Steadicam or Gimbal?
First of all, some people think that the Brushless Gimbals are replacing the traditional Steadicam. In my opinion, the Gimbal is just another tool for another purpose.
+ Does not requires as much experience as operating Steadicam
+ Material costs/rental price
+ Operators can pass on the gimbal to another operator (e.g. shots trough window frames… are possible/easier to do)
+ Shots with large boomranges are much easier to do
- Leads often to “clichés Gimbal shots” (e.g. start at feet level and boom up to chest level)
- Flies only light cameras (biggest Freefly Movi: M15 à max. 6,8 kg)
o No/very few accessories
o Not every production can afford a second camera
- Needs, for ideal framing, 2 operators, which costs the production more (1-man operating: operator can not react as fast to an actors movements, pan/tilt have to be anticipated)
- Camera height most of the time the chest height of the operator à eye level complicated
- Gets heavy really fast, because it is handheld (solution: Easy Rig or Steadicam vest and arm àisn’t much cheaper than to get a steadicam and losing the freedom in positioning the camera anywhere…)
- Preceding the actor… à complicated with the Gimbal when in fast pace.
- Sideways tracking shot complicated à operator has to walk sideways
- Everything is electronically controlled à bigger issue when electrical failure, setup involves software
+ Flies small and large cameras
+ Operator is often more precise in moving and framing the camera
+ Only needs one operator, so cheaper in man power costs
+ Camera at eye level much easier to do
+ Weight distributed on the whole body and not only to the arms
+ Preceding the actor at fast pace is easier à Operator moves forward, with the camera pointing backward
+ The principle of steadicam is based on physical laws, so a failure in the electronic does not mean a complete failure of the system
- Material costs/rental is more expensive
- Requires a lot of training and experience à DP or Camera Operator can not operate themselfs
- Shots like passing through window frames… are not possible with the steadicam. Passing on the steadicam to another operator is possible with a buddycam, but more complicated than with a Gimbal
As seen, there are some purposes, in which it would be better to use a Gimbal but for most uses, the steadicam is still the better solution.
In professional shoots, the use of a Gimbal is often not really cheaper because:
· For precise framing the production has to pay 2 operators (one moving the camera through space, the seconds framing correctly with a remote control)
· The production needs a second camera for the Gimbal shots.
· To be able to hold the Gimbal for long shots, you have to use an Easy Rig or steadicam arm and vest (the arm is the most expensive part of the steadicam).
All in all: DIFFERENT TOOL FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSE