So, today June 14th, the biggest football tournament in the world kicks off in Russia.  We’ll all spend the next few weeks thinking this could be the year England finally go further than the last 16 and then get super cheesed off when they don’t.

We’ll also spend a lot of the time wondering how they got certain shots of the live matches with their cameras.  Over the years, a lot of technology that’s been used in sport and films etc. has become more accesible to the everyday camera person, and production team which is fantastic for small businesses looking to make incredible showcase content on a budget.

So this blog is a chance to discuss some of the simple pieces of kit that have become available that could be used on your projects (if you have the skill set and understanding of how they work).


So, I’m going to cover this one first, as it’s a matter close to my heart, especially as I have been a PfCO (permission for commercial operations) holder for the last two years.


The shots you can achieve with a drone are frankly INCREDIBLE, the chance to get that aerial footage without the cost of a helicopter or team running a very large jib is fantastic.  When flown by a professional, the shots can become so much more than just a tripod in the sky too, and a good team will understand the importance that the drone just adds to the story rather than being used in every single shot.

Watching peoples videos appear online who obviously have used a drone and don’t have commercial permissions drives me bonkers.  A few years ago, the CAA put in place a legislation that means if you’re flying a drone and the content you film or photograph results in a monetary value then you’re breaking the law. So, be sure you’re using a fully permission’ed pilot, as if you’re not, not only are they not insured for potential issues (dropping it on a building or person) but you’ll also be liable too should anything “god forbid” happen while they’re flying on your job.  Check the CAA’s list of permissioned businesses and pilots, it’s quite long, but better to sift through it then end up with an issue.


So, nowadays it seems every person and their dog has a gimbal for their camera or their phone.  The reason being, they’re now super simple to use and fairly cost effective as well.  For around £200, you can get something half decent that will smooth out those shots you’re getting while you’re walking or if you’re looking for that smooth reveal shot as part of your film’s story.

No longer do you need someone with a huge handy cam strapped to them (unless you’re doing TV) for short and simple shots where the camera person doesn’t need to hold onto a weighty piece of kit for ages, this is a brilliant solution.


This is a cheap option for people who can’t afford my next suggestion.

This is simply what it says on the tin, a mount that rests on your shoulder, and helps give a slightly smoother (less jerky) shot when using something like a DSLR camera for your filming.  It’s not as smooth as a gimbal, but, sometimes that general camera movement makes a piece feel more real, and adds to the atmosphere of your video.


Now, this is a slightly more expensive piece of kit, and it’s not something i’ve had the pleasure of using, however, I’ve worked on productions that have used them when I was behind the scenes photographer etc. They’re amazing items, and very much like the handy cam I mentioned above.  I’ts a simple piece of kit you strap to the main camera person, that when hooked onto the main camera (usually a more intense piece of kit than just a DSLR, more likely something like an FS5, FS7, C100 type camera) it helps take the weight of the system you’re using, but, also gives a smoother feel to any motion created, rather than like a gimbal which smooths out the shot totally, this kit gives it a more natural feel without feeling jerky in it’s movements.

This is not a piece of kit for your amateur to just strap on and start using, it takes getting use too, and needs to be fit for purpose as well, but, I couldn’t write this blog without mentioning them as they work so well in the right situations.

As always with this type of thing, having all the gear and no idea isn’t the way forward, so it’s always best to speak to a professional to get their point of view etc. As buying a load of expensive kit doesn’t always give the best results.  There’s a saying in the photography community called “UNCLE BOB” syndrome.  Uncle Bob has a nice camera so he should be a good photographer, forgetting the most expensive piece of kit when it comes to a camera is the person using it. A £3000 camera will still take a crap photo if it’s used by someone who has no clue what they’re doing with it.

If I can ever be of help with your content, just drop me a line, my advice and knowledge is always FREE so let’s speak on skype, or follow my social media channels and see what else you can learn along the way.

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