Posted on by


Back to Composition...

Any advice for getting better handheld shots in the vein of Herzog or Anthony B. Richmond? (2 replies)

1 month ago
umbrella 1 month ago

I really want to achieve that sort of controlled handheld look — where they might walk slowly towards something but it doesn't feel like a shaky vlog type thing.

Not something people talk about often, but are there any special techniques that anyone would recommend for achieving those good, weighty, handheld shots?

Jacob W.
1 month ago
Jacob W. 1 month ago

Maybe try constructing a DIY steadicam?

Thats what device would be used on-set to achieve that controlled handheld look.

Many Youtube links for inexpensive alternatives to build. I don't know any other tricks than stepping soft and rehearsing the movement before yelling action»

1 month ago
G.C. 1 month ago

Before resorting to extra equipment, here’s some general advice for handheld work. 

Camera ergonomics are important. Your body must be one with the camera. The camera’s center of gravity should be properly balanced and not require effort to handle. The weight is less important than proper balance, as in yoga! A bit heavier can be better to filter out high frequency shakiness.

Try to have three points of contact with your camera. That’s usually the hand, shoulder and eye. If you’re not using a viewfinder, and the camera is too small and can’t be rested on the shoulder; then a rig can prove necessary. Or you can lean against a wall, or rest the back of the camera on your sternum.

It is OK to grab the camera in an unconventional way. Sometimes the handles offset your hands too far away from the camera body. You don’t have to use the handles the way the were designed ; it is ok to try things and grab the camera as close to the lens as possible and see if that’s comfortable. Many DPs like to put a handle in front and in the back. When walking, try to bend your knees a bit to avoid vibrations due to footsteps. Then let your body do the calculations for you as you focus on the shot.

Back to Composition...