Getting Stable Video

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Matt21
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Getting Stable Video

Post by Matt21 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:49 pm

Hi, all! I've been practicing shooting video at airshows all year with my Sony AX-700 camcorder. My video often times is very shaky, even though I have image stabilization on and I'm being mindful of my stance and how I'm holding the camera. So what are some possible solutions? I've tried shooting on a tripod with mixed results. I also don't like how restrictive a tripod can be. Has anyone shot airshow video using a monopod? Would this be a good option to try? Also, what is the best frame rate to use? I usually like to shoot in 24 fps since it provides a nice motion blur in the background and in propellers. Would shooting in 30 fps or even 60 fps make the video appear more stable since there are more frames in the shot? Thanks!
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RyanS
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Post by RyanS » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:17 pm

Matt21 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:49 pm
Hi, all! I've been practicing shooting video at airshows all year with my Sony AX-700 camcorder. My video often times is very shaky, even though I have image stabilization on and I'm being mindful of my stance and how I'm holding the camera. So what are some possible solutions? I've tried shooting on a tripod with mixed results. I also don't like how restrictive a tripod can be. Has anyone shot airshow video using a monopod? Would this be a good option to try? Also, what is the best frame rate to use? I usually like to shoot in 24 fps since it provides a nice motion blur in the background and in propellers. Would shooting in 30 fps or even 60 fps make the video appear more stable since there are more frames in the shot? Thanks!
That's the million dollar question :D

I don't recommend a tripod or monopod. We do all of our video hand held. IS is a must but not all ISs are equal. The IS on my AX-53 (also a Sony) is amazing and a huge reason why I bought it. I'm not sure if yours has the same system.

Unfortunately there isn't one magic answer. Finding a good grip on the camera is important, and focusing on being smooth is about all you can do. Sounds like you're on the right track. When I am filming I focus my whole body on keeping the image smooth and stable. I find being able to predict what the airplane will do next is also helpful. If you know it will pull up to the vertical, you can be ready to move that way. Anticipate instead of reacting.

Frame rate shouldn't have any impact on blur or stability, but 24fps ceetainly looks a bit more strobe-y than higher frame rates. I film at 60fps but lock my shutter speed slow to get the motion blur since that's actually what controls it. That may or may not be an option on your camera.

One tip that you might consider is zooming in less. The wider your shot, the less susceptible to shaking it will be. Finding a balance is important.

Otherwise, all I can advise is practice and focusing everything down to your toes on keeping the panning smooth. It's really tough and that's why so few of us do video!
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Ryan Sundheimer
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Matt21
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Post by Matt21 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:39 pm

Thanks for the help!
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Adam
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Post by Adam » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:22 pm

RyanS wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:17 pm
Matt21 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:49 pm
Hi, all! I've been practicing shooting video at airshows all year with my Sony AX-700 camcorder. My video often times is very shaky, even though I have image stabilization on and I'm being mindful of my stance and how I'm holding the camera. So what are some possible solutions? I've tried shooting on a tripod with mixed results. I also don't like how restrictive a tripod can be. Has anyone shot airshow video using a monopod? Would this be a good option to try? Also, what is the best frame rate to use? I usually like to shoot in 24 fps since it provides a nice motion blur in the background and in propellers. Would shooting in 30 fps or even 60 fps make the video appear more stable since there are more frames in the shot? Thanks!
That's the million dollar question :D

I don't recommend a tripod or monopod. We do all of our video hand held. IS is a must but not all ISs are equal. The IS on my AX-53 (also a Sony) is amazing and a huge reason why I bought it. I'm not sure if yours has the same system.

Unfortunately there isn't one magic answer. Finding a good grip on the camera is important, and focusing on being smooth is about all you can do. Sounds like you're on the right track. When I am filming I focus my whole body on keeping the image smooth and stable. I find being able to predict what the airplane will do next is also helpful. If you know it will pull up to the vertical, you can be ready to move that way. Anticipate instead of reacting.

Frame rate shouldn't have any impact on blur or stability, but 24fps ceetainly looks a bit more strobe-y than higher frame rates. I film at 60fps but lock my shutter speed slow to get the motion blur since that's actually what controls it. That may or may not be an option on your camera.

One tip that you might consider is zooming in less. The wider your shot, the less susceptible to shaking it will be. Finding a balance is important.

Otherwise, all I can advise is practice and focusing everything down to your toes on keeping the panning smooth. It's really tough and that's why so few of us do video!
Like Ryan, I use the AX-53 and chose it because of the amazing stabalisation. I always shoot from a tripod though. Sure, it's a little restrictive, and occasionally I can't keep up with faster aircraft as a result, but I find it near impossible to get any good footage handheld. I guess it's a matter of taste, I personally would never go without a tripod, while Ryan can shoot handheld much better than I can with exactly the same camera.
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Post by RyanS » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:13 am

It's worth mentioning too that Adam and I have different objectives when filming. I try to follow the action the entire time, but he is typically looking for shorter clips to edit together in a more polished format. If he misses a maneuver it's not a big deal, but if I miss one it can ruin the video. Keep that sort of thing in mind when you're picking a setup.
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Adam
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Post by Adam » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:27 am

Yes, Ryan's correct there. Good point.
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Post by Airshow Addict » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:26 pm

Stable video is defiantly one of the hardest things to do. Your not the only one!

I have been shooting airshows for the last 4 years and I have tried a couple different set ups ie. shoulder rig, tripod, handheld. But personally still haven't found the exact solution to the problem while filming aircraft.

I try and shoot with a tripod as much as possible. I find it best for getting rid of the shake but it is harder to follow jets especially when at high speed and if they fly directly over head.I use a Manfortto 502 tripod head and I turn up the panning resistance to almost max and the tilt to about 3/4 of its max stiffness. By doing this I find it helps get rid of the micro shake that occurs when fully zoomed in. This tripod head also allows for almost vertical shooting, making those overhead shots more of a possibility. Another trick when using a tripod is to stand between two of the three legs and if you feel that your camera is secure and wont get bumped try and limit the spread of the legs this will elevate you from tripping over those silly legs.

Not sure what kind of tripod head you were using but if it wasn't a fluid head its definitely not worth using.

When shooting hand held its best to get as many points of contact on the camera as possible. I film with a Sony HXR-NX100 which is a little heavier than your AX-700 which gets tiresome to hold after a while. I try to have my left hand either holding the camera from the underside or near the front between the focus and zoom rings. My right hand will be in the standard holding position but placing my right elbow up against my side/chest. I also always use the view finder as this gives me another contact point. The basic point is to have the camera as close to you body as possible.

I do also own a shoulder rig but its heavy and cumbersome to carry around. Because you need to counterbalance the camera and depending on the weight of your camera it can get really heavy. Since yours is small this might be a good option for you.

I have not tried a monopod yet but I am guessing it wouldn't be much different than if you just kept you tripod legs together.

As far as camera settings I use 60p. Your shutter speed should always be around double your frame rate to get the cinematic motion blur. So at 60p you should have your camera set to 125 shutter speed.

Hope this info helps you and if anyone else has tricks for getting smooth video let us all know! As always practice makes perfect.

Here is the gear I use:
Sony HXR-NX100 Full HD NXCAM - Camcorder
Sennheiser MKE 600 - Shotgun Microphone
Sennheiser MZH 600 - Windshield
VariZoom VZ-STEALTH - Zoom Controller
Manfrotto MVK502AQ 502 - Tripod
Opteka CXS-1- Shoulder Support System
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mistertotoro
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Post by mistertotoro » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:54 pm

RyanS wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:13 am
It's worth mentioning too that Adam and I have different objectives when filming. I try to follow the action the entire time, but he is typically looking for shorter clips to edit together in a more polished format. If he misses a maneuver it's not a big deal, but if I miss one it can ruin the video. Keep that sort of thing in mind when you're picking a setup.
Hi,

If I may ask, how long does the AX53 battery last? Is it enough for 1-2 hrs of recording? I am debating if I should get this as a supplement for video footage since I mainly do photography with an 80D and 100-400 II

Also, how do you do balance both photos and video if you do everything handheld? Or do you only focus on just one per trip depending on the show? I'm thinking I would probably need a tripod for my video camera so the stabilization feature of the AX53 wouldn't be a big selling point, I could just use my M50 on a tripod.

Thanks
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Post by RyanS » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:37 pm

mistertotoro wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:54 pm
RyanS wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:13 am
It's worth mentioning too that Adam and I have different objectives when filming. I try to follow the action the entire time, but he is typically looking for shorter clips to edit together in a more polished format. If he misses a maneuver it's not a big deal, but if I miss one it can ruin the video. Keep that sort of thing in mind when you're picking a setup.
Hi,

If I may ask, how long does the AX53 battery last? Is it enough for 1-2 hrs of recording? I am debating if I should get this as a supplement for video footage since I mainly do photography with an 80D and 100-400 II

Also, how do you do balance both photos and video if you do everything handheld? Or do you only focus on just one per trip depending on the show? I'm thinking I would probably need a tripod for my video camera so the stabilization feature of the AX53 wouldn't be a big selling point, I could just use my M50 on a tripod.

Thanks
Off the top of my head, I want to say that the standard battery lasts about 2 hours and the aftermarket batteries I got last about 3 hours, but it actually may be reversed because the extras were low quality cheap ones. One of them is prone to suddenly dropping to almost empty, so buyer beware on aftermarket stuff I guess. It's always a gamble.

I switch between photos and video pretty fluidly. Depending on the act, music, and how the footage will fit into a video I will decide to film it or take pictures. Music is the biggest factor, because anything in the background will get copyright claimed and potentially a strike against my channel. I have both cameras on me almost all of the time so it's no big deal to pick up one or the other.
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Ryan Sundheimer
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Post by mistertotoro » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:07 am

RyanS wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:37 pm
mistertotoro wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:54 pm
RyanS wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:13 am
It's worth mentioning too that Adam and I have different objectives when filming. I try to follow the action the entire time, but he is typically looking for shorter clips to edit together in a more polished format. If he misses a maneuver it's not a big deal, but if I miss one it can ruin the video. Keep that sort of thing in mind when you're picking a setup.
Hi,

If I may ask, how long does the AX53 battery last? Is it enough for 1-2 hrs of recording? I am debating if I should get this as a supplement for video footage since I mainly do photography with an 80D and 100-400 II

Also, how do you do balance both photos and video if you do everything handheld? Or do you only focus on just one per trip depending on the show? I'm thinking I would probably need a tripod for my video camera so the stabilization feature of the AX53 wouldn't be a big selling point, I could just use my M50 on a tripod.

Thanks
Off the top of my head, I want to say that the standard battery lasts about 2 hours and the aftermarket batteries I got last about 3 hours, but it actually may be reversed because the extras were low quality cheap ones. One of them is prone to suddenly dropping to almost empty, so buyer beware on aftermarket stuff I guess. It's always a gamble.

I switch between photos and video pretty fluidly. Depending on the act, music, and how the footage will fit into a video I will decide to film it or take pictures. Music is the biggest factor, because anything in the background will get copyright claimed and potentially a strike against my channel. I have both cameras on me almost all of the time so it's no big deal to pick up one or the other.
Thank you! Thats good to know
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