You may know that Steadicams and Glidecams can help you get smooth shots, but do you know how they do it? Flying camera stabilizers are not hovercrafts — they’re a type of equipment that can help you achieve shake-free moving shots in places where a dolly isn’t practical. Let’s dig in a bit and explore where these useful devices came from and how they’re used.
It’s easy to imagine the types of cool shots you can achieve with a flying camera stabilizer, but describing the mechanics behind it is trickier. So let’s start off with some visuals:
A three-part stabilizer made up of vest, arm, and sled.
This setup isolates the camera from your body while still enabling you to control it. The vest picks up your movements and directs them along the arm to the sled, where the camera is mounted and counterbalanced.
The key to smoothness and control is finding the camera’s center of gravity, the point where its weight is perfectly balanced. The closer you come to holding the camera by this point, the more stable it will be and the more control you’ll have. Unfortunately, a camera’s center of gravity is inside the camera itself! The solution is to mount the camera to a counterbalance that will spread out the weight and migrate the center of gravity. You can do this by mounting the counterbalance on top of a sled pole via a sleigh.
Sevenoak SK-SW PRO2 Handheld Carbon Fiber Video Stabilization System for DSLR Cameras and Camcorders
High Density Carbon Fiber Construction Supports up to 6.6 LBS (3kg)
Length Adjustable from 17.7-28.5" (45-72.5cm)
Polished Chrome Counterweights
Pairs with the Movo VMA300 Vest & Dual Articulating Arm (sold separately)
SevenOak SK-SW Pro 1 Pro Handheld Camera Stabilization System;
SK-SW Pro 2 is a lightweight hand-held camera stabilization system for cameras and video cameras weighing up to approx. 3 kg. This stabilizer guarantees incredibly smooth and graceful shots even when you are running or going up and down stairs. It provides professional pictures or videos for professional video and film makers. It features carbon fiber and Aluminum construction; quick release camera platform; back and forth, side to side, up and down fine adjustment, height adjustable hand grip etc. The back and forth, side to side moving camera platform allows for a quick adjustment of horizontal balance while the disks on the base platform adjust the camera's vertical balance. When properly balanced, the camera floats, and the stabilizer is ready to use. SK-SW Pro 2 can be extended from 45cm to 72.5 cm to fit the weight of the camera. This system is especially good for professional video cameras and video capable DSLR cameras.
Can be used for high and low angle shooting
High precision bearings and low friction joints
With quick release camera platform
Made of superstring and light weight carbon fiber
Hand grip position adjustable
Now, we can grip the sled pole near the new center of gravity and move it around without tipping the camera. The camera doesn’t tip because the pull of gravity on the sled pole is equal in all directions. To maintain the equilibrium we just created, we attach the handle using a specialized joint called a gimbal. The gimbal allows the sled to pivot freely along three axes, which helps separate the movement of the cameraman from the camera. This way, the camera can remain steady and balanced even if its operator is jostling the handle.