I bought my first and only camera the summer before I started high school, in July 2016. Since then, I have taken every opportunity I am given to expand my knowledge on photography, learning different techniques and coming up with various ideas. Although a seriously expensive hobby, being able to capture moments and tiny parts of life into a single shot is what I find so incredible. Expressing my creativity through complex shots, preparing ideas for photoshoots or just taking simple photos of what I see around me is one of my favorite things ever.
In the past year, I wanted to start capturing longer moments and putting them together into mini movies. Videography takes a huge amount of patience, and seeing as how I didn’t have much, I didn’t start indulging in that interest until a few months ago. The process of shooting, sorting through and organizing footage, trimming video lengths, finding the right editing tools and then trying to attain a certain idea that you have in mind seemed like a useless waste of time. On top of all that, many people (including myself) find that they don’t have steady hands, which leads to shaky footage.
One of my best friends has a big interest in videography and through him, I started playing around with different editing softwares and techniques. Not having a steady hand is common amongst many successful videographers but there are tricks that you can do to work with it. Additionally, through different editing software, you can make things appear clearer or add effects to work with the trembling (if it isn’t that significant). For those of us on a strict budget, there are many DIY hacks and small things you can try on your own, and if you can, there is certain equipment meant to keep your camera and your hand steady while filming.
Let’s start with the equipment first. If you have a strict budget, try to match it reasonably with some of the options listed below, as the prices range quite drastically:
- The Glidecam HD:
- Starts at $529 USD
- Glidecam Industries is one of the top hand-held camera stabilizing lines
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Good for cameras between two to six lbs
- Smooth shots whether you’re running, going up stairs or even walking, all despite shaky hands
- For more info and purchasing: Glidecam HD
- The SteadyTracker:
- Two types; SteadyTracker Xtreme ($299 USD) and SteadyTracker Ultralite ($199 USD)
- The Xtreme can hold cameras up to around 7 lbs and is steady for running and/or high action shots
- The Ultralite weighs around 3 lbs and can handle cameras up to 5 lbs
- For more info and purchasing: The SteadyTracker
- The Aviator Travel Jib:
- Weighs less than 4 lbs, supports a camera up to 6.5 lbs
- Fast and easy to set up and extends to around 6ft (24 inches)
- For more info and purchasing: Aviator Camera Gear
For someone like me who has a strict budget, these options would be great if I could actually afford them. Luckily, there are a few other tricks and hacks we can use to stabilize our camera without spending an arm and a leg.
- Find something to rest your camera on. A table, chair or even a pile of books. This trick is more useful for one angle shots, seeing as you can put your camera down and start filming.
- Use your camera strap. There are two ways of using this technique. Either you could wrap the strap tightly around your wrist to provide extra support and stability. Another idea is to have the strap around your neck, and while holding your camera, extend your arms in front of you to the furthest the strap goes.
- Keep your camera close to you. The closer your camera is to you, the more control you have over it, meaning the easier it is to take a steady shot. Try tucking your elbows close to your side and hold the camera in front of your chest to stabilize the shot.
These ideas are usually what I personally tend to lean more towards, but investing a little money would never hurt anyone. Now that you have your perfect shot, its time to get to editing.
EDITING SOFTWARE AND PROGRAMS
There are many different computer and mobile software programs that you can use to effectively to edit your video. Just like camera equipment, some require purchasing while others are more easily accessible.
- Works only on Macbooks and Apple products
- Easily add simple transitions, music and titles in very few steps
- Quick and smooth
- No purchase necessary
- Adobe Premiere Elements:
- For Windows, Macbooks and Androids
- Costs $99.99 USD
- Easy to use and a variety of video editing features
- By selecting a certain theme, you can simply make a collage including your photos and videos
- Corel VideoStudio:
- Similar to iMovie
- Can be used on Macbooks and Androids
- No purchase necessary
- Quick and efficient to get both simple and complex editing done\
Videography and photography is no simple hobby, nor is it a cheap one. As seen before, “cheap” is very broad term in this industry. There are many more little hacks that you can try out in order to avoid spending a lot of money. But despite all the roadblocks, capturing memories and moments is something that you can treasure forever, so why not work to improve how the memories come out?