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Old October 16th, 2014, 06:56 AM   #1
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Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

I started this thread on the suggestion of Noa as it seems to be worthy of a thread in it's own right.

I use a wide tripod head baseplate, which is about 11" width. It has 2 mounting slots and screws with an extra threaded hole for extra mounting screws at either end. This enables me to use two cameras on the same tripod and still have room to add an led light and flash without attaching them to the cameras. It's very useful for my stills and video package, where I can have a dslr and video cam to capture the stills and video at the same time.

The downside of course is that panning or tilting the head will move both cameras. That becomes a problem if the second camera is being used for a wide shot with fixed framing, while the main camera is used for dtail shots that require movement. My simple answer to that is to use a clamp with ball head mount. Which I attach to the centre column of the tripod. It then remains unaffected by tripod head movement, but can still be quickly reframed for a change of shot.

I like to be very mobile and lightweight, so use velbon tripods and small 3 cmos video cams, so the whole rig can be moved instantly. I can also unclamp the camera from the column mount and re clamp it virtually anywhere in seconds. An IR remote still allows me to stop and start the clamped camera and take stills up to about 30ft away.

Roger
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Old October 16th, 2014, 07:23 AM   #2
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

Pictures Roger.... pictures!!!!
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Old October 16th, 2014, 07:44 AM   #3
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

I do a similar thing to use two video cams at the same time. I prefer not to have both cams on the head as I feel that is too restrictive. I clamp the 2nd cam to a tripod leg leaving the centre column free. I would not attach a cam for stills to the tripod as I feel you have to be far more varied and quick in your stills compositions for that to work well.

I've used the various chinese friction arms but I don't like to trust them. I've had several fail under not a lot of pressure. I use a Manfrotto Superclamp with a Manfrotto 042 extension arm and a ball head. You can see it attached to a chair here:

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/videos...48-03_ankr.jpg

It is very solid and the jaws on the clamp open wide enough to attach to a lot of different fixtures.

You can just about see it attached to a tripod leg here:

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/videos...99-04_rjmk.jpg

The clamp can stay on the tripod when not in use and the arm is small enough to stash anywhere.

Of course sometimes the leg mounting will be too low for flattering compositions for parts of the ceremony etc.

Pete
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Old October 16th, 2014, 08:45 AM   #4
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

I have a bar from Manfrotto that mounts on a tripod, it holds two heads. Used it when I used DSLRs cameras.
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Old October 16th, 2014, 10:29 AM   #5
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

In response to Dave's frantic pleading, I quickly set up the tripod and baseplate with some cams and bits and took some pics with the iPad.

A few more bits than I would usually hang on it, but shows the possibilities. From front left to right top
132 led dimmable light
Panasonic Lumix FZ200 with Speedlite (Could be my Canon Dslr instead)
Panasonic SD750 3cmos with mini wind damper on mic and controlled by remote on panhandle.
Mic with Rycote wind damper connected to SD750
Panasonic SD750 on clamp on tripod central column.

For shooting in 3d, I can use a pair of the 750s or FZ200s using a twin wired remote on the 750s and wireless triggers on the FZ200s.

For weddings I would have the 3 cameras for a cramped ceremony, but use the clamp for a wider angle if space permits and the GoPro for another angle. I wouldn't need the light and mic during the ceremony as I use portables. For school productions, 3 cameras on the tripod with two locked and Claire, my wife operating the fourth and probably the GoPro at stage front. All but the GoPro monitored through a vision mixer with large multi view monitor so we can see what each camera is doing on all stage production shoots.

The Panasonic 700/750s are due to be retired before next season, although they have been so reliable and such good quality, that I am a bit reluctant to change something that works so well. I may look at the 920s as they could all be controlled and monitored by wifi and they have a slightly bigger sensor so should be even better in low light. As I am also intending to get a Panasonic FZ1000, I will probably wait to see how that performs before making my mind up on the others.

Roger
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Last edited by Roger Gunkel; October 16th, 2014 at 10:31 AM. Reason: Extra pics
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Old October 16th, 2014, 10:33 AM   #6
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

Only seem to be able to load 1 pic per post, so here is one from the other side.

Roger
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Old October 16th, 2014, 12:07 PM   #7
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

I'm not sure how practical wifi is for solo operators and small teams - though I may not be up to date with the tech.

I use it with my GoPro2 occasionally, in conjunction with my Galaxy S3 phone or Ipad3. However I have to scan and select the cams own wifi network. Presumably I'd have to do that for each of multiple cams, therefore it would get very ponderous switching networks each time especially midshoot unless you have one controlling device per cam.

I tend to compose the GoPro whilst in wifi as in this photo but then switch to manual:

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/videos...52-03_ankr.jpg

Also my GoPro has been prone to crap out during a long ceremony if its on wifi, though bizarrely its still recording sometimes :- (

Incidentally I've found its spot metering to be very useful in strong backlit scenarios. Thats when wifi control comes into its own as you can see exactly what the cam is seeing then just reframe a bit so its metering on a better spot.

It is of course a lot easier to get through some of these cam menus using a phone than the actual cam.

Pete
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Old October 16th, 2014, 12:15 PM   #8
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

I use my GoPro on wifi, with an android phone to set up and monitor. I use it with a usb power supply, so power is no problem and I have never had it miss a beat during long recordings. It is a Hero3 Silver, so perhaps more reliable than the Hero2. I've also got a GoPro clone which I will be trying out at a wedding for the first time this weekend.

Roger
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Old October 16th, 2014, 03:53 PM   #9
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
The downside of course is that panning or tilting the head will move both cameras.
Roger
For simply mounting two cameras, or three or four, why not just buy this: Manfrotto 131DDB Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads 131DDB B&H

Each camera gets it's own head if desired, and can be moved independently of each other.
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Old October 16th, 2014, 04:10 PM   #10
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

I'll have to post pix of my "hydra" setup, but it looks rather related to Rodgers set up... although with 4K, it's suddenly become a bit redundant. Last shoot I pulled the extra bits and just mounted the AX100 on a single head, then transferred to a Sirui monopod for the rest of the day - very freeing.
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Old October 16th, 2014, 05:29 PM   #11
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

Hi Jeff,

Looks like a useful mount, but all the cameras on it appear to be on ball joints, which makes them individually adjustable but with no smooth pan and tilt that would come from a fluid head. For weddings, the main cam has to have full motion to constantly follow the shot, which is why I prefer to clamp the fixed wide cam on the non moving central shaft. The only other cam on the main plate, will follow the action along with the main cam, for stills or an alternative framing of what the main camera is seeing.

Dave, my thinking for the new year is very much like yours, with a 4k cam to crop the alternative shots from.

Roger
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Old October 16th, 2014, 07:01 PM   #12
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

Hey Roger, the picture Jeff posted is the accessory that I use. Re the heads, you supply your own; it doesn't come with them. So, you're quite able to use a head that gives better panning ability.

Doesn't mean this setup is without its downsides of course -- yours is much more nimble. On the other hand, the Manfrotto setup might be able to cope with greater camera weight (but would also require a chunky tripod).

Will post some photos/video when I get a chance.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 12:36 AM   #13
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

I have seen people mounting a Canon EOS-M on the hot shoe of of 5D Mark 3. Very interesting.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 03:37 AM   #14
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

Hi Adrian,

Yes 'Nimble' is probably a good description of my setup and enables me to change or add things very quickly. The Manfrotto bar looks interesting although I think it may require more fiddling around to mount heads etc. Could be good for my stage shoots though, where once setup there is no need to change anything.

Pics would be interesting if you get the time.

Roger
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Old October 19th, 2014, 12:28 AM   #15
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Re: Mounting 2 cameras on one tripod

Hi Roger, there's definitely some fiddling required with the Manfrotto arm, but I normally don't detach the heads from mine -- just leave them permanently attached.

Ok, here's a quick and nasty demo vid I recorded at 4am last night after a 2am finish at a wedding. Apologies for dodgy image quality and for annoying wristwatch, etc.

My setup is: aluminium Sachtler hotpod with a Manfrotto head. Not sure of the weight this can carry, but what I'm putting on top feels like around max capacity. I'm attaching the Manfrotto tripod arm to it with a quick release plate, and have two small Manfrotto heads on top of that. The cameras are a 5DMk2 with a 100-400 and a 5DMk3 with a 70-200 and Rode microphones.

Total weight: around 8kg.

I then conduct a panning test for vibration. What really seems to make a difference is image stabilisation -- I give the other camera a few taps with IS turned off first, then on. Note that the lens I'm using on the puppet is 400mm: on a wide angle, I don't know if you'd notice much vibration at all, especially with IS. If you mounted the tripod arm directly to the tripod, instead of to another fluid head, I think any vibration from panning would be even further reduced. Add a bit of stabilisation in post, and you could eliminate it entirely.

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