Stabilize Mountain Bike Footage: Tips & Tricks

by | Stabilization

If you’re into mountain biking, you know that capturing your rides can be a lot of fun.

But if you’re looking to take your footage to the next level and get good MTB footage, there are a few things you can do to make your videos smoother.

In this post, we’ll show you how to get smoother mountain bike footage using a few simple tips.

Read on for more!

What Causes Shaky Video Footage On A Mountain Bike Ride

Anyone who has ever shot video while mountain biking knows that it can be a challenge to keep the camera steady — even the slightest movement can cause the footage to become shaky and hard to watch.

There are a few different factors that can contribute to this problem.

First, mountain biking is by its very nature a bumpy ride.

Second, most mountain bikes have suspension systems that absorb shocks, which can further disrupt the camera’s stability.

Finally, many mountain bike trails are narrow and winding, making it difficult to keep the camera pointed in one direction for an extended period of time.

All of these factors combine to make shooting smooth video footage on a mountain bike ride a real challenge.

However, with a little practice and patience, it is possible to get some great footage that captures the excitement of the ride.

How To Fix The Problem & Stabilize The Shot

Start With Your Mountain Bike

Start by making sure your bike is in good condition and that the tires are properly inflated — this will help to reduce bumps and vibrations.

Make suer that your suspension is in good working order too.

A well tuned and oiled bike with properly inflated tires is the best place to start when rying to achieve smooth MTB video footage.

Consider Your Riding Style

Next, try to avoid sudden movements and braking — smooth, controlled motions will produce better results.

While a good mountain bike video should involve you riding naturally, the truth is that riding with the end product (footage) in mind will help produce a better video.

Depending on camera placement (which we will touch more on shortly), adjusting your riding style may become more or less important.

Think About Camera Placement

One of the biggest factors in achieving stable MTB footage is camera placement.

Chances are you are using an action camera like a GoPro to film your rides.

If this is the case, the good news is that there are many options when it comes to mounting.

However, if you choose to use a larger-style camera such as a DSLR, your options for mounting may be significanlty limited.

Here are the two best places to mount your camera for smooth mountain biking video footage:

  • Chest: By removing your camera from your bike frame and placing it on your body, you will signifcanly cut down on the amount of vibration transferred from your bike to the camera.
  • Helmet: Similar to the chest, your head is also a great place to mount a camera as it is not attached to your bike frame. The helmet is arguably an even better mounting location as our necks tend to act like suspension when we ride — keeping our heads upright and stable.

Read More: 5 Awesome Helmets With Built-in GoPro Mounts

Add A Gimbal To Your Set Up

If you’ve tried the steps above and are still not happy with how stable your mountain biking footage is then it may be time to consider looking at gimbals.

Gimbals are multi-access systems that rely on motors to electronically balance your camera.

Your camera can be mounted on to a gimbal. Then the gimbal can in turn be mounted on to your bike, chest or helmet.

By adding a gimbal to your MTB set up, you are likly to see significant improvements to your footage as the devices electrnics automatiacally compensate for bumps and jerky movements.

NOTE: While gimbals are great for dealing with large movements, they are’nt as good at correcting small vibrations. Gimbals can also be delicate and expensive, meaning that you are taking a risk by using one on a bike.

Turn On In-Camera Stabilization

In-camera stabilization is technology that stabilizes your video right in your camera.

Most cameras today offer some form of in-camera stabilization, and action cameras are at the leading edge of this trend.

Most in-camera stabilization works by cropping in on your shot and adjusting the the location of the cropped frame to compensate for jitters.

While this is a great feature that you should consider using, the obvious downside to this is the smaller frame size.

Read more: Using Image Stabilization With A Gimbal: Explained

Use Image Stabilization In Post Production

Like in-camera stabilization, post-production stabilization works by cropping in on your shot and adjusting the the location of the cropped frame to compensate for jitters.

The differnece is that post-production image stabilization takes place in software on your computer, after you have finished riding.

Most modern video editing software offers some form of image-stabilization thatis easy to use.

This can be a very handy feature, however this technology is still improving and it is highly recommneded you make your shots as smooth as possible, before turning to software.

Best Gear For Smoother MTB Footage

BELL Sixer MIPS Adult Mountain Bike Helmet

The BELL Sixer MIPS Adult Mountain Bike Helmet includes a built-in GoPro mount.

This helmet has an interesting mount feature — it is engineered to break away upon impact to reduce the risk of injury!

This helmet is made of a polycarbonate shell and features an external roll cage made of the same material.

This helmet also features the MIPS system — making it extremely safe.

Strategically placed vents on this helmet also help to cool you as you ride.

Check out the BELL Sixer MIPS Adult Mountain Bike Helmet on Amazon!

GoPro Vented Helmet Strap

The GoPro Vented Helmet Strap attaches to any vented helmet with a one-size-fits-all system, making it super versatile.

It is also made with a durable nylon strap, making it fairly strong.

The GoPro Vented Helmet Strap is compatible with all GoPro cameras except the Digital HERO 5 Wrist Camera.

Check out the GoPro Vented Helmet Strap on Amazon!

GoPro Performance Chest Mount

The GoPro Performance Chest Mount is a perfect option for action camera users looking for POV shots.

It’s simple design makes it ideal for on-the-go use and it features lightweight construction and a specially designed quick-release buckle that lets you get in and out easily — even with gloves on.

Check out the GoPro Performance Chest Mountr on Amazon!

FeiyuTech Official WG2X 3-Axis GoPro Wearable Gimbal Waterproof Stabilizer

This popular gimbal mounts right on to your body, making it ideal for mountain biking.

By attaching this gimbal to your chest you’ll be able to capture perfectly stable POV footage.

This gimbal is also splash proof — meaning you can take it out on muddy trails!

Check out the FeiyuTech Official WG2X 3-Axis GoPro Wearable Gimbal Waterproof Stabilizer on Amazon!

Tips for Shooting Better Video While Riding Your Mountain Bike

Once you’ve mastered stabile footage on your mountain bike, the next step is to shoot awesoe video — which is easier said than done!

Anyone who’s ever tried to shoot video while riding a mountain bike knows it’s difficult.

The key is to be prepared and know what you want to shoot before you head out.

Here are a few tips to help you get the best possible footage while riding your bike:

  1. Decide what kind of video you want to shoot. Are you trying to capture the beautiful scenery, or are you more interested in getting some great action shots? Once you know what you want to shoot, you can plan your route accordingly.
  2. Make sure your camera is well-mounted. You don’t want it bouncing around too much while you’re riding, so make sure it’s securely attached to your bike or your body.
  3. Be prepared to stop and start often. If you’re shooting action shots, you’ll need to stop frequently to set up your shot and then start again once you’re ready to roll. This can be frustrating, but it’s the only way to get good footage.
  4. Shoot in short bursts. Unless you’re using a stabilizer, it’s hard to keep the camera steady while you’re riding. So instead of trying to shoot long, continuous shots, shoot in

Example Of A Great MTB Video With Stable Footage

Here is a great example of a mountain biker who is using one or more of the above steps to get buttery-smooth MTB footage.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it.

You should now have an idea of the techniques and products that will help you get smoother mountain biking footage.

There is no “right” way to get better MTB footage — there are many factors such as terrain to consider!

The key is to experiment with the methods and products outlined in this article.

But, by following our recommendations, you should eventually be able shoot much steadier video and capture the amazing scenery and adventures you come across while riding.

Happy trails!

New To Gimbals?

With so much to learn, mastering your new gimbal can be hard. Get started with our in-depth beginner guide to gimbal filmmaking.