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Old November 3rd, 2011, 04:06 PM   #1
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Twist at tripod head

First thing is I know I am using a tripod that does not do what I need it to do.

I am trying to shoot sports video for my kids and for the football games I have come up with the following setup for two cameras. I want both to pan together while I can pan/tilt with my tight shot camera.

MEGAPIX

When I pan I am getting twist at the tripod head and legs so I need to start looking for the "1" tripod that I want to purchase. I have 3 more years left of high school sports so I will get the use out of a good tripod but I don't want to break the bank either. I would like something light enough to carry up and down the stands but I do know I need something substantial enough to stop the twist issue and hold the equipment. I am also going to mount a Varizoom 7" monitor off of one end so I can frame my tight shot camera. The weight of my setup looks to be right at 11 lbs for both cameras, arm, monitor, and quick release to the tripod.

Tonight will be the first time for me to try out my new setup but it is the last game of the regular season. I will be shooting more playoff video this year so I hope to get the bugs worked out on this setup.

Suggestions for which tripod I should look at will be greatly appreciated. Something maybe in the $500 plus range would be in my budget as I know I am tight when it comes to toys like this. I also know I cannot use a set of sticks with a ground spreader since I will be sitting in the stands most of the time.
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 05:59 PM   #2
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Re: Twist at tripod head

Ooh, I can see where some of that "twist" is coming from, but that's not really the point.

The setup in the picture is a challenge for any tripod/ head system because of the effect of the "windup amplifier" connecting the cameras to the pivot point.

A 1/2 degree twist at the pivot point wouldn't look so bad if the camera was actually mounted at it, but stuck "out on a limb" as they are, that is one heck of a lot of movement.

Having the pan bar (lever 1) stuck out on the end of the "windup amplifier" (lever 2) is just adding insult to injury.

My suggestion, for what it's worth, would be to invest in a "decent" 75 mm bowl video tripod and a "decent" 75 mm ball video pan/ tilt head (we'll get to the definition of "decent" directly) and one of these type thingies:

Hague Twin Camera Mount

The setup outlined has a couple of major advantages over your current system:

1. The pan bar is now at the pivot point thus significantly reducing the windup force on the tripod.

2. With a decent pan/ tilt head you can get superbly smooth pans & tilts with both cameras simultaneously.

3. Keeping the camera to camera distance as small as possible reduces the "windup amplifier" effect significantly

4. With the cameras so close together it's easy to keep track of what each camera is seeing "live".

Now, for "decent".

First of all, I hear you, $500 or so. Hmm, gonna be a push, but lets take it from the top:

A good set of 75 mm sticks?

The best of the cheapest I've reviewed have been these:

Manfrotto 546B Pro Video Tripod w/Mid-level Spreader 546B B&H


Given your application, the vile mid level spreader shouldn't be an issue and could possibly be dispensed with entirely depending on your circumstances and at $440 are very good value.

Windup wise they ran a very close second behind the Vinten PoziLoc 3819's, but they're $820 on their own, $1120 odd if parked under a Vision Blue head thus:

Vinten VB-AP2M Camera Support System VB-AP2M B&H Photo Video


Of course, $500 - $440 = doesn't leave a lot of wriggle room on the head front. If you could put a little bit of extra moolah on that figure, I **could** suggest this rig:

Manfrotto 504HD Head w/546B 2-Stage Aluminum 504HD.546BK B&H


(Oh God, did I just do that?)

Now, I have to be totally honest here, that head has the counterbalance system from Hell (amongst other faults) BUT with a bit of creative engineering you may just be able to ameliorate it's worst excesses.

It has two "EasyLink connectors", basically threaded holes, one on each side of the head.

If you were to contrive/ find a bracket that would allow you to connect to one (or both) of these connectors and then right angle down with the LCD screen at the end BUT beneath the head pivot point, it would, depending on how much below it was or how much extra weight was added to it, almost perfectly balance your cams, no counterbalance necessary but maybe a tad of tilt drag.

Voila, CB system from Hades bypassed!

Don't know if any of this is your cup of tea, so I'll await feedback and other suggestions from "the team".


CS

PS: Just going to throw this in, gratis, as it has caught quite a few people out with even the best camera supports.

Do remember that if those cams have an OIS system, as most do, to turn it off when using them on a support of any sort. It can play havoc, with the picture jumping all over the place as it tries to correct for your pans and tilts.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; November 3rd, 2011 at 08:26 PM. Reason: +
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Old November 4th, 2011, 12:51 AM   #3
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Re: Twist at tripod head

The issue with the Hague Twin Camera Mount is that both cameras pan/tilt together. That does not work for my application since I am only panning with the wide shot camera while pan/tilting with the tight shot camera. I also have to have the cameras far enough apart so that the tight shot camera does not pick up the viewing screen from the wide shot camera while panning to the right or vice versa when panning to the left thus the spread on the Manfrotto Double Head Support.

After using this "thrown together" setup tonight I was very surprised at the outcome. Once I got the two
128RD (3130)
heads lined up and strapped together tightly the results were pretty good. It took me about 4 or 5 tries to get the velcro tight enough around both heads so the pan lag between the two heads was minimal. I shot the game using my tight shot camera and only having do minimal adjustments to the wide shot camera. My plan is to replace the velcro strapping with a timing (toothed) belt that has little stretch and an idler system to take up any slack.

So going back to my issue, my first concern is to get the best value tripod for my setup and then look at better heads to replace my 3130's. If I went with the
Manfrotto 546B
I could use the
Manfrotto 520Ball
to attach my Manfrotto doulble head support. My next step could be replacing the 3130's with
503HDV
heads since they can attach to the Manfrotto arm. Any other suggestions?

If I went with the
Vinten 3819-3
sticks is there anything like the
Manfrotto 520Ball
so I could attach the Manfrotto double head support? Then what heads would you use on the double head support?? I would also consider the VB-AP2F system if I could adapt it for 2 camera shooting.

I know I am making a bastard system but I believe this is the type of mounting system that will work for football filming. I could then use the same set of legs with a much better bowl head for 1 camera filming. I know I threw out the $500 range but I will spend more to get quality. I just don't see spending $2000 on a tripod system to shoot football for the kid.

Thanks

Last edited by Richard Davidson; November 4th, 2011 at 07:38 AM. Reason: added links
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Old November 4th, 2011, 01:17 AM   #4
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Re: Twist at tripod head

Hmm, mulling over your info and about to head out to dinner, so any response will be tomorrow.

Anything else you can throw in would be usefull - links to some of the stuff mentioned would be a real help, as I'm not familiar with them (that you know about the 520 Ball tells me you aren't a complete jerk!) [Joke and a Godsend]

Now the ante has been upped, more options are open, it's that bastard system of yours which is the major stumbling block.

We'll get there!

Regards,


CS
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Old November 4th, 2011, 07:53 AM   #5
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Re: Twist at tripod head

Added the links and Google is a powerful weapon in the hands of someone that can type. My issue with sticks and heads are the mounting points due to working around the Manfrotto double head mount, all 3/8" screws. Limits my choices as to what I can use.

My belief is that with a better system tying the two heads together (less slack) and a smoother panning head that the video will be pretty good. Will I have smooth pans and professional looking video, no but I am just shooting football. I believe it will be better than most but my main goal is to control the second camera while only shooting with the first.

Then using the same set of sticks with a bowl type head will give me a great setup for one camera filming. I am also trying to keep the cost down as right now I have less than $1400 in that total rig. 1 Sony CX520V that was new, a used CX500V, both 3130's (1 is new), the new Manfrotto arm, and the Varizoom monitor (almost new).

Thanks for the help
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Old November 4th, 2011, 08:49 AM   #6
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Re: Twist at tripod head

I shot football game film for 5 years. I see exactly what you are doing with the rig to pan both cameras with different composition. Nice rig.

Go with a video tripod not single pipe photo tripods. You can get a lot of bang for the buck on eBay.... maybe an older ball/bowl set who's head is a don't care but the legs are nice. 75mm or 100mm ball would both be an option. One-stage or at least 2:2:1 legs also preferable. I think Chris tested twist on a bunch of legs and published a spreadsheet on the results. Search here on DVinfo.

The trick is mating your rig to the bowl on the legs. Manfrotto makes some 75 and 100mm balls that may help.... here's one:
Manfrotto 520BALL 75mm Half Ball 520BALL B&H Photo Video

For sure a mid level spreader. A good shoulder strap will help hauling it up the stands and free your hands for other stuff.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #7
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Re: Twist at tripod head

Here is one play (30 sec) that I shot last night illustrating what I am trying to accomplish.

single play pan

I am filming the play with the camera on the left (CX520V) that is used for the "tight"shot (panning/tilting). The second camera on the right (CX500V) is following the play when I pan with the first camera. All that is connecting the two heads is some double stick velcro on the heads and a 15' velcro strap wrapped around the bases of both heads. I thought the wide shot did a pretty good job of keeping the play in the center of the frame while panning down the field.

Would a
Manfrotto 3191
tripod be something that could work in my case? Only thing I see wrong is the 60" height.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 12:31 PM   #8
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Re: Twist at tripod head

This is something I made a while back but iit worked pretty well. I took a piece of 1/4" aluminum flat stock 2" wide and about 18" long. I found the center and drilled and tapped a 3/8" hole so I could use the 3/8" mounting bolt from my Manfrotto QR plate which then would mount to my 501hdv head on the 525 legs.
I then drilled and tapped 2 3/8" holes about 2 1/2 inches in each direction from the center hole. I mounted 2 501 HDV heads using some 3/8" hex head bolts I had, mounted it all up and BAM! I could control both cameras with either the main head or individually with the 501hdv heads. I set it up for football and was able to use one camera as a wide master shot and the other one tight on a particular player and by using the main head to follow the action I was able to keep everything within frame and still see the overall play develope. Well at least for the most part. Since I had the aluminum flat stock and bolts laying around anyway it didn't really cost me anything but about an hour of my time (I even painted it flat black). I only used the setup 3 times to make a scholorship video for this one kid (his family is close to mine otherwise I don't think I would have done it) but for what it cost me (nothing) and for what I needed it actually worked very well although there was a bit of flex on the far ends of the flat stock but after the first time using it I cut the ends in closer and that seemed to help. Anyway it worked and the video came out well.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 04:27 PM   #9
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Re: Twist at tripod head

OK, here goes.............

The setup Don just described is pretty well what I'm proposing, albeit a slightly more "home made" version.

In your current setup the main mount bar is kept parralell to the near edge of the field of play, and the camera(s) angle is changed to follow the action.

In my proposal, the camera angles remain perpendicular to the mount bar at all times, it is the mount bar that changes angles with the near edge of the field of play.

The advantages of the latter are:

1. As the cameras are always perpendicular to the mount bar and thus the centre lines of the field of view of both are parallel, neither camera can ever see the other no matter how wide or tight they are zoomed, thus they can be mounted MUCH closer together. This significantly reduces the bar length and thus the amount of movement.

2, One (good) head controls/ supports both cameras. Yes, this does mean both cameras tilt as well as pan, but the wide shot cam will show infinately less tilt than the tight shot cam, simple physics. I cannot see this being an issue.

Moving on, given the amount of Manfrotto stuff you already have, I'd take that Vinten out of the mix for a start.

The 500/ 520 Ball adapters will work with any 75/ 100 bowl tripod, so make of 'pod is not an issue, it's purely a question of cost and rigidity, 100 mm being the better option by far. Ebay is awash with the things BUT, you won't know how rigid any particular unit is till you try it and if you insist on continuing with your current setup you really are setting ANY tripod a real challenge.

If you want to get a bit of weight lifting practice in for the next Olympics, you could try trawling for a used Manfrotto 528XB system, gut busters extraordinaire but boy, are they SOLID (and rigid)!

Manfrotto 528XB Pro Video Heavy Tripod - Single Leg

The down side is that in order to run'ngun with a set of 528's, you do need to be an Olympic Gold weight lifter.

Other than that, well, you pays yer money etc.

As for head(s), using your existing arrangement means it's showing up tripod flaws in the main, the heads not so much. I'm hesitant to suggest improvements in case my suggestion won't work with that belt arrangement.

If you change to my suggested system, the arrangement will mostly be showing head imperfections, so it would pay to get the best head you can afford, remembering that you only need one as it's the only game in town, the cameras being fixed on the mount bar.

Ball back in your court.


CS

PS: A little more research has turned up that the Manfrotto bar you already have can be converted to take two cameras (without any heads required) with the whole shebang then mounted on a video head. See the bottom of this link: http://www.b-hague.co.uk/manfrotto_t...ipod_mount.htm

Nearly there then!

PPS: The Manfrotto 3191 would appear to be no longer available.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; November 4th, 2011 at 08:39 PM. Reason: ++Update
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Old November 5th, 2011, 02:08 AM   #10
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Re: Twist at tripod head

My personal preference to doing multicam off a single tripod would be to simplify by having three default pan offset positions for the wide camera which with practice makes pre-sighting and aquisition with the narrow-view camera easier when you learn just where the narrow views are centred in the wide view.

Wide view defaults will be offset right (leading), to give noseroom for panning right, centre for matching narrow view centre and offset left for panning left. You would need to build in some adjustment to match each venue.

For most comfortable composition, the centre of narrow view needs to be in a position lower than centre in the wide view.

Pan lead defaults should be easy enough to set up with your current rig if you add a springloaded jockey pulley to your velcro "drive belt" and future cog belt layout. The lead limit could be adjusted by restricting the travel of the jockey pulley arm. You would need to have enough frictional resistance to make the narrow view camera lag behind the wide view when panning the wide-view camera.

If you have a good fluid head under the tandem bar and the narrow view camera locked off on the bar, using the wide view camera's pan arm to actuate the pan movement of the whole assembly should do it for you, whilst sighting through the narrow view camera. Leading the tilts would be another matter, too complicated to set up and probably un-necessary if the wide camera view is wide enough and a fixed vertical offset is deep enough..

A collateral benefit of tracking with your narrow view camera is that your wide view movements will be the absolute smoothest.

I was a bit lazy. I filed a bit of metal off the piece of flatbar I used as a side arm for the wide-view camera on my ground-to-air rig and left the 1/4" bolt holding it down to the inner plate just a little bit slack against a few springwashers and flatwashers sandwiched. It was just enough for about five degrees of movement which was not quite enough for my widest views but adequate.

Last edited by Bob Hart; November 5th, 2011 at 02:38 AM. Reason: error
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Old November 5th, 2011, 02:12 PM   #11
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Re: Twist at tripod head

1) Will a 100mm half-ball adapter fit pretty much any tripod with a 100mm bowl or do I need to stay with that particular brand??

2) The reason I started with this type of mount is to keep the wide angle camera from tilting when the tight shot is tilting. I had researched the single bar with two cameras mounted on it and decided that was not the direction I wanted to go. OK, I know I am difficult but that is what makes the project.

3) Right now I know my equipment is at it's worst but my cost is at it's lowest. Instead of jumping off and spending a bunch of money I am trying to tackle one thing at a time and figure out what might be best. The only reason I have the new Manfrotto arm, head, and quick release is I knew I needed a solid base to work off of. The arm is mounted to a
Manfrotto 625
quick release which I choose for the 3 points of contact on the base. The second 128RC head was purchased because that is what I already had. That way I am not guessing which head is giving me issues, it should be both or none this way.

4) As it is right now the wide angle camera needs the tilt to be adjusted as the plays move down to either end of the field. As it goes through it's arc then it drops out of the center of the field frame but not by much. Also the zoom has to be adjusted as the plays end up at either end but both of those are very minor adjustments.

5) I can still find new Manfrotto 3191 tripods at a price of $350 so that is not an issue. But if I get the answer to #1 then I might go for a better quality tripod that I can pop a half ball into and film football.

6) My goal is to get equipment that I can get most of my money out of when I move up in quality. Like my 2 - 128RC heads, I might lose about $40 at the most when I resale both of them. My current tripod is a throw away since I paid so little for it including the 128RC head.

So, which way do I go now??
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Old November 5th, 2011, 03:06 PM   #12
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Re: Twist at tripod head

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Davidson View Post
1) Will a 100mm half-ball adapter fit pretty much any tripod with a 100mm bowl or do I need to stay with that particular brand??

Yes and no. Yes, it will fit just about any 100 mm tripod and no you don't need to stick to one particulasr brand.

That is not a blanket pass BTW, when it comes to pan/ tilt heads it can get a lot messier.

Quote:
2) The reason I started with this type of mount is to keep the wide angle camera from tilting when the tight shot is tilting. I had researched the single bar with two cameras mounted on it and decided that was not the direction I wanted to go. OK, I know I am difficult but that is what makes the project.

OK, I'll stop trying to make you see sense and just get on with it.

Quote:
5) I can still find new Manfrotto 3191 tripods at a price of $350 so that is not an issue. But if I get the answer to #1 then I might go for a better quality tripod that I can pop a half ball into and film football.

Round about here it starts getting messy..................

Quote:
6) My goal is to get equipment that I can get most of my money out of when I move up in quality. Like my 2 - 128RC heads, I might lose about $40 at the most when I resale both of them. My current tripod is a throw away since I paid so little for it including the 128RC head.

Bloody hell, don't want much, do you?

Quote:
So, which way do I go now??

I'm minded of that very old Irish joke, where a couple of tourists ask a country bumpkin in darkest back country how they can get to Dublin.

After a great deal of chin rubbing, mutterings to self and scrutinising of each road in turn, the answer is............ (forgive my diabolical Irish accent btw)...........

" Well, I'm not really sure, but I wouldn't start from here".


But, start we must.

First things first - take the entire rig off that tripod.

Then, using an appropriately threaded 3/8" bolt/rod/ whatever, bolt it to the most rigid object you can find, a 100 lb block of concrete would be ideal.

Do make sure it's somewhere you can really use it in anger, as it is imperative you establish how many of your problems are inherant in the rig, before you go any further.

It is quite possible that the stresses you are applying to the Manfrotto bar/ heads/ mounting stud/ quick release give rise to most of the movement. Whatever, there's no point going into tripods till that has been established.

When you have the answer, get back to us.

Hows that?


CS
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Old November 5th, 2011, 03:32 PM   #13
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Re: Twist at tripod head

A direction, that is what I need. Once I get that done and shoot a clip will that help determine the issues at hand??

On the answer to the 100mm ball question, does that mean some ball pan/tilt heads will not fit well with other manufacturer tripods?
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Old November 5th, 2011, 03:56 PM   #14
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Re: Twist at tripod head

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Davidson View Post
.......... Once I get that done and shoot a clip will that help determine the issues at hand??

One would hope it gets you started. If, when attached to said 100 lb block of concrete, the results are not acceptable, you've got some hard decisions to make about the rigs configuration, components or both.


Quote:
.......... does that mean some ball pan/tilt heads will not fit well with other manufacturer tripods?
I think he's got it!

Vinten and Libec heads, with their chunky 4 lobed clamp knobs, are particularly notorious in this regard.


CS
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Old November 5th, 2011, 05:33 PM   #15
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Re: Twist at tripod head

As stated in my introduction to this forum, I am a Texan and an Aggie therefore some would consider that 2 strikes to begin with.

I will get the bastard rig mounted in some manner and post the results. My guess from fooling around with it is that it is pretty solid right now. Due to the design of the Manfrotto arm it did take a pretty big set of slip joint pliers in order to tighten the knobs to the quick release and heads (that is a truly crappy design) as a plain bolt head would have been much better to work with.

I will admit that I have not been able to find anyone else that has done this and maybe for good reason. I just haven't found my good reason yet as I was pretty pleased with my first test the other night. I just know I found some very weak points in my setup so you might say its off to the races to find the solutions if they are there.

Don't give up on me yet, we just might end up with a pretty neat item here. After all I did start my college career off as an engineering major.
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