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Pocket Stabilizers for Videographers

Lewis McGregor

A good stabilizer is essential for any videographer on the go. Check out these top picks.

Cover image via Shutterstock.

In an earlier article, I covered how you can fix footage in post-production that you captured on a whim. With the current technology of many consumer mirrorless and DSLR cameras, you may always be able to capture high-quality footage, but you may not have the stabilizer you need. So let’s have a look at how to be prepared with portable equipment whenever inspiration strikes.

GorillaPod by Joby

Pocket Stabilizers for Traveling Videographers — GorillaPod
Image via Joby.com.

The GorillaPod is ideal for videographers on the go who don’t want to carry a tripod. Of course, you won’t get the height of a tripod, but with over two dozen leg joints and rubber foot grips, this stabilizer can attach to anything from city window grates to farmyard fences. The GorillaPod retails for $49.99; however, the pro version, the GorillaPod Focus allows you to pan and tilt the camera, and it retails for $149

Pros

  • Very compact
  • Usable on many different surfaces
  • Compatible with GoPros, compact, mirrorless, and DSRLs.

Cons

  • Restricted to small setups

Vbag

Pocket Stabilizers for Traveling Videographers — Vbag

The Vbag is an excellent tool. It’s an inflatable bag that becomes a camera mount on almost any surface. Literally. In the following video by Philip Bloom, he even mounts the bag on the top of a parasol stand.

The kit works by becoming a hardened stabilizer after its air is vacuumed out. The large and medium Vbags are indeed quite large, and you may find them a bit burdensome on the go. However, there is also a Philip Bloom Edition available, which is a little more convenient for remote work.

Pros

  • Mount your camera on virtually any surface
  • Doubles as a protective case for your camera

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other items on this list
  • Even the smallest bag (Philip Bloom Edition) requires a backpack for transport

Wildlife Photography Bean Bag

Pocket Stabilizers for Traveling Videographers — Bean Bag

Wildlife photographers have used bean bags for decades, as they allow the photographer to maintain a low profile while capturing animals. Bean bags are great if you’re hiking in the mountains or in a rocky region, as it will provide a lot more base support if you come across a landscape you’d like to film but don’t have a stable surface. Of course, you have to account for the extra weight the bean bag will add to your rucksack — most bean bags weigh about as much as a DSLR and lens.

Pros

  • Low cost
  • Refillable

Cons

  • Added weight
  • Limited usability

Dinkum Systems ActionPod

This is one of my favorite recommendations; it’s a product that has helped me get out of a pickle in quite a few circumstances.

Pocket Stabilizers for Traveling Videographers — Dinkum

The ActionPod is similar in design to the GorillaPod. However, it has one long, flexible arm that you can manipulate into many different shapes. At one end, it has a spring-action clamp that will grip most surfaces. At the other end is a 1/4″-20 top, which you can use for lights or cameras. However, the ActionPod will only support light DSLRs and small lenses, such as the GH4 and the nifty fifty (50mm). This is a great tool for mounting your camera in unusual places, such as branches, fences, poles, and signs.

Pros

  • Clamps almost everywhere
  • Very versatile
  • Offers different angles than other items on this list.

Cons

  • Only suitable for light cameras

While these are the main light travel stabilizers I have used and recommend, there are many more on the market that can help get you a stable shot without carrying around a heavy tripod.


What stabilizers do you use on the go? Let us know in the comments.

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