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OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)

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Scott Witthaus
OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 13, 2014 at 1:16:16 pm

Hey all -

Just picked up a client who needs a bunch of interviews and other basic video elements to be shot and cut. Nothing really complex, as I will be the DP on most of these! I have an Sony FS100 camera and looking for a good tripod to go with that sized camera. Advice from you production folks is much appreciated!

Scott

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Dave Jenkins
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 13, 2014 at 5:00:39 pm

I would get a Sachtler. I've had a Sachtler 18 for 17 years and it still works perfectly! One of my best equipment investments.

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
Mac Pro 3.5MHz 6-Core Late 2013
FCP X


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 13, 2014 at 6:41:03 pm

Along the same lines, Sachtler FSB6 with carbon fiber legs. If your rig is really heavy then the FSB8.



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Fabrizio D'Agnano
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 13, 2014 at 8:00:02 pm

I own a Manfrotto 545B Tripod, with a 526 head. A great tripod and a great head at a right price. However, if you need the tripod for fixed positions shots (no or little panning or tilting), maybe you can save some money and go for one that's lighter and faster to set. I own a few of these, and I find myself using them a lot for run and gun situations, especially when shooting outdoors. What I find very useful in the larger Manfrotto is that I can set the tripod legs first and later set the head level with the horizon by adjusting the head position only (I don't need to adjust it's legs position too). The lighter ones require fiddling with their legs for level adjustment. The heavier and bulker Manfrotto allows for very stable panning and tilting, and stable shots outdoors even in strong wind conditions, but it's less portable (long walks, airplane....).

Fabrizio D'Agnano
Rome, Italy
early 2008 MacPro, BM Intensity Pro, early 2008 iMac, 2014 MacBook Pro Retina, Blackmagic UltraStudio Mini Monitor, FCP7, FCPX, OSX 10.9.4


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Bob Woodhead
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 14, 2014 at 11:16:03 am
Last Edited By Bob Woodhead on Dec 14, 2014 at 8:36:19 pm

First decision to make is what level of quality you desire in the head. I'd recommend that unless you're only looking to support a locked-off shot, as Fabrizio mentions above, you spend AS MUCH as you can afford. Like the old saying goes, "buy the best now, and only cry once". Tripods fall into that much too infrequent category in our business... they're an investment! What changes happen in the next 20 years won't change that you need a good platform to support them. (well, unless we all walk around with 8K Google Glass) A great fluid head is a joy to use; smooth as warm butter, friction that can be "just so", counterbalance that allows the payload to be tilted to any angle while having the same feedback on the pan handle, a positive-action tilt lock so that huge payload I mention below doesn't crash over when you break for lunch.

So, with that, think about how you'll be using them. Having a set of wheels as an option can make moving a prompter rig around so much more pleasant. Mid-level spreaders are generally easier to work in varied situations. Some fluid heads have interchangeable counter-balance springs (Vinten) to more precisely handle a wide range of payloads. Speaking of payload range, don't forget the stuff that's fun to rig on to a cam; prompter, light, monitors, conversion box, maybe a rail rig w/ follow focus, video xmitter, batteries, batteries, and just in case, another battery. So the camera could be a fraction of the load up there. A lighted balance bubble is very handy.

Suggestions? Sachtler, Vinten, Miller and Cartoni. Only gently placed in that order. I left out O'Conner only because their price, like their build quality, is astronomical. I would not place Manfrotto in the same league as these, however. I own a few Manfrotto, but they perform secondary duty to the Vinten and Miller sticks I own. Sachtler's plate/balance system is the easiest/faster on/off, really like this.

"Constituo, ergo sum"

Bob Woodhead / Atlanta
CMX-Quantel-Avid-Premiere-FCPX-AFX-Crayola
"What a long strange trip it's been...."


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Bill Davis
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 14, 2014 at 7:47:21 pm

What Bob said. ; )

Priority 1 - Know the shooting style - if you do active camera work with action shots including pans, tilts, etc you absolutely NEED to invest in the best head you can afford. If you just lock and shoot, not so much.
Priority 2 - Payload. A DSLR needs a very different class head than a Black Magic Ursa.
Priority 3 - Dependability. If you're doing 3 shoots a year, it's a whole different ballgame than if you're doing 3 a day.
Priority 4 - Weight. Especially if you're shooting 3 a day, 5 pounds schlepped the quarter mile from the parking lot to the setup location compared to 15 pounds is a whole different ballgame.

Budget is what comes after those 4 are understood.

Good luck.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Bob Woodhead
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 14, 2014 at 8:44:49 pm
Last Edited By Bob Woodhead on Dec 14, 2014 at 8:45:22 pm

Wanted to clarify I'm not bashing Manfrotto, just putting them in context.

If your interviews are lock-offs, Manfrottos are good value for the money. If you will be shooting in a rush, get a ball leveling rig... Their top heads are ball-type, the lower heads are flat-plate type, but they see a ball-"ish" adapter for those.


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Rich Rubasch
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 15, 2014 at 3:41:01 am

We have three Millers and have traveled the country with them. Good value too.

The Miller Air is light and tough enough to handle travel. Enough for the Sony.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Andy Field
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 15, 2014 at 7:08:00 pm

Miller Solo with carbon Fiber Legs is nice and can be had for about 1500.00 The new sachtler Ace for lighter weight cameras also nice - both have terrific fluid heads which you need far more than you imagine.

Andy Field
FieldVision Productions
N. Bethesda, Maryland 20852


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Ken Zukin
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 16, 2014 at 2:32:24 am

It's true that a good set of sticks will outlast whatever camera you're currently shooting with -- maybe by 10 years. My Sachtler 18 says "made in West Germany" on the head. What you're paying for in a high-dollar tripod is a silky-smooth movement. Think tracking a race car as it rotates thru an S-curve, a move where you have to pan and tilt at the same time. That type of move separates the contenders from the pretenders. The best place to demo tripods is a trade show: like NAB.
If you're on a tighter budget, go for the expensive head, and buy cheaper/heavier legs (aluminum, as opposed to carbon fiber). Think of a tripod as 2 pieces: the head and the legs.


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Scott Witthaus
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 16, 2014 at 11:14:53 am

Thanks all! Appreciate the tips.

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Eric Santiago
Re: OT: Tripod Recommendations (you can debate, if you like)
on Dec 17, 2014 at 2:27:21 pm

Got me a Miller Solo and Compass 25 for my Scarlet gear.

Now I wish I had a tripod with mid/ground spreader.

Not cheap if your going carbon.

The Solo is not safe for most film set type set-ups.

Great if your out and about but lightweight.

I am still a big fan of Sachtler though.

I also had a short stint with the SECCED which is a knock-off (Sachtler).

Not bad if for the price but I couldnt get past the knock-off feeling.


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