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by on Jun 19, 2006 at 5:29:59 am

Looking for EXPERIENCED users of different tripods for event videography. I have seen a collapsable style ( quick extend and fold ) for "run and gun" shooting in ENG that I am interested in. I do not know if they were Vinten brand or another. I currently use Manfrotto 3193 aluminum legs which are great for stationary shots with my Canon XL2, but I need something that I don't have to manually refold and lock down each time I reposition. Any one of you been down this road with some helpful advice? Thanks!

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Peter RalphRe: Tri-Pods
by on Jun 19, 2006 at 2:10:39 pm

the bogen roadrunner series are built for speed of set-up. But tripods at a reception can be like cars in the city - it's not the speed, it's finding somewhere to park.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Tri-Pods
by on Jun 22, 2006 at 2:44:31 pm

We switched to Sachtlers, as have many ENG shooters we know, after having bad experiences with Vinten legs (I think Vinten heads are great but the sticks are always a hassle, useless if you are in a hurry, OK if they only sit in a studio most of the time).

These Sachtlers have an integral handle and a one-touch deployment control on the center column, lets you deploy and collapse very quickly but does require two hands, so you have to put the camera down, if only briefly.

Before these and the Vintens, I was very partial to a certain O'Connor model. It has no center column, and the spreader is aircraft cable with a spring-tension retractor. Three identical red levers near the head let you drop or retract the legs one-handed, individually or in concert, even with the camera on top. Without an elevator column, you need to adjust overall height using the leg controls. I liked this one because it was THE fastest deploying tripod in the world, literally done, leveled, and shooting in seven seconds, with the camera still on it. And the retracting-cable-type locking spreader allows it to get down to the height of a High-hat for low angle shots, or to fit the most uneven terrain or stairs or whatever... It is like three sets of sticks in one. All-metal aluminum construction. I think these are out of production now.

We don't use the O'Connor as much now, pretty much I'm the only one in the shop who will still use "Christine", as she was dubbed (as in the Steven King horror story about the killer car) after she took off the fingertip of one of our shooters out in the field one day a year ago.

He was adjusting the tripod with the weight of the camera still on the head, and can't remember where he had the other hand on the tripod, but as he collapsed the legs, something went wrong and it neatly guillotined his index finger just around the first knuckle.
Once a tripod tastes human blood, you have to be very wary. We spent hours trying to figure out how it could happen, never did come to a unanimous conclusion, except to note that adjusting sticks with the camera on makes it all more dangerous. The weight and momentum of the descending betacam and brick was a contributing factor. Some tripods, like the gas-filled sachtlers, you NEED to keep the weight on when playing with the elevator column, or you could knock a person out if their chin was in the path of the rising piston. Anyway, you can bet I'm even more careful when working with "Christine" now.

The sachtlers are slower, but safer, very stable, and their integral boosted elevator columns get the camera up much higher, maybe eight feet, very handy in ENG situations to shoot over the top of a crowd, or to get the camera lens up over an obstructing chain link fence, etc. They are carbon fiber so they are light, but this makes them expensive too.

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Peter RalphRe: Tri-Pods
by on Jun 26, 2006 at 1:57:51 pm

bogen claim 4 seconds for the roadrunners...

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