Using Shaky Footage in Video Production – Leeds at Night in 4K

I went to Leeds city centre on Halloween night to experiment filming with my basic glidecam stabilizer and Panasonic GH4 4K camera.

I mainly took shots of buildings, cars on the roads and general views from the top level on the bus.

Upon reviewing the 4K footage a few days later, I noticed a lot of my takes were shaky and not levelled.

Queens Hotel Leeds Train Station Bus Night GH4 4K Panasonic
The Queens Hotel at Leeds Train Station

I wanted to delete all the video material and move onto another project but instead, I realized this was a great opportunity for me to challenge my video editing skills. You’ve probably heard that in order to become better, one must try to turn their weaknesses into strengths, so I decided to embrace my mistakes and attempt to integrate the shaky footage into this cool characteristic video about my city:

Filmed on Panasonic Lumix GH4 4K-resolution camera with Samyang 12mm F/2.0.


Shaky footage is always usable. It may not be as versatile and acceptable as stable footage from a levelled tripod but shaky footage can still be part of your production provided you are willing to alter the style of your video.

Shaky, handheld and even jerky shots bring completely different emotions to the screen than stable smooth shots do. Handheld filming is heavily used in music videos and can, for example, create a feeling of freedom and easiness to the events on screen. Depending on the intensity of their shakiness, jerky handheld shots can also express excitement or fear.

In my case the jerky shots add a bit of chaos and disorder to the video which I really began to enjoy as the edit progressed.

Use music that unifies your shaky footage. Find a track that can make your clips dance in unity. Analyse the selected song and distribute your footage in such a way that the shakiness just fits the rhythm. I chose Need You by WHTKD.

Consider time remapping shaky footage. Depending on the rhythm of the music and the message you wish to convey, you may also consider slowing down or speeding up a shaky clip.

VD Vlad Dimov Cinematic Video Production
Vlad Dimov Cinematic Video Production

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