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Old April 16th, 2007, 02:00 PM   #1
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Lightweight tripod for ENG?

Hi,

We're in the market for new tripods for our VJ's.

We use HVX-200's for the one man bands with a custom box mounted underneith the camera for a lav + switchable XLR's (1 inch in hight probably.)

Someone recommended me Millers SOLO DV with DS-10 heads, but they're only 63". I know the head gives some extra hight, but still I'm not certain it's enough to do standing interviews with tall people? Anyone that can give me an estimate on the total max hight?

Besides that we of course need stability, but ease of use and light weight is important too.

Things that bug me with our current tripods (manfrotto of some kind):

- Uses a small square quick release plate, so the camera tends to fall over when standing on the ground. I've missed many shots because I couldn't get the damn thing to stay stable before the action passed the frame.

- It has three legs, and you have to lock open one section on one leg at a time. Takes forever!

- Not high enough!
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Old April 16th, 2007, 02:33 PM   #2
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Try a beanbag for ground shots.
Lightweight tripods sacrifice stability. When a light breeze comes along, you'll wish you had a heavier tripod...but to each their own.
Forget adjusting the legs each time in the field. You need a head leveler or a tripod with half-bowl level that simply levels the head.

One man bands?
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Old April 16th, 2007, 02:44 PM   #3
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Of course we have the fluid heads. I mean everytime I have to set it up, or when I have to adjust the hight.

One man band = We're both doing the reporters and the photographers job.

We use Reporter/Photog teams for hard news stories, and for all our features we use VJ's.

I'm a reporter educated to be a videojournalist (I switch between vj/reporter), and we also have photogs educated to be videojournalists that switch between their two jobs aswell.

EDIT:

Oh yea a beanbag might do the trick, but I don't know where I would carry it in run and gun situations. Often I only have a few seconds to set up the shot.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 11:44 AM   #4
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light+fast does not mesh with smooth+stable. My compromise was to get a stable tripod and shoot handheld when I don't have time to set it up.

Thomas how is the VJ model working for you?
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Old April 17th, 2007, 12:06 PM   #5
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Okay well we're going to take a few models in for testing. I'd rather sacrifice lightweight over stability.

But can you (or anyone) recommend me a HIGH tripod? I'm not sure 63" is gonna cut it. Someone told me he saw a Manfrotto/Bogen tripod that was for dv-cameras, but had the same hight as our big ENG tripods?


I love being a VJ. I know exactly what pictures I'm getting, and I don't have to communicate my ideas to an editor afterwards. Of course it complicates things. You can't have the same focus on the story when you're in the field, so you have to prepare the story more than usual. And stand-ups are a hassle, but with some sequencing it's definately possible.

But with my love for great pictures, editing and the other pro's I mentioned, it's all worth it.

Works best with feature stories, because there's just no way a critical interview can be as focused when you have your mind on the camera aswell.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 01:10 PM   #6
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I use a vinten vision 3 - great head but the legs are kind of delicate - better used by the person who owns them. Check out the bogen roadrunner series.

Interesting - a TV station in Florida switched from crews to one man VJs and they say it has totally changed the types of stories they cover.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 02:03 PM   #7
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The Bogen 3246 or 3046 legs with the center column all the way up will get to about 10 feet BUT you will sacrifice stability with the center column all the way up. Also it's not the lightest legs in town. the legs weigh in about 9+ pounds add a head and it can get to be pretty heavy BUT if you want height and stability that you can carry with you they seem to work really well.

Don
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Old April 17th, 2007, 03:19 PM   #8
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We have Manfrotto (I think that's Bogens name in Europe?) tripods with center columns for some of our VJ's. I'm thankfull I don't have to use them!

You have to REALLY tighten the pole or the camera will slowly start to descent. So that road I definately don't want to go down. It's not a good system to work with either, in my opinion.

But maybe it's not possible to get that high a tripod with the proper stability. Or maybe we can get tripods that just aren't that stable at maximum hight. Often we only need that for interviews, and they're often indoor, or in an environment with almost no wind. Oh and on flat, solid ground too.

Peter:

I can imagine it did change the type of stories!

When I'm doing news with a photog I can write my track and make calls in the car on the way out. And on the way home I can log my interviews etc. So it's possible to use alot more time on research and do interviews quite far apart on a daily piece.

We have VJ's doing day to day aswell, and here you have to just get that one location and get there fast to make it work within the timeframe.

That's two very different types of stories. Couldn't imagine the reporter/photog teams being replaced by VJ's. That'll degrade our newscoverage severely.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 03:49 PM   #9
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I don't know which Bogen Manfrooto you're using but the 3246/3046 have lock downs on the center column an I've had a JVC5000 decked out (21 pounds) on them and the center column had never ever started on the downslide. They are heavy though especially with something more than say a 501 or 503 head on it.

Don
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Old April 17th, 2007, 03:59 PM   #10
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Most ENG tripods go up to about 62". The fluid head adds about 5" and your lens-to-head height with that box will add about 3-4". So really the maximum lens height is about 71". That's really tall considering you have to substract several inches from a person's height to get their eye height.

But if you really need to go even higher then your best option is the Miller Sprinter II XL, which is their special tall version. Maximum height is 76" (legs only), each leg releases both sections with one lever and it weighs 7.5 lbs. The bummers are: the folded length is 35" and it cost $1600.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #11
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The center column on the 3246 is ratcheted it wont slide down. You have to turn a handle to send it up or down. The 3246 is a few inches short of 6' at maximum extension.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 06:27 PM   #12
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OOOPS my apologies to all. I keep saying the 3246 with the leg extensions fully extended and the center column fully raised will go to 10 feet. Not so, it's 8 feet and Peter you are correct in that the 3246 goes slightly under 6 feet without the leg extensions or center column raised.
Again my apologies about the 2 foot difference but when you're only 5'6" tall EVERYTHING (well almost everything) looks bigger than it really is ;-)

Don
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Old April 18th, 2007, 06:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Le View Post
Most ENG tripods go up to about 62". The fluid head adds about 5" and your lens-to-head height with that box will add about 3-4". So really the maximum lens height is about 71". That's really tall considering you have to substract several inches from a person's height to get their eye height.

But if you really need to go even higher then your best option is the Miller Sprinter II XL, which is their special tall version. Maximum height is 76" (legs only), each leg releases both sections with one lever and it weighs 7.5 lbs. The bummers are: the folded length is 35" and it cost $1600.
Okay maybe the 62" will do then. I talked to a friend of mine who's a photog on another tv-station and they use Miller Solo-dv tripods for all their VJ's with great succes. Got to check them out.

And maybe we should get a 3246 in aswell.

Thanks for all the replies.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 08:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
OOOPS my apologies to all. I keep saying the 3246 with the leg extensions fully extended and the center column fully raised will go to 10 feet. Not so, it's 8 feet and Peter you are correct in that the 3246 goes slightly under 6 feet without the leg extensions or center column raised.
Again my apologies about the 2 foot difference but when you're only 5'6" tall EVERYTHING (well almost everything) looks bigger than it really is ;-)

Don
Don,
Haha, I was reading thru these posts and saw your first 10 foot estimation and I went "WHAT?!" It's so refreshing to see someone go back and make a correction like that! Thanks!

Thomas,
I've got 2 Bogen/Manfrotto systems. Both use the old style 3063 head (hex plate). One set of legs is the 3046, the other is the 3021. If you're looking for light weight, (relatively) the 3021 works well. If you need more stability (but a little more weight and less versatility) go with the 3046. As far as height goes, the 3021 is the taller of the two by about a foot (guessing here, haven't measured)

My uses are mostly weddings, with Canon's GL series cameras. I use the 3021 as my run and gun tripod system because of the lighter weight, and it doesn't have spreaders to get in my way when I need a quick re-leveling of the system. Plus, I can stradle objects if I need to.

Mark
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Old April 25th, 2007, 11:52 PM   #15
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The Miller Solo VJ (1505) goes up to 73"; without head.

I use the Manfrotto 3221 sticks, which reach to 79" when the center pole is fully extended. They're plenty stable for for static shots. But if the center post is fully extended, the zoom is in somewhat tight, and the wind begins to howl, I have noticed some slight vibrations. Otherwise, no problems. Never had the center pole slip under the [PD170+WA+Lectro 100 receiver+AT897+503 head+leveling bowl].

I've thought about tying it down to a gallon jug of water with a bungee cord, but haven't tried it yet.
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