How to Use a Gimbal

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A gimbal is a device that uses motors and sensors to support and stabilize your camera. It works like a tripod and looks like a selfie stick. If you want to get the most out of it, you must know how to use a gimbal first.

How to Use a Gimbal

Gimbals are fairly simple to use, and there are many ways you can use a gimbal for tracking shots, parallax effects, and capturing movement. The 3-axis system in gimbals allows you to pan, tilt, or roll and capture great videos.

Man in glasses holding a black camera

Camera Balancing

This is the very first thing you must do before starting to shoot. Before turning your gimbal on, you have to balance your camera to make sure that the movements are smooth and your gimbal does not vibrate during use.

Also, you should keep the gimbal close to your body. Gimbals weigh a lot and holding them out could mean that you easily get tired. Keeping it close to your body also gives you a lot of freedom of control and thus get better shots.

Camera Movements

You can use a gimbal to create camera movements to capture aesthetic effects during movies. This involves dollying in and out. Dollying in involves moving closer to the action. In this, you move the gimbal closer to the subject to bring more attention to it.

On the other hand, dollying out is moving the camera away from the scene. It is usually used in movies to signal the end of a scene or take your attention away from the subject.

As a general tip, get close to your subject while moving your gimbal. Also, try adding some motion in the background to make it look more interesting.

Tracking Shots

A gimbal can be used to follow a subject around to capture a tracking shot. The subject can be shot forward, backward, or aside. When you are taking this shot, remember to shoot your subject midframe.

This focuses the audience’s attention on the scene. Also, it prevents any up and down movement which might give the video a poor look. Also, make sure that the distance between the camera and the subject is constant. The gimbal should capture your subject while restricting any unnecessary shake that might ruin the shot.

Parallax Movement

Also known Ken Burns effect, this involves panning and zooming to create a 180-degree or 360-degree shot of a subject in the middle of the frame. A gimbal allows you to capture the action from all sides of a subject.

To capture this effect, keep a short distance from your subject. It works whether your subject is moving or not. It is a great way to capture indoor sports such as billiards or darts.

It is a good idea to use prime lenses such as a 50mm or 85mm, since it allows the footage to look more cinematic while also creating the bokeh effect and better parallax.

Man holding a DSLR camera in gimbal

Panning Shot

Panning refers to using a slow shutter speed and camera motion to create a sense of movement around the object. A gimbal can help create a panning effect by making it easier to keep the camera stable while moving it, resulting in better quality.

Slider Shot

You can reveal certain objects or characters in a movie through a slider shot, by simply moving your camera from side to side. Such movements cover a lot of ground in one shot. It can be achieved using a gimbal by holding it steady and moving it in a horizontal direction.

Moreover, try taking shots from a low angle, which can be very powerful while shooting video. Here, you can use your gimbal as a pole to reduce pressure on your back. It allows you to take longer shots and go even lower.

Crane Shot

The crane shot is used in films, and shows to signal the end or set the scene. It involves moving the camera from a lower to higher ground to capture the scene. A gimbal allows you to capture the shot with ease while providing the stability.

You have to focus the gimbal on the subject and slowly move it up or down. In these situations as well as generally, you should go for lower sensitivity on your gimbal. Higher sensitivity results in a lot of jitters while using a lower sensitivity allows you to capture smoother shots.

Moving Shot

Whether you are in a moving car or running beside a subject, the gimbal provides stabilization to capture great moving shots. It senses the difference between unwanted movements and intended movements and helps you get professional and stable shots.

It allows you to capture smooth pictures and videos, without using a tripod. While sitting in a moving car, you can point your gimbal out the window, or stick it outside the window altogether. You can tilt, pan, or roll using the gimbal joystick. It allows you to capture great moving car shots, especially in movies.

Motion Time Lapse

Time lapse is a technique where frames are shot a lot slower than normal. You can create great time lapse videos by setting a travel route through the roll, pan, or tilt axis. It can help you capture the sky, cities, or any other scene you want to capture.

Even when you are shooting normally, you should go slow when using a gimbal. While fast-moving shots look great, they are sometimes difficult to keep a track of. Going slow will allow you to get more of the shot.

An image of a person on how use a gimbal

Advantages of Using a Gimbal

A gimball can be a useful gadget because of the following benefits:

  • Stabilization: The 3-axis active stabilization system allows you to pan, tilt, and roll. Gimbals provide more stabilization than handheld footage, which is helpful for moving shots. It sustains your camera in stable positions, making your videos and images smoother.
  • Lightweight: Nowadays, the gimbals are lighter than before, so you can use it for hours without getting tired.
  • Affordable: They are also affordable now and can be used by a wider audience.
  • Improved quality: Gimbals improve the quality of your video production, be it movies or vlogs. It gives you a lot of flexibility in creating shots that make your videos a lot more interesting to watch.
  • Easy to use: Gimbals are very simple to use and can be used by beginners after a bit of training.

Disadvantages of Using a Gimbal

Eventhough gimbals are very useful, they can prove to be difficult to use because of the following disadvantages:

  • Large in size: Gimbals are pretty big and are difficult to pack and carry around. Also, additional gear means a lot more time is spent bringing it and setting it up.
  • Time consuming: Gimbals work according to the current weight of the camera. If you choose to switch lenses, you will have to rebalance your gimbal again. This is very time consuming.
  • Weight restrictions: Some gimbals have weight restrictions, which means they cannot handle all kinds of cameras and lenses. Check the compatibility before making the purchase.


Using a gimbal is fairly simple and you can create a plethora of shots if you learn how to use a gimbal. These include tracking shots, parallax, and crane shots. The recent innovations have ensured that the gimbals are light weighted and therefore more convenient to use.