Film School Friday – Handheld, steadicam, or gimbal?

Handheld, steadicam, or gimbal? Episode Summary

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about the differences between handheld, Steadicam, and gimbal movements and why you might choose one over the other.

Handheld, steadicam, or gimbal? Episode Notes

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about the differences between handheld, Steadicam, and gimbal movements and why you might choose one over the other.

Handheld, steadicam, or gimbal? Links

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Handheld, steadicam, or gimbal? Transcript

Corey Allen  0:11  

Welcome to film school Friday. I’m Corey.

Bill Cornelius  0:14  

I’m Bill.

Corey Allen  0:15  

And together we host the focus podcast film school Friday is our special weekly episode where I get to quiz bill to see how much knowledge he’s retained from film school this week. We’re talking about camera movements, but very specifically, Bill. I would love your thoughts on the differences between handheld steady cam and a gimbal.Yes, please educate me.

Bill Cornelius  0:39  

There’s, for me, the best way to break it down is handheld and steady cam. have more of a human element. Whereas gimbal is a lot of machine. The gear the gimbal. Like for example, the ronin the DJ a DJ, I Ronin DGI. I don’t know what that is. But the the ronin, for example, yes, you’re holding the gimbal. But the gimbal itself is doing all the work to keep the camera steady. So it gives you that very controlled very floaty, very programmed feel, when it comes to steady cam. When it comes to handheld work. That’s your body, your body is motivating a lot of the movement with the camera.

There’s no algorithm or processing power. That’s artificial, that’s going into either one of those. Yeah. So you tend to get a more organic feel and a more natural feel. And quite honestly a little bit more room to be I guess interesting. I know a lot of gimble people have a problem with me saying that but hey, look, that’s that’s my preferred method of shooting is handheld and steady game and things of that nature. I think gimbal has its place. It’s certainly very important in situations where it is a more controlled, smoother situation that you need. If you’re shooting action. If you’re shooting anything like that. I would go with steady cam or handheld for sure. Just because of that organic feel. Yeah, yeah. Human versus machine. That’s what we’re that’s really what it comes down to.

Corey Allen  2:19  

Yeah. And I think back to even some shoots, we’ve been on together where, like the ronin, you know, we could not have pulled off some of like the motorcycle chase shots that we’ve gotten in the past like vehicle mounting. Right? Like, I feel like that is where the algorithm is definitely in your favor and gives you much control and allows you to pull off shots like that versus to your point where you want to translate a more natural organic feel into maybe their music performances. Maybe it’s a fight scene things where the camera needs to be more dynamic. And you want some of that kind of craziness transferred from the scene through the camera, right?

Bill Cornelius  2:59  

Yeah. Like the vehicle mounts stuff that you mentioned, definitely when it comes to gimbal. Because I go ahead and brag on myself all day about how steady I can hold things with, with my own body. But when you’re I’m not going to be on the back of a pickup truck doing a shoulder mount rig and keeping it steady on a on a motorcycle or car or what what have you. The gimbal is going to be better in that situation.

Corey Allen  3:26  

Yeah, that’s how you show up on shitty rigs.

Bill Cornelius  3:29  

Yeah, exactly. Which, honestly, I’ve done stuff like that I definitely might have written on the front of a speedboat with a camera strapped to my arm in the past,

Corey Allen  3:40  

sitting in the trunk of a car handheld, tied with a done that

Bill Cornelius  3:45  

a strap around your waist. In lieu of a dolly or a gimbal. As mentioned, hashtag shitty rigs. Yes.

Corey Allen  3:52  

All right. So that’s great. And I feel a little bit more educated around the differences between the three sounds like your preferred method is definitely handheld or steady for sure, though,

Bill Cornelius  4:03  

if possible. Yeah. Except for those cases, like we mentioned, like car mounts. Yeah, stuff where the human body just isn’t equipped to control.

Corey Allen  4:12  

Yeah. makes total sense. Cool. Awesome. Bill. Once again, I think you passed. Yes. Great job. Still coming up on that midterm. Hope you’re still staying fresh.

Bill Cornelius  4:24  

Yeah, I’m trying I’m gonna study probably two in the morning the night before.

Corey Allen  4:29  

But gotta cram. My daughter tells me cramming actually doesn’t help but my experiences says otherwise,

Bill Cornelius  4:36  


Corey Allen  4:37  

I film school experience. Nice. Awesome. All right. Thanks, Bill. Check us out on Instagram at infocus pod or online at and if you liked what you heard today, go ahead and subscribe. And if you’re on Apple podcast, please leave us a rating it would help us out a ton and until next time. Feed your film crew,

Bill Cornelius  5:01  


Corey Allen  5:03  

Bill stays hungry.