Too much coffee? Not enough sleep? Both will give you the shakes, but the key to achieving a steady image is not to quit cold turkey or going to bed early, but to take things easy, writes our frenetic Ben Longden.

Shaky vision is the curse of the video camera, so much so that manufacturers have gone to great lengths to install image stabilising in their cameras.

But this is not the miracle cure for shaky camera work.

Here at Australian VideoCamera, we always answer the question: ?When should I use a tripod?? with ?Whenever you can?. However, there are many occasions when a tripod simply is not practicable. This then raises the issue of how to keep a stable camera platform.

Most camcorder users by default use the one hand approach–that is, the camera in the right hand, with the viewfinder to the eye, or the foldout screen flipped open, and the camera suspended in mid air by the arm, with the forearm almost vertical.

While this position may seem comfortable and logical, it also is the one most prone to unwanted camera movement. Movements include up and down, tilting and panning, usually at a nauseous speed.