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8. Reduce Camera Shake

Many digital cameras come with a feature known as digital image stabilization. Image stabilization can be used to reduce the apparent jitters or shakiness in a scene, especially when you're using the zoom. (When you zoom in to an image, any camera movement is magnified on film.)

This task offers ways to stabilize your camera's image that work to improve upon the camera's built-in stabilization that might be there. Digital image stabilization cannot correct for every move you make. This task shows you how to reduce any shakiness while filming.


Digital image stabilization— Built-in camera movement sensors that act as shock absorbers. If you move the camera in a jerky motion, the digital image stabilization corrects for the movement and attempts to keep the picture steady.

Sometimes you will not want to use digital image stabilization. Most digital video cameras enable you to turn off the feature. Unfortunately, some digital artifacts can be obvious when using this feature. Avoid stabilization when shooting in low light, when using digital zoom, or when shooting scenes with lots of obvious stripes (such as Venetian blinds). All these situations increase the potential for digital noise on film if your camera is set to use its electronic stabilization feature.

Enable the Stabilization Mode


Adequate lighting cannot be stressed enough. You learn here that low lighting deteriorates the otherwise positive effects of a stabilizer. Many cameras cannot handle low lighting situations well so try to shoot with a well-lit subject when you have a choice (see 13 Light Your Video Properly).

When you're in a situation where you want to minimize the jitters that come from camera shake, enable your camera's digital image stabilization mode. You can find it on your camera's menu; refer to the manual for details if you cannot locate your camera's stabilization section.

Move Slowly

Regardless of whether you're using electronic stabilization, try to move the camera slowly and steadily. Don't jerk the camera around. Note that fast zooming can induce motion sickness in your audience. Zoom slowly and keep any zooming you do to a minimum.


Your camera's digital image stabilization (DIS) screen will probably differ from the one in the picture.

Use a Tripod

The best way to stabilize a scene is by mounting your camcorder on a tripod. Leave the swivel head loose so that you can move the camera from side to side and up and down while you shoot your video.


Tighten all screws securely on your tripod except for the head elements to ensure a solid base. Make sure you mount your tripod on solid ground.

Get Support from a Doorway

If you can't use a tripod, try leaning your body against something solid (such as a doorway, a fence, or a post) for support. You'll be surprised at how much more stable your videos are as opposed to the ones you shoot while standing on your own.

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