Gimbal or Handheld for Video Shooting?


In the fast-paced world of videography, choosing the right equipment is crucial for capturing stunning and professional-looking videos. One of the perennial debates among filmmakers and content creators revolves around the choice between using a gimbal or shooting handheld. Both methods have their merits and drawbacks, and understanding the nuances of each can significantly impact the visual quality and storytelling potential of your videos.

The Rise of the Gimbal:

Gimbals have become a ubiquitous tool in the videographer’s arsenal, offering smooth and stabilized shots that were once only achievable with elaborate setups and expensive equipment. A gimbal is a mechanical device designed to keep a camera steady by counteracting movement along multiple axes. This technology has revolutionized the way videos are shot, providing filmmakers with unprecedented flexibility and creative freedom.

Advantages of Using a Gimbal:

  1. Stability and Smoothness: The primary advantage of using a gimbal is its ability to provide incredibly stable footage. By neutralizing shakes and vibrations, gimbals allow filmmakers to achieve smooth, professional-looking shots, even in challenging conditions or while walking.
  2. Versatility: Gimbals are versatile tools that can be used in various shooting scenarios. From dynamic tracking shots to cinematic pans and tilts, gimbals enable filmmakers to experiment with different camera movements, adding a layer of creativity to their storytelling.
  3. Efficiency in Production: Time is of the essence in video production. Gimbals allow for faster setups and efficient shooting, reducing the need for multiple takes. This efficiency can be particularly beneficial in fast-paced environments or when working with tight schedules.
  4. Professional Look: The smooth, cinematic quality achieved with a gimbal imparts a professional touch to the footage. This can be especially advantageous for commercial projects, where a polished appearance is often a key factor in the success of the final product.
  5. Reduced Fatigue: Filming handheld for extended periods can lead to physical fatigue and shaky shots. Gimbals alleviate this issue, allowing videographers to shoot for longer durations without compromising on the quality of the footage.


The Handheld Approach:

While gimbals have become a staple in the world of videography, there is an enduring charm to shooting handheld. The handheld approach has its own set of advantages and can be the preferred choice for certain types of projects.

Advantages of Shooting Handheld:

  1. Authenticity and Intimacy: Handheld footage often carries a sense of authenticity and intimacy that can be challenging to replicate with a gimbal. The slight natural movements and imperfections in handheld shots can evoke a more personal connection between the audience and the subject.
  2. Portability and Flexibility: Carrying a gimbal setup can be cumbersome, especially in remote or challenging shooting locations. Handheld shooting provides unparalleled portability and flexibility, allowing filmmakers to capture moments spontaneously without the need for extensive equipment.
  3. Creative Expression: Handheld shooting allows for a more spontaneous and improvisational style. The ability to react quickly to unfolding events and experiment with unconventional angles can result in unique and visually striking footage.
  4. Cost-Effectiveness: Gimbals, especially high-quality ones, can be a significant investment. For filmmakers on a tight budget or those just starting, shooting handheld offers a cost-effective alternative that doesn’t compromise on storytelling.
  5. Low-Profile Filming: In certain situations, a handheld approach may be more inconspicuous and less obtrusive than setting up a gimbal. This is particularly useful in documentary filmmaking or situations where maintaining a low profile is essential.


Choosing the Right Tool for the Job:

Ultimately, the decision between using a gimbal or shooting handheld depends on the specific requirements of the project and the creative vision of the filmmaker. Some may argue that a combination of both techniques can yield the best results, allowing for a dynamic range of shots and visual styles within a single project.

Considerations for Choosing:

  1. Project Type: The nature of the project plays a crucial role in deciding the shooting technique. Documentaries and vlogs might benefit from the authenticity of handheld shots, while commercial projects may demand the polished look provided by a gimbal.
  2. Creative Vision: Filmmakers should consider the emotional tone and narrative style they want to convey. Gimbals are excellent for achieving a controlled and cinematic feel, while handheld shots can inject a sense of immediacy and rawness.
  3. Logistics and Environment: Consider the logistics and shooting environment. In confined spaces or crowded areas, a gimbal might be challenging to use effectively, whereas shooting handheld provides more manoeuvrability.
  4. Budget Constraints: For those on a tight budget, the decision might come down to financial considerations. Gimbals can be a significant investment, and some may find that shooting handheld meets their needs without breaking the bank.


The debate between using a gimbal or shooting handheld is not a matter of one being inherently better than the other. Both techniques have their place in the videographer’s toolkit, offering unique advantages depending on the creative vision and practical considerations of the project. The key is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and to choose the tool that best aligns with the goals of the production. Whether it’s the smooth, cinematic grace of a gimbal or the authentic, immediate feel of handheld shots, the art of cinematography lies in knowing when and how to wield these tools to tell a compelling visual story.

Transform your vision into captivating content that resonates with your audience and drives results. At CMA Video, we specialise in crafting high-quality corporate videos that elevate brands of all sizes. Start the conversation today and let’s bring your brand to life through the power of video storytelling.