By Ryan Perillo
When you’re at the open door of the camera market, there are literally hundreds of options to choose from. Digital cameras, camcorders, gopro’s, Zoom’s, even iphones now have top market film quality. This can make the choice quite difficult, and the chances of you leaving the store with the camera you want & need are almost impossible
The first questions is simple, what are you filming? If you wish to go no further than taping a lens to your bike helmet and hitting the slopes, then the choice of the go pro is obvious. But in our industry, that is just not going to do the job.
Today we’re looking at the Osmo DJI – a self-stabilising gimbal camera with extremely high quality 4k visuals. The fan cooled Zenmuse X3 gimbal is highly stable, and the whole arrangement sits atop a very agreeable ergonomic handle. It’s a rubber gripped upright affair, which feels good in hand, and does not fatigue the arm for intensely still filming, the Osmo is not the sort of camera you’d constantly be setting down on a surface, so the comfort of the hold is ideal. Where a cam corder or larger machine would require a raised elbow and forearm, the Osmo is no more difficult to hold, than holding a beer, or an ice cream cone. This makes direction and poise extremely easy when filming.
At first use of the Osmo, it wasn’t difficult to bring yourself in line with expert level filming, sweeping pan shots, and run in close ups are a breeze, and you can pretty much run with this thing and the stillness is sublime. It also has a toggle, like what you would find on a PS3 controller, to manually override the direction of the gimbal (in case you only need to move in increment’s. A generally brilliant machine.
A few points worth mentioning: The playback screen on this camera needs to be a smart phone. If you don’t have a smart phone, you need to get one. The osmo comes with a cradle for whatever smartphone you’re using to view the playback (this is connected via Bluetooth through the Osmo app) It’s a clever cradle, but I noticed with a particular positioning of the cradle, that the phone will be in shot (only if you toggle too far to the left where it sits) Also I had some difficulty getting the phone to fit comfortably in the cradle, It will obviously need more attention from the operator next time, but it quickly became more of a balancing act for the phone, rather than for the stability of film. Also in this camera, it’s obvious that its purely a visual innovation (maybe 80 – 20) the sound on these cameras will not compete with that of any of the zoom products you can get, the zoom however is designed around sound, so if you do want to use the sound from your surroundings, you can plug an external mic into the osmo and you’ll overcome the small standard mic. I will be using this camera for film clips, to substitute the heavy expensive ronan’s that this technology is replicating
Replicating is probably the wrong word, a ronan is also a high quality self stabilising camera for the things we’ll be doing, music shoots, and film clips – However its heavy, very heavy, and the gimbal system is a lot slower for extremely high stability (a must have when doing slow motion) however if there needs to be a quick change of direction, the ronan will simply not keep up – also possible use time is limited due to the weight of the machine, it can be quite fatiguing for the operator.
The osmo quite simply brings this technology to the working musician, or film enthusiast, without calling upon a team of experts for a simple clip. Providing such ease of use saves a lot of time learning about how the professional cameras work, also the battery life is great, which brings ease to filming outdoors, or in tricky areas. The camera is also great in all types of light – A lot of the high end cameras need premium light to get optimum visuals; The first test of the osmo for me happened under a standard ceiling mounted fluorescent, and the detail in the playback was 100% clear, no grainy footage, no dark corners, and also no flaring from being under direct white light
In essence then, the Osmo is brilliant for all types of filming. I imagine even a full length film could be created using the Osmo, its just that diverse! This is a must have if you’re looking to up your game in the music video world, long gone will be the days of multiple static and moving cameras, you can also do away with drum mounted go pro’s – The osmo can be operated quite simply by anyone with their hands free, which will make DIY film clips the new norm.