Hyperlapse is a great technique that could be used in various ways. Since I’ve bought a 3 axis gimbal, I’ve been testing different techniques to improve my hyperlapse sequences with that device. Trying new things is always a great experience, I hope this article would encourage you to go out there and shoot some hyperlapses 😉
The handheld gimbal hyperlapse is a subject I chose for my second video tutorial. It’s a really interesting and simple technique, that gives us an awesome motion blur and the sense of high-speed. You don’t even have to run and you get footage like from the super fast vehicle 🙂 So, first of all watch the video and then you can read full, in depth description of this technique below 😉
3 axis gimbals stabilize the camera so effectively that you can do long exposure shot handheld. Of course it’s not unlimited, you won’t get sharp image with 5 sec exposure. However it’s good enough to add a lot of motion blur to your shot, just slowly walking forward holding the camera. The basic concept is simple – you set a longer shutter speed, use the intervalometer or low-fps video (like 1 or 2 frames per second) and walk forward holding the gimbal as stable as possible. For my shots I used mostly shutter speed of 0.5″ and interval of 1 sec. It’s a good value for a regular walk with a camera. For a very slow walk I used 1″ shutter speed.
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That long shutter speed handheld can decrease the sharpness of the image a little bit, however you get an awesome feel of super fast movement thanks to the motion blur that appears in the frame. Objects closer to the camera appear to move faster (so they are heavily blurred) and objects further from the camera move slower, so they are less blurred or just sharp. The result is a super smooth footage. Motion blur is really important – the same speed footage with shutter speed of 1/1000s would be reconized as less smooth by the viewer, even if he wouldn’t know why.
Set-up the gimbal
There are two ways of doing that:
- using the free profile (so the gimbal is not following any movement)
- using one of the follow profiles
The first one is good for straight road. Probably it will cover most of the situations. The second way is for more complicated shots – you can take turns within your sequence.
Using the ‘default’ follow profile of course woldn’t give you the best results. In the picture above you can see my settings for the Alexmos gimbal. For any other gimbal – look for the yaw axis deadband and speed settings (it could be named differently). The basic idea is simple – increase the deadband so the gimbal skips smaller movements and lower the speed to make it look good in timelapse (standard speed would be way too fast for a timelapse). While shooting you have to predict the turns and rotate the handle before the turn. It depends on your settings, so you should test it on your own.
Other axes should be locked – so roll and pitch shouldn’t follow your movement. Of course you could use follow also on the pitch. I’m just trying to show you the basic concept of the technique, variations are on you 😉
Combining with programmed movement
If you’ve read my 3D Timelapse head with a gimbal you know that some gimbals can be programmed as a motion control head. The tilt movement in my example video was accomplished with this feature. It’s simple, just set some short timelapse duration, like a 3-6 min. Then set-up the shot just like you would with a gimbal mounted to the tripod. When the movement starts – just walk forward with your gimbal 😉
This technique is way faster and simpler than a traditional hyperlapse. Of course I wouldn’t say it’s a replacement for classic hyperlapse, you get different result in both techniques. It’s a great addition for video projects of any kind, I’ll definitely use that a lot.
I would love to see your work using that technique. Put it in the comments or share on our Facebook group to get a feedback from a timelapse community 😉 Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter! See you next time 😉