Why Use A Tripod?

Oftentimes you will need a tripod because our hands are never steady enough for certain situations like close-ups and panning a wide scenic landscape. It is also key in getting great nature shots as you can be waiting a long time for animals to appear.

A tripod will dramatically improve picture quality thereby resulting in a more engaging video as it will allow you to pan smoothly making your video look much more professional.

Tripods don’t just hold camcorders. They also serve as a light stand that holds flash units, slaves, and reflectors.

Tripod Parts

Tripod Parts

In Latin, tripod means having 3 feet. A 3-point stance is very stable for anything, be it rockclimbing or football. Most tripods when fully extended, range between 4-6 feet in height. It must be able to perform 3 movements, namely panning, tilting and height adjustments.

Tripod Head from Manfrotto

Tripod Head from Manfrotto

A tripod consists of a head and a set of legs. Consumer-level tripods normally come with the head and legs already attached together while the better tripods have head units that are available separately. I would suggest getting best head you can afford as this is the component that you interact with most often when you need to pan or tilt your camcorder. The quality of the head determines how smoothly you will be able to perform these movements and it does make a big difference to your video. Choosing the correct head and understanding how it works is very important.

Legs come in various built quality and sturdiness. The main differences being in their height and weight.

The screws and knobs around the stand allow you to control the sensitivity of the panning and tilting; tighter knobs means stiffer joints translating to slower panning and tilting and vice versa.

Types of Tripod

Tripods can cost from $20 to as much as $2,000 depending on its construction, material, legs and head that make up each tripod. The advice here is to spent a little above your budget and buy a good tripod. These are more durable and will see you through many camcorder or camera upgrades. Choose one that is robust enough to support the weight of your camcorder and any accessories you might attach to it. Most tripods come with a weight rating as a guide.

Types of Tripod

Types of Tripod

It might seem that tripods are only good for video taking from a high angle, however there are those tripods of one or two feet in height. They allow you to take things at feet level or huge objects from an extreme point of view.

Another variation of the tripod is called a monopod which stands on one leg. Setting it up is merely putting it on the ground and moving it around is simply carrying it around like a wizard staff. It is used by placing it on the ground with your hands on the camera.

Choosing The Right Tripod

After determining your budget and selecting a good tripod head, check the tripod’s height range and choose one that can extend a little bit higher than your normal eye level. If you use your camcorder mostly during vacations, which means having to lug it around alot, choose one that is made of composite materials such as carbon fiber which makes the tripod lighter.

Finally, check how easy it is to set up the tripod. You want to be able to set it up and pack it away without too much effort.

Not all occasions require a tripod, but when you use it for the right shoots you will soon realize how indispensable your new three legged friend is. You may find that your choice of tripod may turn out to be more important than your choice of video camera.