When looking to buy a tripod – it can be a difficult task. What am I looking for? What makes a bad tripod? What’s good? What’s terrible?
Well… There are many factors to buying a tripod from the weight rating to the tripod height and stability. In this guide, we drill into the essentials to help you buy the perfect tripod for filmmaking.
There are multiple reasons why you would need a tripod these range from taking self-portraits with a camera timer, shooting extreme close-ups, holding various objects such as reflectors, flashes and so on, shooting at difficult angles, to shooting stabilised videos.
Let’s look into the most important factors when deciding on your next tripod.
A guide to buying a tripod, the key factors:
Here we will look at the key factors when looking to buy your next tripod. We drill down into the specifics to ensure you make the right purchase.
Let’s check them out below.
The weight rating is the weight the tripod can hold. It’s important to look above the weight of your camera + 1/2 the weight of the camera. When you start to buy additional parts it tends to add up and you need the support.
Most indie filmmakers won’t hit the weight limit but it’s something to consider. You want the tripod to be sturdy and stable enough to capture smooth and stable footage.
When determining the height, try to get it as close to your own height as you can give or take a few inches. The reason being is that you will not have to keep bending down when using the viewfinder.
This will give you far more comfort when filming using a tripod – and if it’s a little higher no problem, you can just reduce the height, so always look higher than your standing height than lower.
I think this is one of the most important factors when it comes to buying a tripod. It’s essential to have a solid, stable tripod. This isn’t based on just the weight. You need your tripod to be durable and have a solid set up – ensure the head is fully tightened and that the legs are spread evenly.
You need to take into account all of the features and try to get them to the highest possible spec in your budget. It’s not the brand that matters, it’s the quality and spec of the product within your budget.
The centre post is a leg that runs through the middle of the tripod and this allows you to increase or decrease the height. The centre post is decent to have if you are using a lightweight camera, but if you are using some heavier camera gear it’s best to opt for one without a centre post.
Why? You ask. Well, having the centre post there reduces the stability of the tripod as a whole so the heavier the equipment the more vibrations you’ll notice whilst recording. You can track most vibrations and stabilise your footage post-production. However, it’s much better to have the best possible footage filmed prior to post-production.
This is the part that holds the camera to stabilise it. There are a variety of heads, but the most common are ball-heads, pan-tilt heads and gimbal (less common). This is the most essential piece of equipment. It keeps your camera fixed securely.
The three most common heads explained:
A ball-head has only one control that loosens or tightens the grip. These are flexible and smooth to operate with.
It comes with a single handle for horizontal movement or it’s built with dual handles for vertical and horizontal movement. This is the most common type of head that is typically built into cheaper tripods.
This is a specialised head, these usually are best suited for fast-action photography. They are extremely easy to use in any direction and do not require tightening the head every time the camera/lens moves.
Tripods generally come with rubber feet, which is all you will need as a filmmaker unless you are looking to film in a more extreme climate. If so, look at tripods that come with interchangeable feet, that way you can alter the feet dependent on the surface you’ll be filming on.
These are usually made out of steel, carbon fibre, basalt or aluminium. They come in two types: tubular and non-tubular.
This is dependent on the above material. Look for the one that has a threaded twist-lock system – these will help with the solidity and stabilisation of your tripod.
Overall – make sure you find a reliable and stable tripod. It doesn’t have to cost thousands either. Look at your budget range and find the tripod that matches your filmmaking style and has a stable and reliable build – don’t forget to buy one with a solid and safe head to it.
We hope this guide on “Buying the perfect tripod” was helpful to you. If it was, let us know down in the comments your thoughts.
Scroll down below to see the latest filmmaking articles and resources, happy filmmaking!
As a budding filmmaker sometimes you don’t have the funds to splash out on Premiere Pro or Vegas, but you still want to edit to an industry standard. This is when the question pops up “Is DaVinci Resolve free?”. Free video editing software is the indie filmmaker and beginner editors’ dream. They want good quality […]
The element that connects Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO into one is the exposure triangle. Understanding the exposure triangle correctly, it means you can get to grips with exposure as a whole. In this guide, we explore the exposure triangle in-depth, look at how best to use the exposure triangle and some awesome examples. What […]
Everyone asks, “is Premiere Pro free?” or “How do I download Premiere Pro for free?” – You may be apprehensive about paying the full subscription, but there’s a way to trial Premiere Pro for free. This guide looks at how to download Adobe Premiere Pro for free and the best free video editing alternatives. Let’s […]
When you edit with Premiere Pro, you want to ensure it’s running at its optimum performance, and one of the factors that allow Premiere Pro to run smoothly is to clear the cache. To help maintain optimal performance, clearing old media cache files can help ensure you run Premiere Pro smoothly. Knowing how to clear […]
Occasionally you’ll get the offline screen of death and wonder why does Premiere Pro say media offline? Well, there is a reason for this. Basically anytime you rename, move or delete a video file that is referenced within your Premiere Pro video. This is when you will have the “Media offline” error. Let’s get back […]
Spongebob is a fan favourite for most people; it’s been around for years, and generations have enjoyed the yellow sponge; however, in this article, we dive a little deeper into the darkness and see who killed Mr krabs and how he was killed. Firstly, let’s have a look at who Mr Krabs is! Who is […]