Tuning PID Settings for Varavon Birdycam GH4 Camera

Now that the Birdycam has started shipping, i'm hearing a few questions and comments about tuning the PID settings to work better with a lightweight camera. I myself found the system oscillating when my setup was too light weight. Here's a video showing you a few simple settings you can change to get it working better.

Now just from experience I know what to sort of look for, but there's no exact magic number. All I could tell was that I needed to reduce my PID settings and those are numbers that seemed to work. In fact I tested my 12-35mm F/2.8 OIS with my new profile and it still worked just fine.

After making changes to your system you should take it out and use it as you normally would, and then decide if you need to make further changes. Always make changes to one area at a time instead of making large blanket changes across every tab. Most importantly always make a backup or document your prior settings before you make any changes. If you have any other questions, you can leave a comment below.

32 thoughts on “Tuning PID Settings for Varavon Birdycam GH4 Camera

  1. @Joe - That sounds pretty weird. Are you using the same plate? Or a different one? I would start by contacting Varavon. Maybe they can get you a different plate or base. Or maybe they know of an adjustment for this. Should be pretty straight forward by adjusting the little screw before pulling the locking lever.

  2. Joe

    Hi Emm, I am reaching out to you hoping that you might be able to shed some light on possible fix for the problem.

    Birdycam is great for what it's supposed to do when it works, I know I definitely need to spend more time to tweak the PID settings, however one of the glaring problem that has developed after a year of not so frequent usage is that the quick release tray doesnt seem to lock onto the quick release plate anymore, no matter how much I've tightened the plate.

    Took me a while to figure out that was the problem as the balance of the camera gets thrown out all the sudden, any advise on what could be done? Would be more than happy to try it out because I'm at loss on what to do...

  3. Hello! Please help me! I change my PID setting and when i turn on my birdycam 2 he's rotation x y z axis like a crazy(((((( how can i reset my setting or fix it?

  4. Patrick

    @Emm and fellow GH3 20mm Pancake owners:

    After getting calibration support via Varavon Birdycam2 Forum on facebook I now managed to get working settings for my 20mm 1.7 (old version).

    Which are:
    Roll: P20 I0.1 D20
    Pitch: P20 I 0.08 D20
    YAW: P17 I0.09 D30

    Motor Config:
    Roll160 +50
    Pitch 140 +50
    YAW 190 +50

    Emm, I discovered your subdomain concerning gimbals. Maybe a forum or database for working settings for popular cam/lens combos with this and other gimbals would be a great idea?


    PS: Now on to the Oly 12-60mm...

  5. Ron

    BTW for any Birdycam owners. The Pelican 1600 case ate up the foam from the softcase beautifully. It's almost a perfect match! Maybe a tiny 1/2inch gap around but the Pelican is actually about 1/2 less deep so the top foam sandwiches everything together nicely and nothing shifts around.

  6. Ron

    I humbly disagree with Emm (I am still a huge fan of your contributions, thank you). The Came-7500 series does need some tweaking even if you don't change your Camera config ie same camera and lens. The mounting plate just opens up variables. I find even moving from site to site I have to have my stand and sit there for a good 15m to get a good balance. Yes it will operate but if you're looking for a good CG even millimetres angled left or right trows things off. Not to mention the clamps on the pipes still have a bit of give so when you transport it there's a minute chance it gets bumped out of alignment. If that happens I feel it opens up another 20m on top of that.

  7. Ron

    Having owned both the Came-tv 7500 and the Birdycam 2. I sold the Came-tv immediately. The difference between the two is night and day. In terms of flying they are identical. However from a setup between the two it's night and day. Came-tv 7500 took me about 2 hours to get balanced for the first time (mind you it was the first time I had ever balanced a gimbal) The Birdycam was 15m and if I swap out lenses it should be almost as quick as long as I don't need to mess with PIDs. The tool-less design is worth the price difference IMHO. It's just that much better. Also if you factor in the price of a Gimbal stand and case for your Came-7500 it's not that much of a price gap.

  8. Emm

    Post author

    @Greg - I still don't know about the comfort and workflow with vests and gimbals combination. I think an EasyRig style support may be a better choice for operating these gimbals.

  9. Greg

    I tried all sorts of things. Recalibrated as per Varavons response on their FB page and it didn't fix it. Switched the battery over to 7.7 volts, powered on then off and switched it back to 16v and it appears to be working.. although in the calibration process I've obviously not quite done it correctly as its yaw centre is slightly to the left. I'll get that sorted but the next thing I have to get sorted is a vest and arm. I've got a h4n and aperture monitor on it so it's got some weight in it now.. I read up on the vests you recommended a while back (Came brand) What weight range would you suggest getting? I know more weight is a good thing but would love your thoughts before I order. Thanks for your time @Emm

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @Greg - Can you inspect the joystick cable that runs under the handles? Make sure it's not pinched. Also you could try to hold the gimbal completely level while on the stand and click on Calibrate Gyros.

  11. Greg

    My Birdycam arrived today and I was easily able to balance camera however the top motor jitters and continually spins around when the unit is on. I connected it up to see if I could find something and I noticed the little red dot on YAW access is spinning around the 360degrees and then when motors are engaged its trying to match up with the red dot which I assume is some sort of calibrated zero point. Is there an error with my unit or something I can fix?

    Setup is 5dmk3 with 16-35 and have not changed any settings.

    I've posted this on the BirdyCam2 forum on Facebook with a video but I'm guessing they have to approve posts first or whatever.


  12. Patrick


    lowering power helped a bit. But at the moment I am trying to figure out why I´m constantly values of 500 and above on ACC_Z which is messing up everything.
    Any ideas on that one?

  13. Emm

    Post author

    @Patrick - Since the 20mm is much lighter than a 12-35mm, my guess is you have to reduce your power even more. This tutorial is to show you how to make these adjustments, so you can easily go down in power and test it. If it is better or worse, you would continue making small adjustments either up or down on the PID settings. Let me know if you find a good number for your 20mm i'm sure others would like to know too.

  14. Patrick

    Hi Emm,

    did you stay on those 20 / 20 settings?
    I´ve just set up my BirdyCam2 for the first time (GH3 with 20mm/1,7) and I am noticing a stuttery movement on the y-axis (panning) when the gimbal follows.
    So I´m not sure wether the settings are too low or maybe still too high?


  15. Emm

    Post author

    @Christian - The Varavon does not need to be re-balanced if you continue using the same setup.

  16. Hi Emm,

    You said the CAME-TV 7000/7500 dont need to be rebalanced if you are using the same camera/lens setup.....is the birdycam the same?

    I have a defy G5 sitting in its box and am really liking the Birdycam and how it comes with the stand, case etc. The defy comes in a nice pelican rolling case, but no stand :(

  17. Emm

    Post author

    @Saiaf - If they have 100% Positive feedback and over 1K as a seller/buyer, I would think they were legit.

  18. Hey Emm varavon has sold out of the gimbal on their Site. Where can I get it from? Are the ebay sellers selling legitimate ones?

  19. Emm

    Post author

    @Glen - Yes you can configure a single PID to cover many cameras under a certain amount of weight - but still within a certain range. Though you say all you need to do is balance a camera under 6lbs for the Defy, i'd love to see how it performs with an RX100 or even GoPro balanced on there. I believe you'll still need a 'minimum' amount of weight on the Defy G5 to operate properly.

  20. Glen

    I have a question, I'm working with two gimbals right now, the Defy G5 and a custom built gimbal. With the Defy G5, there isn't a way to input the PID's and it's all about balancing the camera on the gimbal, with the custom built gimbal I'm using the same software and alexmos sensor. With the G5, it doesn't matter which camera goes on (as long as it fits, and your under the 6lb limit), it's all about balancing the camera combo. I'm wondering if there's a PID setting that is generic enough that you can just balance the camera without having to constantly tinker with the PID settings like the G5. Not sure if I am making sense.

  21. Emm

    Post author

    @Adam Jeal - The existing profile may just work since it's designed for large cameras like the 5D or BMCC. I only had to change the profile because I didn't have enough weight with the GH4, but you seem to be compensating with those extra items. It may work out of the box.

  22. Adam Jeal

    Hi Emm, I was wondering if you could possibly design a PID profile that takes into account the weight of the Varavon GH4 cage. I'd like to attach a small Arca-Swiss plate to the bottom of my Birdycam when I get it and just click the GH4 in the Armor cage (minus the top-handle) onto it. I am most likely to be using the 12-35 with this set-up.



  23. Emm

    Post author

    @Curtis - You can zoom in and out on many lenses without having to rebalance. Even if the balance is slightly off the gimbal has enough power to compensate.

  24. Curtis

    @Emm If you use a zoom lens like the 16-35mm on the Canon 5D or the 12-35mm on the Panasonic, do you have to keep the optics at the widest setting of the lens (i.e. 12mm on the Panasonic 12-35mm) or can you zoom with the lens and not have to rebalance the gimbal to compensate for the zoom?

  25. Emm

    Post author

    @Dez - The platform on the Birdycam is designed specifically by Varavon. This means you would have to build one for the CAME-TV gimbal. By the time you build one, you've probably spent enough money to have just purchased the Birdycam.

  26. Emm

    Post author

    @Dan - The CAME-TV 7000/7500 and the Varavon Birdycam use the exact same software, and require the exact same tuning of the software, therefore you are able to get similar results. The difference is the ease of balancing a camera, but once you have the CAME-TV gimbal balanced with your specific camera and lens, you don't have to rebalance. I know guys who shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III + 16-35mmm all the time for follow shots and that never changes.

  27. Dez

    @Emm Hey Emm with you having experience with both the CAME 7000/7500 Gimbals, and now the BirdyCam. Do you think it is possible to convert the CAME Gimbals to a tool-less system using the same or similar screws/bolts as the BirdyCam.

    Thanks in advance,


  28. Dan

    Birdycam looks well designed, but between the Birdycam ($2,550 + $130 shipping) and the Came 7000 ($998) or preassembled 7500 ($1,180), which one flies better? Or has better software? Or is built supremely better?

    I know you like how the fine adjustments on the Birdycam work, but I can put up with a bit more difficult balancing for 60% less purchase cost.

    The real question is, which has better stability correction in more situations?

    Thanks for your hard work, by the way. Really appreciate it. Learned a lot.

  29. The 'invert' option depends on how the motor was wired during the manufacturing process. If your Birdycam's invert button is not selected, do not refer to Emm's settings.

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