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Old February 13th, 2014, 12:25 AM   #1
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Solo shooter, multi handicam tripod recommendations?

For those of you solo shooters shooting weddings with multiple small cameras and/or HDSLRs, which tripod & head combinations work for you as far as ease of transporting and setting up?

I'm currently using a Manfrotto 755XB with a 501 head for my Canon XF100.I have an XA10 clamped onto one of the tripod legs for a wide cover shot that I'd like to put on a separate tripod to get a different angle. I also use a 60D on a BHDV monopod for beauty shots.

Not sure if I want to get another 755XB/501 combo for the XA10 as carrying two of those tripods, a monopod, slider & the camera bag gets a bit cumbersome for a solo shooter.

Thought about doing a light stand/tripod head combo like another member had posted about, but since half my weddings are on the beach or other uneven terrain, leveling the camera would be problematic.

Thinking of swapping out the 755XB/501 and replacing it with two lighter carbon fiber tripods with leveling video heads. Just trying to get all my gear down to the lightest, most manageable setup for a solo shooter.
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Old February 13th, 2014, 07:18 AM   #2
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Re: Solo shooter, multi handicam tripod recommendations?

Manfrotto Master Stand - they're brilliant, easy to transport and set up - and very sturdy

Amazon.com: Manfrotto 1004BAC Master Stand (Black): Camera & Photo

Along with FLM Centreball 18

FLM Ball Heads - FLM Canada

A winning combination for any terrain - i always weight them down with sandbags as well

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Old February 13th, 2014, 10:49 AM   #3
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Re: Solo shooter, multi handicam tripod recommendations?

Lightstands work great for lighter b-cams but you would need to use ball heads by default if you are normally on uneven surfaces as you appreciate.

The trouble with ball heads is they take longer to level - and time is always in short supply as a solo shooter. Plus they take longer to re-align if you need to change the cams composition on the fly. Of course you'd have to level a tripod anyway.

The FLM ball heads that Peter linked to are very strong for their size. I have lots of the smallest version.

For lightstands I like the Cheetah type that fold themselves when lifted. The one downside to that is they do make a slight amount of noise metal to metal when they fold so you have to be quite stealthy if you do it mid-ceremony.

I prefer to keep 2nd cams away from the main cam tripod whenever possible. I want greater variety than that plus I think it looks intimidating to non-pros and thats the last thing you want written on the clients faces at weddings.

If you don't want to haul around heavy duty lightstands but find that you do need some extra heft occasionally e.g. when the cam may be jostled by guests, its easy to attach a counter-weight meant for boom arms to the base of the stand - a lot more practical than sandbags. I have a few of these Calumet 8.8lb weights:

https://www.calumetphoto.co.uk/produ...weight/MF6212/

These monopod quick release heads from Manfrotto can be a better choice than pan and tilt heads like the 701 when on level ground. You pan just by turning the lightstand having loosened one butterfly nut and you tilt by using the heads screw:

Monopod Quick Release Head 234RC - Tilt Heads | Manfrotto

So many cams and lenses now have effective image stabilisation built in so you don't need to be overly concerned about lightstands being less stable than tripods. And lightstands have a tremendous height advantage.

I have these Op Tech Pro Loop System Connectors on my lightstands and just clip normal Op Tech shoulder straps to them. That enables you to carry several at the same time.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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Old February 13th, 2014, 04:09 PM   #4
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Re: Solo shooter, multi handicam tripod recommendations?

Thanks Peter and Peter for the quick replies. :-)

I've been eyeing the Cheetah Stands and probably will pick up a few. Thanks for the tips on the ballheads and carrying straps.

While the light stands would work for some of the weddings I do, there are some locations where that would not work. One of the wedding venues that I shoot at is an outdoor lawn facing the ocean. The lawn area is flat for the gazebo and first two rows of chairs, then slopes downward from there. When I'm set up behind the back row of chairs, I'm on a 15-20 degree slope - not ideal for a light stand, even if sandbagged. A tripod would work better in this instance since I can shorten one leg to level it out.
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Last edited by Todd Mizomi; February 14th, 2014 at 05:43 AM.
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Old February 13th, 2014, 05:38 PM   #5
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Re: Solo shooter, multi handicam tripod recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
For lightstands I like the Cheetah type that fold themselves when lifted. The one downside to that is they do make a slight amount of noise metal to metal when they fold so you have to be quite stealthy if you do it mid-ceremony.
Pete
Interesting I was unaware of these but just saw them on YouTube. Where can you buy these in the UK?
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Old February 14th, 2014, 02:42 AM   #6
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Re: Solo shooter, multi handicam tripod recommendations?

Dave, I think the only option now is to ship from the USA. Thats expensive unless you buy several at the same time.

The smaller C8 copes well with a handycam especially if its not going to get jostled. A C8 with a Manfrotto monopod head on top like I linked to is low profile so its not going to spoil compositions by being prominent in other cams compositions on a multicam shoot. Its also good for holding an audio recorder in front of a choir and, some Z96 type video lights up high. And for flashguns if you're into that. I have two C8's.

The larger C12 is for heavier equipment or for when you need a stand to fight back guests. I have three of them. I have the air-cushioned version - which I'm not sure they do any more - which is good if you have a heavy lot of gear atop as it lets it down gently.

As I say they do make a noise when the legs close so you have to lift them stealthily in quiet ceremonies but the ability to reposition your entire rig in crowded spaces without mucking about with manually raising and lowering legs is terrific.

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Old February 14th, 2014, 05:42 AM   #7
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Re: Solo shooter, multi handicam tripod recommendations?

They also just came out with a C10, larger than the C8, but smaller footprint than the C12.
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Old February 15th, 2014, 04:59 AM   #8
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Re: Solo shooter, multi handicam tripod recommendations?

I know several shooters here in the UK who swear by the Steddiepod Barber Tech Video Products
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Old February 19th, 2014, 03:01 AM   #9
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Re: Solo shooter, multi handicam tripod recommendations?

I use the Steddie Pods from time to time as a tripod.

You have to be a little brave to leave one unattended with a camera fixed to it. They are not the most stable tripod solution. They are great as a impromptu solution when in a fix, but as a dedicated tripod they are lacking.

I have recently bought some carbon fibre travel tripods from Hong Kong. Light weight, sturdy and work well with a Manfrotto head on.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 12:33 PM   #10
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Re: Solo shooter, multi handicam tripod recommendations?

My main big tripod is a Manfrotto 3251/501 combo that's like 14 years old. Heavy and robust I use my NX5 on that.

I use a newer 755xb with 701 head which holds a canon HV40

I also will use a 561 BHDV monopod with essentially a 701 series head for my XA20 when I can walk around and get other shots during the ceremony.

So my main 3 support sources are all the same head/plate combo.

I also have a couple odds and end cheapo tripods with different plates that I will use if necessary for like a GoPro or Nikon V1.
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