Should I buy a hand-held gimbal or a slider for shooting real estate video? Thats a question I have been asked more than once in the last couple of months.
My answer…..it depends.
Thats a terrible answer I know but it really does depend upon the style and type of videos you are shooting and to some degree your level of video shooting experience.
I’ll go more into the pro’s and con’s of each below but first here is an example of a recent video I did and I used both a hand-held gimbal and a slider;
(Shooting specs: Panasonic GH5, Panasonic Leica 8-18 lens, Kamerar Pan-100 slider,see my full gear page here)
I actually quite like using both a slider and a gimbal in this style of video and the shooting options it gives you. However I realise not everyone has that luxury or will have budget limitations and only wish to purchase one or the other.
Here’s what I think the pro’s and con’s of each are that I have found from using both;
- Will give a very smooth and formal feel to your shot
- Can introduce movement to your shot but still retain a nice slow pace
- Generally pretty easy to operate
- I find sliders easier to shoot and isolate objects either in the foreground or with a zoomed in lens than with a gimbal.
- Relatively inexpensive as long as you already have a tripod that can handle your slider
- Your range of movement is limited to the length of your slider
- Your movement options are more limited than a gimbal
- Can be bulky or cumbersome to use
- You will need a strong tripod to handle the weight of the slider and camera
- Opens up virtually unlimited movement options for your shots
- Can introduce pace or speed to your shots or edit
- A more modern feel or look to your edits
- Generally small and compact and getting easier to operate
- Getting cheaper and better with increasing competition
- Can be a little fiddly to setup and you have to be mindful of the gimbals maximum payload it can handle
- Bobbing or the up and down movement when walking with the gimbal can be hard to eliminate, especially with foreground objects close to the camera
- It can be tricky accessing your camera controls and lcd monitor when using on a gimbal
- Can be tricky to hold shallow depth of field shots or focus critical shots on a gimbal
Here’s an example of a slider only shot video;
(Shooting specs: Panasonic GH5, 8-18 lens, Syrp Magic Carpet slider, see my full gear page here)
And here’s an example of a video shot only using a handheld gimbal;
(Shooting specs: Panasonic GH5, 8-18 lens, Moza Air Gimbal, see my full gear page here)
So if I was to only recommend one option between using the slider or a handheld gimbal to someone which would it be?
I would say start with a slider, its generally cheaper, easier to use and will teach you the basics of shot composition and movement.
I pack both now when heading off for a real estate video shoot and are using the gimbal more and more as I develop my shooting skills with it. I’m enjoying the challenge of figuring out what shots work and what don’t when using the gimbal and getting my skills to the same level as shooting on a slider where I can almost shoot on auto pilot!
That’s my opinion, let me know in the comments below what you think?
I have been subscribed to your channel for quite some time know and really enjoy your insight and work. I have only shot about 10 home videos thus far and have a GH4 but I struggle with getting my video to look anything close to yours as it pertains to color and contrast. Your seem so crisp and sharp and mine seem a bit, well, dull and flat. Can you share your camera settings and tell me if I can expect the same results with the GH4 as I know you shoot with the GH5.
Hi Houston – I’ve seen some great results out of the GH4 and I’m sure you can get it to pretty closely match the GH5. With regards to my GH5 settings I generally always shoot in a standard Pal frame rate of 25fps which would be 30fps in NTSC countries like Nth America. I run the camera in full manual shutter, aperture and white balance and iso. My white balance is usually a daylight setting of 5600k for everything and as a low a iso as I can which is often around iso400 for interiors. I use the Cine-D picture profile and have slightly modified it with contrast -2, Sharpness -1, Noise reduction -1, saturation -2, and Hue unchanged. Apart from that its generally a little saturation added in FCPX and outputted at a 1080p HD format. Hope thats some help. Cheers
Grant- I geared up for home videos, but now the task of packing it up, transporting, setting up, breaking down, setting up in another room, angle, etc., is incredibly daunting (by myself). SO: Do you have assistants? How do you make all this doable and without having to charge a small fortune for all the hard work? 🙀
Hi – I do it all myself and don’t find it too bad. If I’m shooting on the slider I will generally leave the camera attached to the slider and tripod to shift from one room to another and just leave my camera bag somewhere handy with lenses and batteries. Another perhaps easier method would be just using a hand-held gimbal and camera to minimise your gear when shooting? Cheers
I agree with Huston above. Your work is so crisp and clean, each clip so consistent in look and feel. Thank you for this. I learn just from watching your videos.
I am using my P4Pro and my new Sony A-6500 which is small, light and an amazing camera, at least amazing after a month or so of trying to both learn and remember the settings, the interface, which is so very different than my Canons have been. I am a slow learner. But I am using my GoPro on its 3-axis gimbal to get those other types of shots that the slider does not let me get. The GoPro does not do well in low light so I don’t use it anymore for interiors, but for the exteriors, pools, gardens, water works and fountains and all those places its hard to get a slider into, I love it. But while the results for a small camera are amazing, I am really just trying out methodology to see how I can use both the slider and the gimbal in my coverages which, I have to say, will never be anything like those of Grant whose productions I drool over. I think if I had to pick between the two, with the prices as they are today and the technology improving so fast and my new light Sony, I would go for the gimbal over the slider. Less cumbersome. But since I have a slider that I love, I think a marriage will be in its future.
I forgot a question about your settings when you answered Huston. You listed everything but the f-stop. How far open will you go? I have been trying to keep my f-stop close to the middle of its range since I am using a fixed focal length lens and I learned a very long time ago that the sharpest is right in the middle. But with today’s computer designed lenses I am not at all sure if the old rule of thumb still applies and when I use that for interiors (which for my camera/lens is f-8) I have to really jack up the ISO which results in a not very crisp image. I just did a test opening it up as far as f-2.8 for an f-2 lens and the ability to lower my ISO down to about 200 in my room test made a huge difference in the sharpness of the image. A little sharpening in post really crisped it up a lot more.
So do you open up all or most of the way when you shoot to keep the ISO, as you said, as low as possible.?
Hey Peter – I always try and keep my ISO as low as possible but when things get dim you have to start making some choices as I’m sure you’ve experienced! I’m quite happy to run my lens aperture to f4 and try not to go over iso640 on both my GH5 and 80D. As you said in your comment I think most lenses sweet spots are around the f5.6-f8 and thats based more on history and gut feel than any hard science! If I end up in a one bulb dimly lit bathroom and have to push to f2.8 and iso 800 or 1500 then I will to get the shot but fortunately that doesn’t happen very often. And if I do have to use f2.8 I always check and re-check focus as it becomes critical. Cheers
Thanks for that Grant. Day before yesterday I was doing more tests on my new combo of the Sony A-6500 with the 12mm Rokinon lens (fixed focal length and entirely manual). I wanted to see why at F:8 I was getting such soft visuals as opposed to the crystal sharp images when outside in the sun. I had been told that even at 800 ISO the images would be sharp. So I decided to test the difference between the F:8 at ISO 1600 I was having to shoot at in my living room as opposed to F:5.6 or F:4 or even F:2.8 (Rokinon is an F:2) would look as the lens opened up and the ISO dropped. I was happily surprised to note that even at F:2.8 the depth of field was pretty good, although I was not testing for that, but the sharpness greatly increased as the ISO 200 I was getting at F:2.8. I needed to open up the exposure a tad in Post but the Sony has remarkable detail in the shadows although the highlights burn out very quickly.
Which I why as I asked you this question since your videos are, as noted before, sharp as a tack and have such a beautiful consistency of contrast from one scene that may be well lit to bathrooms with the blinds closed or no windows at all. I am having trouble with getting a good exposure in rooms, especially bathrooms where the available lighting is the only lighting and when included in the shot, like over a sink unit, tends to burn out when the room is properly exposed.