Blank Slate: Handheld

Last Updated by Alex Duckles | Senior Editoral Associate | PBS Digital Studios on
Blank Slate is a new 16-part instructional series from PBS Digital Studios with the production team Video Dads, made up of Emmy-nominated video producers Travis Gilmour and Slavik Boyechko.

Even with weeks of planning and preparation, it’s still impossible to make sure every shot of your next project can be fully set up with lights, sound, and a tripod. In those cases when it’s necessary to film on the fly, knowing the right way to shoot handheld makes all the difference.

BS_Handheld1.png When you know you're going to be filming handheld, using a shoulder rig is a great way to balance and control your shot. The key here is to increase the amount of contact your body has on the camera — with more points of contact, the better you'll be able to keep the shot stabilized. Even without a rig, holding the camera up to your eyes or down snug to your torso helps increase your balance, control, and speed when filming.

BS_Handheld2.png Recently it’s become fairly common (especially on the web) to embrace the handheld style in order to make videos seem more gritty and genuine; filming on the fly can give a nice realism aesthetic to any project, but still it has to be done right. Some of the most common mistakes are trying to capture too much movement in your shot or moving the camera itself too quickly around your subject. Quick and jerky camera motion will distract your audience from the action on-screen. Be cautious when trying to filming with dynamic motion, but with patience and practice you'll be able to get that perfect shot.

In this week’s featured video from Blank Slate, Travis and Slavik walk through some quick tips on how to take your handheld project to the next level. To read more, check out this post here for more pointers on keeping your handheld shots at the top of their game.

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