SHOOTING STEADY EDDIE
h2. Use of DJI Osmo gimbal using the Zenmuse X5 camera
A gimbal mount for a video camera allows the operator to achieve smooth, fully stabilised, dynamic and continuously moving shots where the camera seems to float through air similar to shots from ‘stedicam’ footage used on high budget movies.
Gimbals have been around for some considerable time but have been developed, more recently, for use on drones giving the ability to shoot stabilised aerial views and produce crane shots without going to the expense of hiring a specialist helicopter or a long arm jib.
Apart from the engineering of the gimbal mount the other consideration is the quality of the camera itself and here DJI have succeeded in producing a 4K resolution camera using the four thirds Sony Exmor R CMOS image sensor capable of recording 4K (3840×2160) at up to 30 fps, 2.7K (2704×1520) at up to 30 fps, and Full HD (1920×1080) at up to 60 fps in MP4/MOV format stored onto a Class 10 micro SD card.
There is also a version (Zenmuse X5R) which shoots in RAW but this needs an additional SSD on which to store its footage. The X5 has the advantage of also allowing interchangeable lenses to be used. Currently, there are three prime lenses compatible with the Zenmuse X5.
The gimbal itself has been the business end of the very successful Ronin (and Ronin M) camera mount but these are heavy and cumbersome to use in the field, take some time to calibrate and can’t be used for extended shots without the cameraman taking a rest break; although there are body harnesses which can be worn to help to take the weight off the arms.
The Osmo, however, provides a 3-axis stabiliser which is designed to be operated in one hand and it’s light enough to allow the cameraman to shoot for long periods without having to spend 3 weeks in the gym developing his (or her) biceps.
For under £500 you can buy the Osmo complete with the X3 camera but we would suggest the better option is the Osmo and X5 combination (just under £2,000) which offers better sensitivity in low light, although for some reason doesn’t seem to have the capability of shooting 360 degree images and timelapse movies that the small and cheaper X3 enjoys.
The camera and Osmo gimbal is controlled from a smartphone which also acts as a monitor attached to the handgrip and uses the DJI Go application which can be downloaded free of charge. There is a latency of about 5 frames which is tolerable. There are lots of add-on goodies too which can be purchased such as a ‘follow focus’ controller and limpet car mount for vehicle tracking shots.
I’ve been informed by head of purchasing that if we receive enough ‘likes’ for this article we can purchase one early 2017… so please share and like!