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Old April 16th, 2007, 09:47 AM   #1
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100 lb tripod and head support?

OK. Bear with me. I have been asked by one of my sales people at work to locate a tripod that will support a 100lb camera, extend up to 8 ft tall and have a hydraulic spring loaded suport so the camera cannot come crashing down on the main support shaft. Does anyone know of anything like this?

I own an XLh1 and a pretty heavy duty Manfrotto Tripod and head that is rated up to 40lbs....but I have never had to deal with anything larger. I have not been able to get any information about what the camera is or why it weighs so much at this point. But I thought I'd put feelers out there to see if you guys know anything like this.

Thanks!
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Old April 16th, 2007, 10:16 AM   #2
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O'Connor has a brand new head that supports this type of weight, the 120ex. It's a beautiful piece of gear, I tested the prototype last year. It's just appearing now but I think it will run around $15K. Otherwise there is the Vinten Vector 70, about $12K.

Your best bet when working with a camera of this size is to use a dolly rather than a tripod, as otherwise any type of adjustment in position will require a major hustle on several people's parts. Chapman and Fisher are the best-known names in hydraulic dollies, with Panther and a variety of other brands floating around as well. This will allow for very precise height positioning and the ability to easily move the camera around assuming you are on flat ground. Alternatively you could use a pedastel base like those used in live television, although these are even more restrictive in terms of the terrain.

Standard tripod (sticks) for this size of head do not use a center column, hydraulic or otherwise. They can reach 8 feet by adding risers but for this weight of camera, would be impractical for the reasons listed above.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 10:46 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input. I am waiting to hear back from the sales person who is waiting to hear back from the client. It turns out that this is for a church so I am guessing it is a fixed position camera. I am also thinking the client grossly misjudged the weight. I will let you know when I hear something firm.

And for what it is worth, I threw out a general cost of a good "standard" tripod of $2k and he said they don't want to spend that much. Go figure!

I will update when I know more.

Peace!
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Old April 16th, 2007, 10:53 AM   #4
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If this is a video camera you could check out Vinten, who have been making heads, pedestals and other supports for full size studio cameras for years. Their Vector 700/700H Pan and Tilt Head can handle 150lb. Although, I don't think the standard studio or OB type pedestal goes up to eight feet - they're very much tripod height.

Tripods tend to go only go up to about 6ft. Given the camera weight, personally, I'd be inclined to put the camera on a full sized dolly like a Pee Wee fitted with risers to give you the extra height, fitted with a Mitchell type plate rather than using a 150mm leveling bowl. However, I'd also check with a dolly grip about about using a 100lb camera with the number of risers needed (sounds like 3 all together).
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Old April 18th, 2007, 03:02 AM   #5
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For what it's worth, the B&H page says that the Libec supports up to 98 pounds.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

True, false, misprint, typo, I know not!

A couple of people have said that the Libecs are pretty good, so I've been looking, but I have no experience with them or knowledge beyond what I've read.

Comments welcome. My rig with everything added will probably be under 10 pounds. I want to add weight for stability. But nowhere near 100 pounds!

On the other hand, does anyone really know what they mean when they rate a tripod for a given weight?

I have to really doubt, given the intrinsic strengths of the materials involved, that any tripod costing more than $150 would actually collapse under a 100 pound weight. I know I've leaned pretty hard on my Manfrotto still tripod, and I'm somewhat north of 300 pounds, and it didn't deflect noticeably. I also remember in my young and foolish days balancing on my old Linhof aluminum tripod (albeit at its minimum height setting) to get something off the top of a vehicle and neither it nor I came crashing to the ground. Of course, I was only a slender 225 in those days!
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Old April 18th, 2007, 05:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik View Post
And for what it is worth, I threw out a general cost of a good "standard" tripod of $2k and he said they don't want to spend that much. Go figure!
Don't believe what they saying! Do they think that they can get support for that monster camcorder without any cost!!!

Well, I have very good experience with my "monster"-tripod the Miller Arrow System: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
Yiiik, don't look at the price-tag! I was lucky got a real nice one second-hand :-)
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Old April 18th, 2007, 05:26 AM   #7
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It's not so much that the tripod is going to collapse under the weight, it's how stable is when you're operating the camera, how quickly you can set up a shot and how safe it would to leave a 100 lb camera at full height with people walking around it on a windy day.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 11:32 AM   #8
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Brian:

You must have missed my first post, as we covered nearly the same ground with head and dolly recommendations (great minds think alike, eh?)!

Safe to say though that when a 100 lb weight is in play (which is 15 lbs more than a Panaflex Platinum with 11-1 and Panahead), I'd want to go with a beefier dolly than a Pee-Wee, i.e. a Hustler or Hybrid. You'd only need 1-2 12" risers on those two and the arm would be more stable.

On Jim's query about weight capacity, I'd add that the legs need to have greater rigidity as the weight increases, as the amount of torque required to pan a 100lb camera is significant and you don't want to the legs to flex underneath you. Mostly though it's important to have a head that can handle that kind of weight throughout its tilt range--this is something that you never really have to worry about with lightweight heads but becomes very important as you move up. I'm an O'Connor owner myself (2575 and 1030) as they have great counter-balancing mechanisms that provide a constant tension throughout the range, which lets you tilt a full 90 degrees fore and aft. When you consider the effects of gravity on a mass that size that is being rotated from a neutral (horizontal) position to a leveraged (vertical position) with the center of gravity displaced that far from the pivot point, the task of keeping the sensation of a smooth, "floating" camera throughout the range is a daunting one!
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Old April 18th, 2007, 01:40 PM   #9
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I went for the Pee Wee mostly because we have them here, but I was getting concerned about putting so much weight on a lot of risers. The O'Connor is great, I always get one when shooting 35mm. I used to get the Sachtler Studio 7, but the O'Connor is now better.

The old Vinten studio heads had an interesting cam arrangement for use on the big 1" tube studio cameras.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 02:00 PM   #10
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I know we've pretty well all agreed 100lb is a typo, but remember that the weight of a big box lense plus camera and viewfinder can still be substantial, even now, the biggest killer isn't the weight, it's the damage the weight causes when moved quickly - as in momentum. The kind of heads that are designe to take this payload also make sure the camera/lense isperfectly balanced. The idea of the thing tilting forwards or backwards uncontrollably is quite scary to imagine. A few years ago I had an autocue fall off. The person who ounted the rails didn't clamp them properly and the camera was tilted down steeply, the monitor and mirror assessmbly dropped off the front - the shift in weight then let the camera tilt up violently, the headphone able was twisted around the pan handle and it pulled my head downwards smacking my eye/cheek against the top of the viewfinder hood. My black eye was impressive, luckily the contact with me stopped the head locking out. The sudden stop could have caused the tripod (on a skid) to fall over - sounds funny, but was pretty scary at the time.

If the 100lb is correct, then even at 6 feet, I'd not want to be around it without a 'real' heavy duty ped and head. usually some on eBay for around $6000, second hand.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 12:09 AM   #11
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Many thanks to Charles for his comments. I have dozens of years of still experience and not much video experience, so I tend to not think of things that are obvious to a lot of you - such as the effect of panning and tilting on the tripod's tendency to flex during the motion and the tendency for the camera to over balance as it's tilted. I've used some pretty heavy view cameras over the years, but once set up they remain (hopefully) in one position during the exposure.

The more I think about it, though, the less clear it is what the tripod makers really mean when they give a weight rating, ie whether it's about static weight bearing ability, or whether they've factored in some assumptions about the forces involved in panning and tilting.
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