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Old April 8th, 2011, 01:34 PM   #1
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DV HEAD for TV needed asap!!

I am needing to buy/recommend a head for awesome pan/tilting for shooting TV broadcast as the main camera. It needs to be user friendly, somewhat idiot proof (as non-trained camera operators will ultimately use this) and it has to be as error free as possible. This is being used for a Chruch that is now airing on international TV. The pastor likes to walk back and fourth and up/down on stairs.

It will be used on a tripod with a 100mm bowl and a Canon G1 camera connected to SDHDI/Genlock/Timecode/Battery/LCD. Needs to have dual handles that we will attach lens controllers to.

I was looking at the Manfrotto 504HD with 100mm adapter as it seems good and reasonably priced but I am not in the broadcast field and don't know if something else would be better suited? Again we're not dealing with heavy cameras (yet).

I can't get to NAB this year, and have never had my hands on a Sactler/Vinten/Cartoni/OConnor/Miller head etc.

I am grateful for all and any recommendations. Anything over $1500 is too much (preferably keep it as cheap as is able). Thanks.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 01:17 PM   #2
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Re: DV HEAD for TV needed asap!!

Check out the Libec H60 head, it is 100mm and two stage with simple operation, it can also take two handles and is far superior to manfrotto:
Libec H60 Fluid Head w/PH-7 Extendable Pan Handle H60 B&H Photo

I have the H50 and H55 75mm heads which are identical in operation and I can not fault them for value and smooth operation, I use them with full ENG HPX301 cameras.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 07:31 PM   #3
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Re: DV HEAD for TV needed asap!!

Hi, Michael...............

Before I can recommend any sort of head I think it important to clarify just what sort of tripod this 100 mm unit is (make, model, spreader type etc).

There's tripods, then there's tripods and all tripods are not created equal, and the best head on the planet will work like cr*p on a cr*p tripod.

Shall wait for clarification of the above before saying more, except this: Do Not Buy a Manfrotto 504! You have been warned.


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Old April 12th, 2011, 07:47 PM   #4
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Re: DV HEAD for TV needed asap!!

Sure thanks..

Its a heavy duty (and physically heavy at 20 lbs.) tripod from Varizoom: VZ-TC100A

VariZoom Tripods, Lens Controls, Camera Stabilizers & Supports, Batteries, Monitor Kits - Phone: 512-219-7722
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Old April 12th, 2011, 08:52 PM   #5
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Re: DV HEAD for TV needed asap!!

Yep, that's heavy!

OK, a little test if you have access to it.

Set it up full height.

Grab hold of the reciever (the bit the head sits in) with both hands and using all the stregth you can muster, try turning it first left, then right horizontally in relation to the feet.

Can you feel any movement in it at all?

It may sound like an odd test to be performing on such a beast but heavy doesn't necessarilly translate into rigid.

Assuming it passes that little test, we're good to go.

OK, next question.

As this is being used in a church setting, can we confidently say this will be used on level floors almost exclusively?

That too may seem like a strange question, however it is relevant as both of the head manufacturers I'm thinking of use very chunky bowl clamp knobs which may not play nice with certain tripods in circumstances where more than a couple of degrees of off axis leveling is required.

On level floors this is not an issue.

My first suggestion would be, drum roll, yeah, you guessed, Vinten.

Now, I'm awaiting clarification from Peter Harman at Vinten about an irregularity on their web site.

My first suggestion was going to be a Vision Blue head, then I checked the Vinten web site and no mention of GL1, but the GL 2 was pointed at the Vision 3 AS.

Somewhat taken aback, I've made the enquiry, I still think it should be the VB:

Vinten Vision Blue Pan and Tilt Head V4092-0001 B&H Photo Video


Vinten V4043-0001 Vision 3AS Fluid Head (Black) V4043-0001 B&H


OK, you're asking: Why those two?

They are the only heads in your price bracket that have:

Continuously variable counterbalance

Continuously variable pan and tilt drag

They are worth their weight in gold, quite frankly.

The 3 AS has the benefit of the side load head (nice) but requires a heavier cam than the VB, though if the existing cam can be made to work with the 3 AS it's probably a better "down the track in case of major upgrade, weight gain etc" head.

That said, there's no point spending dollars if it's not required and if the VB can indeed handle the GL1 comfortably it's hard to beat.

The other model I was going to suggest was the Libec RH 25:
Libec RH25 Head w/Pan Handle RH25 B&H Photo Video


BUT, as it's only got two steps drag (and no off, mores the pity) on both the pan and tilt, it's far below the Vintens spec and isn't a heap cheaper.

Any of those float your boat?


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Old April 13th, 2011, 11:13 AM   #6
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Re: DV HEAD for TV needed asap!!

Thank you very much I will certainly check them out.

And yes the two stage doesn't work for us, needs a variable drag configuration. The heads that came with the tripods are two stage and the tilt is aweful for us. Same with panning, operators will use it and the pan gets slightly locked somehow and instead of checking it they complain that it's too hard to turn and sticky (lol)
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Old April 13th, 2011, 07:18 PM   #7
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Re: DV HEAD for TV needed asap!!

I use a Manfrotto 516 on Libec legs with a JVC 110. Works OK - maybe at the low to middling range of reasonable/acceptable. Occasional very slight bounce back at the end of a pan if I'm not careful. I'm usually not zoomed to extreme telephoto so it hasn't been a real problem. Anyhow, I'm reasonably happy with it. Not ecstatic, just happy. I didn't want to spend enough for ecstasy!

I wouldn't go any lower in the Manfrotto line than the 516, though.
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