17 May 2010

Quick fix for reducing camera shake in your videos

So I've been gradually watching my way through the myriad videos my brother shot of his family's Disney vacation, and oh my god, the camera shake–it's killing me. However, it did get me pondering how to improve his shooting without any additional equipment.

First, know that the more you zoom in without a tripod, the more shake will be apparent even if your camera has image stabilization. So it's better to get close to your subject if you can with a wide lens.

If you are shooting with your camera while looking at a view screen (as most people seem to these days) rather than looking through an eyepiece, here's my simple fix to improve your steadiness:
Adjust your neck strap so you keep tension on it while you're shooting.
It won't make you rock steady, but it will make any movements you do make more fluid. For example, with walking shots, keeping tension on the neck strap will provide a bit of a shock absorption.

To get even better results with this tip, pick an object in frame to use as a framing reference. If you're shooting a person, notice how much space is between the top of her head and the top of the frame and keep it as consistent as you can. If you're walking on a path, notice where the path meets the bottom of the frame and keep that consistent. If you and your subject are still, great, pay attention to the edges of frame. Maybe there's a tree, post, or an edge of a building near the edge: keep it as still as you can. Noticing vertical things will help you stay level as well.

Note you can use the neck strap technique with still cameras as well if you're shooting with a slow shutter speed and there's nothing you can prop your camera or yourself against.

Happy Shooting!

A year ago on TTaT: 20 self portraits from 1996, day 9

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