video so start out slow and make sure that video is really your thing. You can probably get started without a stabilizer unless you are going to only do walk through video. My sense is that there are a lot of people shooting property videos without stabilizers.

What kind of stabilizers are readers using to shoot property video? Do you even use a stabilizer?

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14 Responses to “What Kinds Of Stabilizers Are Property Video Shooters Using?”

  • I just got into doing video since most of my realtors were asking for it. Now that being said, they like my photos and the style I do, but my video skills are not yet at the same level. I did start with the DJI Ronin M since I did not want to money around with glide cams and other cheaper ones and have to fight with the balance. I use a Nikon D750 with the Nikon 14-24mm lens and with these two they add a weight of around 7 pounds to the DJI Ronin M making it pretty heavy for me. I just do pans and stop since it gets heavy. But I have to admit the DJI Ronin M does work extremely well if you have it balanced well.

    Cindy

  • I use the ronin m too. There is definetly a learning curve to it. But there are so many YouTube videos to help you refine your technique. You probably could get away with an osmo as a cheap entry level solution. Beware of rolling shutter during the pan as this will make pretty awful video. Shoot at f11 and focus at or around 5 ft and everything will be reasonable sharp. Set your camera sharpness settings so that u can add sharpness back in protune. Learn how to expose to the right for log footage as you can really pop the footage when color grading. Hope that helps

  • While I am still in the video learning stages, I recently upgraded my Flycam Nano to a Ronin M. Amazing difference. Both have a learning curve, and on the Flycam progressed from ‘drunken sailor in port on payday’ to ‘mildly intoxicated’ wobble in the footage but still at the extreme level for stabilization in post. Much better with the Ronin-m, and as I discovered when wouldn’t balance (motors screeching, etc), better than the 5 axis native stabilization of a handheld Sony. Part of the learning is how to walk, and many times I kick my shoes off, walking in socks, eliminating bouncing steps. With the Ronin, make sure have the latest firmware updates as that seems to have resolved my earlier issues. Haven’t done full independent video yet, but planning when return from 4 weeks in Europe early April. Learning has been processing 3-4 clip timeline for a video to insert as a component in a Tourbuzz tour.

    Last weekend made a case. About the least expensive I found was a Pelican with foam for $135 at B&H, and Ronin-m specific $250+, all of which require a full takedown/assembly. I got a $20 DeWalt case from Home Depot (should have gotten the 1″ wider $15 Stanley from Lowes) and high density foam from JoAnn fabrics ($15 with 50% coupon) – per their advice, cut with an electric knife. Was able to support assembly in 3 pieces – fully assembled handle, stabilizing unit, stand, and small slats for the battery, mounting plate, and tool bag with some room left over. Remote controller wouldn’t fit, but I work solo anyway. Also, controller unit wouldn’t lay flat so had to mold foam for vertical placement – and precise avoiding the reinforcement slats so lid would close. Used 1″ foam (from cut 2″ foam) on bottom and three 2″ foam layers which were cut to accommodate. Looks OK with green foam, but if wanted to look more professional could spray glue some nice fabric in, and cover over DeWalt with a company logo sticker.

    Biggest issue now is color as shooting in Slog-2 is notably flat. Experimenting with Davinci Resolve (free version) which is amazing when using a color chart in the footage. Need to perfect roundtripping and editing out that portion of the footage as both FCPX and Premier Pro don’t do it natively. Trying with their color adjustment, white balance, grading tools is a pain and time consuming.

  • I get by nicely with a slider and good tripod with fluid head.

  • Hi Robert,

    If you want to stick to the Canon setup then the Ronin M will work great. The only drawback of that setup is being rather heavy.
    I use the Sony A7s and the Panasonic GH4 cameras for real estate videos and for those the best gimbal I could find was the Came-TV mini2 gimbal. It is about half the size of the ronin M and makes the whole setup about half the weight with mean a lot for me during work. The gimbal also comes with a very light carrying case and balancing stand and totally tool-less. I also have the Ronin-M as a backup but my go to gimbal is the Came-TV Mini2.

  • For my first gimble, I bought the-the cheapest unit I could find (that I did not have to assemble myself) the CAME-7500. While it did work well, it was frustratingly difficult to keep balanced. Plus its exposed wiring and connections eventually lead to its un-timely death. I replaced it with the Ronin-M which is amazingly easy to balance and use. The build quality is amazing and the wireless app to change settings is really helpful. It also comes with a remote control. You can hang the Ronin on a light stand and use the remote for effortless pans (put it up on a 12′ stand and you can craft some head-scratchingly cool shots).

    The interesting thing though is as my video skills progress I use the gimble less and less. You can make a stunning video with just slow pans, hand held close ups and good editing.

  • I use a DJI Ronin which has been pimped up with longer arms to take my Sony Fs7. I initially used a Sony A7s on it which was fine itself but the picture quality jarred a little with the rest of the 4K set up of the Fs7. It was much lighter though. The extended Ronin plus Fs7 is a beast! So much so that if it’s needed for a whole day shooting, we will tend to hire in an Easyrig system (with Serene Arm for vertical dampening.) to save my / my assistant’s backs!

    Overall though I find the Ronin to be a fantastic piece of kit. Set up time at a genuine 5 mins means there’s none of that ‘I can’t be bothered’ which sometimes happens if kit is too complicated. When I first used it though there was a lot of shoot-and-hope, which tended to yield good results eventually but now we try to plan out the shots more. I also have a better idea of which bits we are likely to use. for RE work, I particularly like small jib-style moves up say a staircase and POV pushes through doorways.

    Before the Ronin, my main source of camera movement was a Wally Dolly track system, which perhaps surprisingly, we still use a lot. I love the long (12 foot track) and really exact / smooth moves that come from a track / dolly. Moves on the Ronin tend to be a bit more freeform.

    Finally, I agree with Jeff above re the worth of regular pans, close-ups etc and of course good editing. I would add to this by championing the static wide shot in video. Sometimes I think you just have to look at the room for a moment to get your head round how it’s put together. Then you can swoop off with another fancy Ronin shot!

  • You get what you pay for. If you’re going to buy a slider or stabilizer or jib, don’t buy a cheap one. They will be harder to work with and won’t give you the same results.

  • I use the Ronin-M, but it stays in the car (or at home) a lot. I’d say that I only use it 20% of the time and use a slider the rest.

    I do really enjoy the Ronin, but don’t really use it unless the house has some creative shots that you can’t really get with the slider. I did make a commitment last fall to try to get stronger so I could carry it around more, and I have noticed this year that it really helped.

    Shooting Canon 5dMkIII.

  • We have a Glidecam, which is a very powerful piece of kit. It is also impossible to get balanced. It takes a very special person to operate this beast. For a lot less money I would suggest to anyone doing video to buy a nice fluid head tripod and a slider. With some great composition and some smooth camera moves you can blow people away. An inexperienced operator with a handheld stabilizer is going to make the viewer nauseous.

  • Merlin Steadicam. bought it 4 yrs ago. have shot hundreds of walkthrough video tours with it. definite learning curve and difficult to control with any wind. But with mercalli stabilization software, it looks great. will upgrade to something that have active stabilization in stead of only counter balance

  • Hi,

    I too am just getting into video form doing stills and panos. I have tried 3 or 4 different cameras, and then settled on a panasonic v770 video camera, which is great in low light. I just purchased a comodo orbit stabilizer, and at 400.00 was a great buy, and works great. Only thing it is for single shot video (doing a walkthrough) as you use 2 hands and cannot control the camera. I also have a slider and tripod with a fluid head. Will do a walkthrough then use the tripod for zoom ins etc.
    Len

  • Movi M5 + sony a7s + FE 16-35 lens
    Rhino Evo carbon fiber motorized slider
    Manfrotto MPRO 535 tripod
    Fluid Head

    I have been slowly progressing to the above setup for some time. I started doing video with a cheap slider and a sony camcorder. I spent a lot of money on inferior equipment until I got to this setup. If you have the money set aside, I would highly recommend the above.

    I would not mess with SLOG for RE videos in my opinion. It takes a lot of skill and time to grade properly. I use natural creative profile indoors, and PP5 cine4 outdoors. Looks good right out of camera. I also use a high quality polarizer outdoors and always set white balance manually.

    Hope this helps!

  • In my opinion I don’t think there is no right or wrong way but you need to work out what style of video you want to create for your market and also nothing wrong with introducing various styles. I agree you can’t comprise on quality equipment and spending right the first time, however, I would first learn the art of shooting off a tripod doing static shots, pans and tilts including cu, mid and wide shots etc! At the end of day motion is about storytelling no matter how great or small or the subject matter IMO.

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