In the world of videographers and filmmakers, stability breaks or makes the deal, especially when viewers find your video to be unbearable to watch. And when talking about stability on the table, the old debate between stabilizer bar vs sway bar is never far behind.
But what are stabilizer bars and what are sway bars? How do they differ from each other? Which one would benefit a videographer the most? These are the most common questions when faced with choosing between the two videography tools.
A camera stabilizer bar is a simple device that was created to prevent the shakes and blurry images and videos, especially if the camera installed with it is prone to those unsavory shots. These stabilizer bars are often found in handheld stabilizers, and they act as moving tripods that can be swiveled using the body by way of fluid motion.
Camera stabilizers offer flexibility when it comes to moving around with the camera and capturing the different angles and lighting effects of the subject. More often than not, these stabilizers can be mounted with more than one kind or brand of camera.
A stabilizer has relatively few parts as it aims to deliver optimum performance without adding on to the weight and strain felt by the camera person. These parts include:
This is the main part of a camera stabilizer, and it is often the pivotal one as the camera is mounted on top while the plates are screwed at the bottom.
This is the area where you attach the camera to the stabilizer. This is more often located at the top of the stabilizer bar although there are a few models that have their screw mounts at the bottom. This is especially true for double handled stabilizers.
The bottom plate, which is located at the lower end of the stabilizer bar, would provide support to the weights that are used to balance the whole camera-stabilizer set-up.
These are small discs, which are similar to dumbbells that vary in weight and provide drag or weight when needed.
These are attached to camera handles, and it lets you document your subject while they are moving. These are often made of soft rubber or sponge and can sometimes be made of memory foam for a better forming grip.
The more obvious advantage of a camera stabilizer is that it gives you shake-free images and videos even if the conditions are not favorable. The balance provided by the stabilizer lets you take those shots without having to worry about blurred edges which often happens when people take pictures while moving or when their hands are shaking.
A perfectly balanced stabilizer transfers the weight of the camera from your arm to the stabilizer bar. This enables your arm to remain static for a longer period, and it would take a lot to tire it this way. This also contributes to the shake-free goal that you are after since it transfers muscle stress into an inanimate object.
Gravity and balance are among the primary factors for blur-free shots. The stabilizer bar acts as a focal point, so instead of your arm supporting the camera, it will be this bar that supports it. The counterweights, together with the handle and the grips, then let you balance things out between the top and bottom loads, giving you symmetry in pounds.
Sway bars are like stabilizer bars except that it is more often found on top of a tripod which acts as the camera base. Sway bars would also have an arm that swivels around pivot points which let you turn your camera in every possible angle while maintaining a level view of the subject. The pivot points can be tightened as needed and the bar can be rotated 360 degrees twice over.
Camera sways, like stabilizers, have few parts that can be manipulated and adjusted to suit your needs. These include:
The tripod is adjustable and would, of course, serve as your camera base. This effectively gives you a level and stable view that is free of shakes and blurred edges. The tripod can be carried like a stabilizer bar, using one leg as the handle and then another hand piloting the rotating arm.
The rotating arm can be swiveled 360 degrees, and it can fold twice over. This lets you swivel the camera while following a subject, and it also allows you to move the viewpoints closer or farther from the center.
Camera sways are often small and compact with small parts that do their job, as expected. It takes time to muster and master this device, but the benefits are worth those quality shots. A few of its benefits include:
A camera sway, being installed atop a tripod, offers better stability than stabilizers since it uses the ground as the balancing factor. This also means you do not have to carry it, unless you have to when taking shots which, of course, prevents your arm from tiring easily.
Well, it is mounted on a tripod which means you would need fewer legs to work it, as compared to stabilizers where you would need different people rotating to hold the same camera.
Stabilizer bars are similar in function with sway bars as both aim to capture blur-free shots without putting too much strain on the human factor of filmmaking and videography. But if you are to ask which is better, a stabilizer bar vs sway bar, then the answer would be a sway bar since it requires less human intervention to hold although it does take a lot of human effort to swivel it and manipulate the settings to get the perfect shot.