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Old September 28th, 2011, 08:28 AM   #1
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Kessler K-Pod good for travel/event videography?

Hello everybody,

I have a question regarding the Kessler K-Pod for those who may have more experience than me. My spectrum of work is all over the place. I do documentary, event and wedding videography, and also narrative films, and I am looking for a tripod that can be extremely rugged and heavy duty but cover the whole spectrum for my work.

This has brought me to the Kessler K-Pod. Can anybody comment on whether or not this K-Pod is too bulky/heavy to bring with me on travels to areas such as the Middle East and Europe? Will it be too much have a hassle / too heavy to use for wedding videography where constant moving and repositioning is the name of the game?

Your help is very much appreciated. Thank you everyone,
~Omar
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Old September 28th, 2011, 08:39 AM   #2
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Re: Kessler K-Pod good for travel/event videography?

The K-Pod is serious gear. It is huge when packed and very heavy BUT when you need a tripod with a 500lb capacity its a bargain.

It is NOT travel friendly unless you have a support vehicle to haul it around.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 01:02 PM   #3
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Re: Kessler K-Pod good for travel/event videography?

The K-Pod is amazingly solid - especially on the pads, rather than the transport or dolly wheels. Rock solid. But, as Chris wrote, it's large and heavy. It would be expensive for air travel. The soft case isn't terribly hard to lift, but you will want to put it on a cart, rather than walk with it. Add the transport wheels and you can roll the tripod around easily enough. It still has high weight capacity on the wheels, but it loses some tightness and stability. The dolly wheels have less play, but they're only made to roll on the track, not on carpet/cement/gravel.

Also, the K-Pod doesn't go low. For a single, travel tripod, I want multiple stages for low shots. It extends fairly high though, so it could be nice for getting over crowds at events and shooting with a long, non-IS lens.

IMO, the K-Pod is best with the Pocket Jib. That lets you get as high or as low as you would like. But that's not really a travel setup, unless you have a truck/van. On wheels, this combo lets you set up shots quickly. Just roll it into place, move the camera where ever you need it, and shoot. That it allows camera motion makes it all the better.

Adding the dolly wheels and track adds more motion possibilities, but slows the production, compared to the transport wheels. With the transport wheels, you can push the unit anywhere. With the dolly wheels, you have to mess with the track to change shots, and without the track it steers with a mind of it's own.

Dolly shots rock, and with the jib you have true freedom, but you need a bigger crew as well. At a minimum, you need somebody to push the dolly, somebody to frame the image with the tripod head, and a focus puller. You might want somebody at the back of the jib as well to simplify things for the camera op. Managing the head and jib at the same time can be tricky.

The flexible track is quite heavy and is even less wieldy than the K-Pod. The Pocket Jib is slightly lighter and smaller than the K-Pod, but you need about 50 lbs of weights as a counterbalance. I typically use 25-40lbs for a 5D Mark II setup, depending on how far I extend the jib and how much gear I have attached.

We also have a multi-stage Vinten tripod. Thank goodness! I can just sling it over my shoulder and go. Having only the K-Pod would get old, fast. But having only a tripod wouldn't let me get the camera motion shots that the jib and dolly afford.

The bottom line is that the K-Pod is great for motion shots. It could also be excellent as a tripod in a theater or other semi-fixed location where you want a rock solid mount for a long lens, but don't have to move it around much. For travel when you don't need motion, a standard tripod is the way to go.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 07:22 PM   #4
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Re: Kessler K-Pod good for travel/event videography?

Thank you Chris and Jon for those wonderful responses! Those were very thoughtful and absolutely helpful. Given my work, I think I will grab the Mnafrotto 528XB instead as this looks like it may be a little bit easier to manage for one person for multi purpose use.

Thank you for helping me decide!
~Omar
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Old September 28th, 2011, 07:32 PM   #5
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Re: Kessler K-Pod good for travel/event videography?

A one stage, like the 528XB, will give you stability, but won't let you go as low as a two stage. That's good for events, but I like to get low when I travel. I've been known to put a camera with shoulder rig on the ground using a wide lens. That allows me to show buildings at interesting angles with people walking in the foreground to keep the images dynamic.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #6
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Re: Kessler K-Pod good for travel/event videography?

Hi Jon,

Your point for getting low is well taken. To remedy this, I also intend on purchasing a manfrotto quick release plate as well as a slider. When I want to, I will be able to quickly take the slider off the tripod and set it on the ground which will give me a very low shot.

What do you think about this plan? Do you think this could solve the problem?

Thank you for your thoughtful help.
~Omar
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Old September 29th, 2011, 10:49 AM   #7
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Re: Kessler K-Pod good for travel/event videography?

As much as I love and use my kpod, I dread loading it for gigs as it's a freekin tank. I bought it for supporting the Kessler 12' jib (have a gig later today in fact!) and there isn't any tripod I can think of for the price point that will do the job as well.

I use a Sachtler fsb6 with cf75 legs for stability with portability. And the head is just amazing.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 08:21 PM   #8
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Re: Kessler K-Pod good for travel/event videography?

As long as you have legs available for the slider, that should work well. I use a ball head on the Pocket Dolly, and that lets me get any angle I need. It doesn't let me pan and tilt though.

Another option is to get a lightweight, shorty tripod. As long as the short tripod gets as high as your tall tripod gets low, you can use the two tripods to support a slider. I find that a single tripod under a slider often isn't enough. You at least want a light stand at the other end. Otherwise, the slider droops as you move the camera weight to an unsupported end (even if the tripod is in the middle.)

I think the low slider (with legs) would work as long as you don't need to pan and tilt on your low shots. The shot of looking up at a building with people walking in the foreground doesn't need pan or tilt. However, a low shot of a building that moves to/from a sign, logo, or statue needs movement.

The nice thing with a low tripod is that you can easily move your head and camera as one assembly quickly from high to low and back. Moving over to a slider can take a bit longer if the plates don't match, etc.

My travel solution of putting a shoulder rig (The Event) on the ground fits in a backpack, but doesn't let me move the camera, so I rely on people walking, traffic, trains, etc for motion. A slider might not let you pan and tilt, but you could slide past plants and flowers in the foreground, which would be very nice.

Sliding (or any translational camera movement) is much more interesting than pans and tilts, but for some shots a pan or tilt is exactly what's needed.
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