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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 7th, 2006, 07:49 AM   #1
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Tripod Questions

Hey All!

I'm just about to invest in a couple of new tripods. I'm looking at the Manfrotto 3246 legs with the Bogen 501 head. I like the 3246 tripod because of its height capabilities. The problem is, when I'm shooting that high, it's very tiring to be constantly reaching up to work the controls on the camera. I've considered looking into a tripod that has controls on the tripod arm. I've also thought about the Bogen 516 head, which comes with two tripod arms. (The 501 comes with a single tripod arm.) Anybody have experience with a two-arm, controls-on-the-tripod-arm set up? Do you like that kind of a system? If so, can you recommend a good system for around the price range I'm looking at? (The Bogen 501/Manfrotto 3246 system I was considering goes for $379 at B & H, but I'm willing to go up a little bit.)

Let me know what you think!

Thanks!
-Dave
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Old August 7th, 2006, 10:21 AM   #2
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I use the 3246s and the height is great-I use a zoom controller to operate the camera and typically if the tripod is that high I tape the controller down lower so I can get to it.
I also use the 515 legs with a 516 head for my full sized camera and depending on what I'm shooting I will use 2 arms on the head but for the most part I use just 1. The 2 arms gives me a place to put my left hand and rest my right hand by taking it off the handle and for certain work the 2 handed grip works really well for me for very very slow pans. I'm a bit shakey at my old age so I need all the help I can get ;-)
Again though it depends on what I'm doing as to whether or not I use 2 arms on the head. I love the 516 as it will carry the weigh and is very smooth in both pan and tilt once you have it correctly adjusted.

Don
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Old August 7th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #3
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Thanks, Don.

Follow up question for Don & everybody else:

I've never used a LANC controller. Who makes a good one at a good price? My cameras are SONY PD170's.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 11:30 AM   #4
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I've been using a Varizoom Stealth for my 150s but unfortunately it just died, it was about 4 years old and finally gave up the ghost. I think the wire broke in the insulation as I had a bad habit of wrapping the wire around the unit.
Varizoom has a few as does Bogen-they all do the same thing and again unfortunatley the zoom on the 170 is a bit rocky when you first start it out with the controller BUT once you practice a bit you can get spme pretty nice slow zooms-it's all in the thumb ;-o

Don
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Old August 7th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #5
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Hi Dave,

I've custom made my own Extendable (2' to 4') Single and Two Handled Control Arm systems. Can change them out in 5 mins. Can use the OEM single handle if I want to, but never do, as I find the longer handles to be much easier and to have better control. My Bogen TriPod 3011 and Head 3126 work just fine with this system.

That way I can sit or stand and have the Cam at about 7'. I use an LCD monitor (5" to 15") to see what Cam sees.

I've got a second TriPod set up this way too.

I use a Sony Wired Remote handle from one of their TriPods (2 speed) and I have fabricated each of my Sony Cams (4) Infrared Remotes to be used with fiberoptic cables to the Cams, either freehand or attached to the control arms, for the Zooming and Cam on/off.

I have my TriPods "PreWired", so I can simply mount the Cam, then plug in power, remotes (wired and fiberoptic), and Video/Sound outputs.

I can use the handles and remotes with either hand, which makes long shoots a bit easier. Some of the Horse Shows I do can last 12 hrs.

Harold
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Old August 8th, 2006, 07:59 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info, guys.

Do you guys prefer the slider-type zoom controller on the Verizoom, or do you like the rocker-type on the Bogen?

Also, which one has a better focus function?
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Old August 8th, 2006, 08:43 AM   #7
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I use this http://varizoom.com/products/controls/vzrock.html if I use one. I've been very happy with it, but any thing like this will have a learning curve.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 09:55 AM   #8
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Yeah I have a VZROCK too for my FX1, but I will never buy anything from Varizoom again, I had the thing 3 weeks and it broke on me, emailed Varizoom three times, they still have yet to get back to me. I posted a ticket on their website and gave up. Their reliability from my experience is very low. When I buy a new controller I'm gonna be buying a Bogen or some other brand (undecided). Just my 2 cents, I'm sure many other people have used the VZROCK with no problems at all...
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Old August 8th, 2006, 10:00 AM   #9
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The funny thing Noah, since I bought my Z1u, I've just been using the onboard rockers. So I haven't pulled the controller out of the box for the past 2 weddings.

It sucks you are having an issue with them, maybe you should email them a link to this thread.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #10
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Dave,

I would recommend the rocker style by Bogen as a very good lanc controller. It's inexpensive, well built, and has responsive zoom control. Any of their models will work, even the lowest priced one that goes for about $125.

If you want a top of the line lanc controller buy a Zoe. I prefer the original Zoe 1, but the Zoe 2 is solid to. They cost more but the mounting hardware is more versatile and the rocker's are the best you'll find for a lanc controller.

You have the right idea with buying the lanc controller. It will make a huge difference in what your shot style. The second handle would probably be most useful in long live events but you could do without it for anything lasting less than 1 hour.

Hope it helps.

Ben
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