Ultra-lightweight sticks and head for shooting HD. at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Tripod Sticks & Heads


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 24th, 2011, 06:31 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 541
Images: 2
Ultra-lightweight sticks and head for shooting HD.

Yes, I know; when Chris Soucy reads the subject line above, as I know he will, he might immediately come perilously close to experiencing a spontaneous acute myocardial infarction along with a severe apoplectic fit and a painful bout of acute indigestion.

Calm down, my Dunedin friend, and read on.

It has been said here, I seem to recall, that when shooting HD nothing short of a high-end Sachtler or Vinten setup, and preferably an O’Conner, is what one needs to ensure acceptable footage. And when one sees the setups many folks have; huge cameras, gigantic lenses, endless attachments, I do appreciate that a tripod setup of that nature is de rigueur. When I shot the opening of the Mount Somers Walkway shelter on the south face I lugged my EX1 up the mountain and a porter carried my tripod. He has since resigned, the pay was less than satisfactory, he complained, and as yet I have not been successful in finding a replacement.

‘Carry it yourself. And do understand that anything less and your camera will wobble like my great grandmother after two glasses of sherry’, I can hear Soucy say. Well, Soucy is twice as big as me and half my age, and furthermore I doubt he has ever ventured with his kit more than 50 metres from his gigantic 4x4.

The good news; last week my little world of HD video changed dramatically, very much for the better, I am happy to report. A Sony CX700v arrived thanks to B&H, and when I opened the box I knew right away that B&H had got it wrong; this thing was just a toy and obviously a shipping screw-up had occurred. With serious skepticism I charged the battery and stepped outside and pressed the trigger. I was amazed; as some of you know, the footage was indeed HD and remarkably pleasing at that. Now, let me hasten to add this little 490g (with battery) monster will not replace my EX1 across the board but the next mountain I climb to shoot whatever this will be the kit I take along (with no attachments, not even the lens hood).

And so to my need for an ultra-lightweight tripod setup; I must carry it myself. I don’t need panning and tilting capability, nice but not necessary, but a leveling bubble would be a good thing. Light weight is very important, extremely important. These days even when shopping for a new cell phone weight is the first spec I look at.

Suggestions gratefully received.
John McCully is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 24th, 2011, 06:55 PM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Monterey Bay area, CA
Posts: 82
Re: Ultra-lightweight sticks and head for shooting HD.

JOBY GorillaPod SLR - Flexible tripod for SLR cameras
Tsu Terao is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 24th, 2011, 09:01 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fairfield, Dunedin, New Zealand
Posts: 3,634
Images: 18
Re: Ultra-lightweight sticks and head for shooting HD.

Geez, John.................

You don't want much, do you?

You sure set me a task and a half with that one.

Throwing caution to the winds and abandoning years of hard gained instinct, I set about trawling B&H's web site with a fine toothed comb for something that might fit the bill for such a dinky cam and watchword: Light.

How about this:
VariZoom CrossFire FP Multimode Stabilizer and VZ-CROSSFIRE-FP


OR:
VariZoom CrossFire FP Multimode Stabilizer VZ-CROSSFIRE-FPK B&H


Can't quite size them up from the B&H site but a bit of extra research on your part may be able to shed light on their usefulness or otherwise.

Struggled after that, as trying to find you anything that had a head levelling mechanism to save you trying to fiddle with leg lengths (ooh, don't go there, drive you nuts) was a bit of a mission.

However, this popped up from somewhere which MAY do the job at what is the lightest video setup with leveling head I can find:
Pearstone VT2500B Video Tripod System VT-2500B B&H Photo Video


In a similar vein:
Giottos 3-Section Video Tripod w/Leveling Ball BL1150N B&H Photo


Then you end up going for something like this:
Gitzo GH2781TQR Series 2 Traveler Center Ball Head GH2781TQR B&H

on the lightest stills sticks you can lay your hands on.

Going South from that, you're basically back to stills 'pods and leg fiddling again.

And no, I ain't gonna say ONE WORD about "you know what" and yes, the defibulator has been set up and charging ever since I read your post!



CS
Chris Soucy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 25th, 2011, 03:47 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 541
Images: 2
Re: Ultra-lightweight sticks and head for shooting HD.

I do appreciate you taking time on this and thanks for the leads. I didn’t mean for you to do my research but was thinking you, and others, may have had first-hand experience with lightweight support systems for these new small HD cams. While I seriously doubt Peter Jackson will use one of these dinky cams on his next production I imagine they will sell like hot cakes when the word spreads just how HD the footage is. While dinky cams have been around for a while the new generation that shoot HD are remarkable in terms of image quality and are useful beyond the mom and pop family shoots and the occasional tourist. No doubt there will be a plethora of hand-held HD rubbish captured and inflicted on family members but having said that I must admit that the built in stabilization control is impressive but certainly no serious substitute for a tripod. I find it amusing, no make that downright annoying, when I see tourists in Akaroa waving these cams about like magic wands, spinning around doing the quickstep to cover the field before scrambling back on the bus and heading off to the next destination. You just know the footage will be unwatchable in full HD. Oh well...

Tripods; while my various large systems designed to support kits weighing 20x the weight of the CX700v would obviously work I have to believe something much lighter might fill the bill.

Having said that it seems to me that no matter how light the cam there are realities that constrain size reduction. For comfortable shooting the sticks need to be long enough to bring the cam high enough for comfort and solid enough to not blow away in a breeze. I imagine the saving might be on the structural strength and not necessarily have the muscularity of the thighs of an All Black forward.

My quick look around the Internet suggests the Rolls Royce of sticks for this purpose might be the Gitzo GT0531 Mountaineer 6X Carbon Fiber legs costing an arm and a leg I should add. I’m interested to hear from anyone who has had experience with these sticks, or similar, cheaper perhaps...
John McCully is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 25th, 2011, 04:24 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Cambridge UK
Posts: 2,835
Re: Ultra-lightweight sticks and head for shooting HD.

Chris, hope the defibrillator is fully charged now.

I actually really like the Gorillapod SLR-Zoom (i.e. the heavier duty one). Make sure it also comes with the adjustable ball head which makes it MUCH easier to use and adjust in the field than the lesser Gorillapods, like the one linked to above. You can find the product info for it easily in another tab on that website. Works really well with my Panasonic TM900 - which is similar size and weight to the OP's new Sony cam that started this thread (and is "man enough" for supporting my much heavier Canon 7D and an L lens too, just, with care). I got it a few months ago and love it but you can only use it for static type shots, no panning etc. Great for clamping to all sorts of things (when you can) and when you don't just want pictures taken at ground level, yet small and light enough to always be in my rucksack with the small cams.

Of course, there are always times when you really need a proper tripod, as Chris keeps telling us.... [and long may he continue to do so!]
__________________
Andy K Wilkinson - http://www.shootingimage.co.uk
Cambridge (UK) Corporate Video Production
Andy Wilkinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 25th, 2011, 10:34 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Southern, CA
Posts: 198
Re: Ultra-lightweight sticks and head for shooting HD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John McCully View Post
My quick look around the Internet suggests the Rolls Royce of sticks for this purpose might be the Gitzo GT0531 Mountaineer 6X Carbon Fiber legs costing an arm and a leg I should add. I’m interested to hear from anyone who has had experience with these sticks, or similar, cheaper perhaps...
I was out shooting over the weekend with my Gitzo G1548 MK2, it extends to 7" taller than the GT0531, using the Gitzo self leveling head, Gitzo fluid head and my Panasonic HDC-TM700 on top of it.

It looked totally silly, but it weights 6.5 lbs. folded, defines stable and is fast to use. I have 3 other Gitzos that range in size from smaller to the largest set they've ever made. I reach for the carbon legs every time and love using them.

There are cheaper brands of CF legs but I think you get what you pay for. At least that's been my experience in the 30+ years I've been shooting.
Kirk Candlish is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Tripod Sticks & Heads

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:37 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network