Do you want to create smooth and cinematic shots while driving?
If so, you may want to consider mounting your gimbal on your car. In this blog post, we will explain why it is a good idea to do this and what gear you need to get the job done.
We will also recommend some products that you can buy to make the process easier.
So, if you are interested in learning more about how to mount a gimbal on a car, keep reading!
Why Attach A Gimbal To A Car?
Attaching a gimbal to the outside of your car will allow you to capture smooth and cinematic shots while driving.
While it is possible to capture footage from a car by hand, this method often requires a human to hang out of the car with a camera.
This is impractical in many situations and will result in shaky footage — it is also dangerous.
Using a gimbal solves all these issues, and adds the benefit of remote-controlled movement.
This means you can capture Hollywood-level cinematography — think Fast and the Furious!
There are also shots that would simply be impossible to capture without some form of robotic intervention.
These could include shots where your camera is mounted to the top of your car, or perhaps the front bumper.
It is true you could always achieve these shots by simply attaching your camera without a gimbal, but you would rob yourself of the dynamic, movement that gimbals allow you.
What You Need To Attach A Gimbal To A Car
A Gimbal And Camera
First, you will obviously require a gimbal and camera.
When selecting a gimbal and camera to attach to the exterior of your car, keep weight and size in mind.
Smaller and lighter is typically better — so long as the gimbal has an appropriate payload and can still handle your camera’s weight.
A Mount For Your Gimbal
There are a number of options out there for mounting your gimbal to your car, most utilize heavy-duty suction cups to secure both the mount and gimbal to your car’s exterior.
The DJI Osmo Car Mount is one popular option. This mount uses three suction cups and an articulating arm and locking mechanism to ensure your gimbal is safely attached to your vehicle.
Where To Mount Your Gimbal On Your Car
As previously covered, most gimbal car mounts use suction cups to secure your gimbal to your car.
This means they require a flat, smooth, and non-porous surface to suction to.
If you’re going to be filming while driving, it’s also important to make sure that your gimbal is not in the way of your view.
Lastly, you also want to make sure that your gimbal is not blocking any exhaust vents.
With these three requirements in mind, it’s really up to you and your shot to determine where you mount your gimbal on your car.
Mounting a gimbal to the top of your car can allow you to capture a 360-degree shot.
By using your gimbal’s remote control function, you are literally able to capture your entire surroundings as you drive.
This is great for following moving action around the vehicle.
For example, you could follow a motorcycle as it drives beside your car before it speeds up and overtakes your vehicle.
Side shots are very popular in movies.
When placed on the side of a car near the wheel, your gimbal and camera are able to capture your car’s wheel as you drive.
This is great for emphasizing the speed of the vehicle in, say, a chase scene.
Front or Back
When placed on the front or back of your vehicle, your gimbal and camera are able to capture great POV or reverse POV shots.
These are great for displaying the action in front, or behind your vehicle.
Mounting your gimbal to the front of your car is especially effective for follow shots — whether you are tracking another vehicle or simply a moving subject.
How To Mount Use A Suction Cup Car Mount To Attach A Gimbal To A Car
One of the most popular ways to attach a gimbal to a car is with a suction cup car mount.
This type of mount uses suction cups to adhere to your car’s window or trunk.
Most suction cup mounts come with multiple suction cups for added stability.
While there are a variety of car mounts available for gimbals, many of them function in a similar manner. Here is a clip from DJI explaining in detail how to attach the DJI Osmo Car Mount to the exterior of a vehicle.
Controlling Your Gimbal Remotely
In order to get the most out of your gimbal while mounted on a car, you’ll want to use an app or remote that gives you control over the gimbal’s movements.
The best gimbals on the market come with their own dedicated apps that offer a variety of features and controls.
For example, Zhiyun offers the ZY play app.
Using Bluetooth, this app allows you to connect to your gimbal.
Once connected you will be able to control your gimbal remotely from inside your vehicle.
Some gimbals are compatible with dedicated remotes.
These remotes are designed to control your gimbal from a distance — similar to an RC car.
How To View Your Camera’s Footage Remotely
While shooting with a gimbal mounted to the outside of your car, it will be necessary to view the footage you are capturing. While this is less important for static shots, using your gimbal to capture removing shots will require you to see what you are filming in real time.
Some cameras are compatible with apps that provide a close-range video feed to your phone.
These apps are great, however, they tend to have more delay than other video-feed options.
Also, if you are already using your phone to control your gimbal’s movements, you won’t be able to stream your camera’s video at the same time.
Wireless Video Image Transmission
These days, there are many options for wireless video image transmission.
The most popular system used by gimbals is the DJI Lightbridge.
Other companies such as Paralinx and Teradek also make similar products.
These systems send a digital video signal from your camera to a receiver that you can connect to a monitor or FPV goggles.
They usually have very little delay, making them ideal for capturing video from inside your car while remotely controlling your gimbal.
Control Your Gimbal And View Your Footage On The Same Device Using The Zhiyun MasterEye Visual Controller
The Zhiyun MasterEye Visual Controller is a great option for those who want to control their gimbal and view their footage on the same device.
This controller has a built-in LCD screen that allows you to see what your camera is seeing in real-time.
It also has a built-in joystick that lets you control your gimbal’s movements remotely.
This style of controller is one of the best options for capturing dynamic footage with a gimbal mounted to the outside of your car.
Tips For Filming With A Gimbal Mounted To Your Car
- Make sure someone else is driving the car!
- Drive slowly and smoothly to avoid jostling the gimbal.
- Use manual focus to avoid losing your subject while driving.
- Shoot in short bursts to avoid overshooting your footage.
- Try different angles and heights to get a variety of shots.
Now that you know how to mount a gimbal on your car, you’re ready to start filming some amazing footage!
Just remember to drive carefully and always be aware of your surroundings. With a little practice, you’ll be able to capture some truly stunning shots.