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Old June 18th, 2007, 10:07 PM   #1
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Monopod for ceremony?

Hello,

I have wedding #4 coming up. To date, I've gone: (1) with no stabilization; (2) with a Varizoom VZ-1 Shooter (shoulder mount); and, (3) full-out two-stage Manfrotto tripod.

#1 was not ideal. #2 was much better, but not "rock solid". #3 was "rock solid" but killed any mobility (in particular, I was stuck back behind the altar as the B&G headed out; similarly, pinned down during reception introduction when everyone stood up).

So, now, considering the merits of a monopod. Light, small, some stability. Also wondering if a lightweight tripod (legs extended, but closed) would work just as well, with additional flexibility (but problem is three times as many items to fiddle with to change height).

Please help! Thoughts?!

Thanks,

Todd
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Old June 18th, 2007, 10:53 PM   #2
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manfrotto 560b

friction ball pivot and leverage, 3 stage elevation up to 6ft, standard manfrotto plate (can use my 5d with it) fold up feet, very light, not that cheap but worth every penny
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Old June 18th, 2007, 10:58 PM   #3
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Mono and tripod

Hello Todd,

With a mono pod being so small I would suggest taking one with your tripod, just make sure you get a mono pod that has the same base plate to suit your tripod also. The last thing you want to do is to change the plate during proceedings.
I have filmed too many weddings for my liking and have run into your problems mentioned. There is a time and a place at weddings to be descrete about your filming, but on entrances and exits unfortunatly you have to be the centre of attention to capture it. With not knowing your circumstances i can only suggest the more communication with bridal party and mc the better you'll be. Having everybody stand as the couple enter in by books should never be a problem, there has to be a passage for the newly weds to walk down and thats where you need to be, But i'm un aware of the limitations put on you in that instance. I usually set my tripod in the corner at reception and shoot from sholder, if you struggle to keep it steady the mono pod is a must have item in your kit, you need to be able to roam.
All the best

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Old June 19th, 2007, 05:32 AM   #4
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Hi Todd

I have tried my arms, tripod (allbeit sans fluid head) and a Manfrotto monopod (can't remember the model but it's the one with the fluid base).

The monopod was the best to work with. Using the old arms led, of course, to unacceptable shake, horrible and very un-pro. The tripod was a dog to work with even though I had 360 degree access around the alter and everywhere else. The mono pod gave steady-enough footage and was light enough to mince around with quite happily. The only thing was, I adjusted the swivel base too tightly which although was smooth, left a slight 'creaking' noise on the audio when panning.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 07:36 AM   #5
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Mono pod-great choice

I find a monpod a great choice when shooting b-roll in situations that I really need to "get out of the way" in a hurry. Another trick that I've learned is extending the monopod to it's full length and then raising the camera up in the air while holding on the the last section of the pod. Tilt the LCD down so you can still see what you are shooting and you can get some really nice elevated shots of a crowd or group of people.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 10:01 AM   #6
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With tripods I always use high quality dolly wheels so I can move if I need to. You will need to make sure you will have enough room to wheel around because they can can kind of a large footprint.

A small dolly will mean a smaller footprint but the tripod could tip over easier. If you know you will man the camera the whole time and are not concerned about it tipping over then that would be a great option. A large dolly is going to have a large footprint but it will be as sturdy as the tripod itself.

You can always lock down the wheels if you do not want to move at all. A quick kick with your foot will unlock the wheels so you can move and then lock them again. If your wheels and tripod are heavy enough you should not even need to lock them down unless you want super rock steady movement.

The dolly wheels are great if you do not plan on moving a lot. Sometimes all you may need to do is move over a few inches because somebody decided to stand up or shift to the side. Being able to move a few inches to the side in a very smooth steady movement has helped me out in many situations.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 12:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Matthew Gore View Post
Another trick that I've learned is extending the monopod to it's full length and then raising the camera up in the air while holding on the the last section of the pod. Tilt the LCD down so you can still see what you are shooting and you can get some really nice elevated shots of a crowd or group of people.
I have used this technique on almost all my weddings. The footage is usually shaky so a bit of velocity effect is needed to slow it down, but the shots almost always look pretty good. On one occasion it was the only way for me to get a shot of the bride coming down the isle (unfortunately).

jason
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Old June 19th, 2007, 01:42 PM   #8
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One thing you could also do in that situation, Jason, is try to stabilize the footage as well. Sometimes you get too much motion blur to make this possible, but you can stabilize footage to some extent with programs like After Effects. There are also some plugins for Premiere that I know of that help with this (like SteadyMove). I switched to Vegas a couple years ago though so I can't comment on how good they are now.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 09:27 PM   #9
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A monopod can actually be difficult to keep steady for long periods of time (like a ceremony). You might want to check out the Spiderbrace. I just got one of these recently and it works pretty well. Better stability than handheld but not confined like a tripod.
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Old June 20th, 2007, 01:21 AM   #10
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trick to a monopod is 2 things..

1) let GRAVITY do the work

2) dont overhandle the stick..
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Old June 20th, 2007, 11:22 PM   #11
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Stabilizers and monopods work great at the reception and often during preps, photo shoot, etc., but the ceremony is different. Here, you have people in pretty much a static position for twenty to thirty minutes. If any situation ever shouted "TRIPOD", this is it!

There may be a hotshot or two out there who can do a great job at the ceremony without a tripod but I have yet to see a video to prove it, and I sure couldn't do it. Twenty minutes of shaky video calls for Drammamine!

My tripod is a Bogen 3151 - probably heavier than what most of you use, especially after adding a 503 head and ball leveller, but I like knowing it's not going to tip on pans and tilts. When we have sufficient access and permission from the officiant, I move just after "the kiss", from the stage toward the rear, to catch the exit, tripod and all. That leaves my wife (on a tripod also) to continue coverage from the stage and our static camera, wide at the rear, so my butt's pretty well covered.

I go with a Varizoom, usually in monopod mode, at the reception while wife covers from a tripod and sometimes a static, wide camera is setup also.

Anyway, in summary, a tripod doesn't necessarily tie you down. Workout, do some pushups, and it won't be so bad! :-)
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Old June 20th, 2007, 11:53 PM   #12
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Hank, in regards to "hotshots" let me just say that tripods arent the be all and end all.

Put it this way, i only started using a monopod last year, the 5 years prior to that is entirely handheld (on the Principle cam) using a bike handle screwed into the tripod plate.

I only use a monopod now because i cant be bothered holding a cam up for such extended periods.. yup, im gettin lazy.. and doing 3 weddings in a row kills the arms...
Ive NEVER used a tripod or monopod during preparations or photoshoots, but i have seen many people who do, and to me, restricting oneself for teh sake of "stability" restricts ones freedom to express the composition
If you cant get a stable shot with a 1/3rd ccd camera, then its time to practice...Harsh? No, realistic, yes..
And if people are marketing themselves as being discrete, i dont see how dragging a tripod down the aisle can be seen as discrete... but thats me..

I havent had any issues with stability and i use one of the worst stabilisers on any cam (DVX100's)
On my old XL1, the stabiliser was rock solid and i could just stand there for hours and you wouldnt tell the difference.

Tripods work if u have the means and space to move them around... i WOULD NOT shoot a processional with a tripod up the front simply becuase of how clunky a tripod can be in confined spaces. Then as teh proceedings begin, you must move said tripod... to me that doesnt make sense.. your NOT supposed to be seen.. well at least if you are, your not suposed to make a scene...
On a dolly, one must remember that if the floor aint flat, then youve defeated the purpose of the dolly... carpets dont do much more to help...
A shoulder mount wil introduce body motion and a monopod introduced leveling motion

There is no "perfect" way to shoot a ceremony, as each location will be different and depending on your level of discretion, will determine which tool you use.
Sure i use a tripod for Broll which is set for the lecterns, but while its covering those events, i have the ability move around and im not stuck with my tripod sittin in the middle of the aisle.

Like i said theres no right or wrong and yes, in a perfect world a tripod would be fine, but this isnt a perfect world

Event videographers must learn THE most fundamental law humanity of any live event.
- Adaptation
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Old June 21st, 2007, 07:35 AM   #13
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You can just collapse your tripod for an instant monopod if it has a spreader. The added weight alos provides more stability. The only use I've got for a monopod is for some high overhead shots.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 10:25 AM   #14
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Todd, after reading through the posts, I'd have to sum it up with "to each his own".

Personally, I use a tripod for both cameras at the ceremony, because around here, you're likely to get banned if you move around during the ceremony. However, at a few ceremonies, I'm able to 'go handheld' until the bride gets down the aisle, then leave the camera running (so I don't loose sync) and get to the preset tripod location for the duration of the ceremony. Also, at a few, I can move my tripod a little one way or another, so I use the light weight (relatively) Manfrotto 3021 legs for my main cam.

I think with experience, trial, and error, you'll find what works best for you.

Good luck!

Mark
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Old June 21st, 2007, 12:22 PM   #15
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Spiderbrace

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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
A monopod can actually be difficult to keep steady for long periods of time (like a ceremony). You might want to check out the Spiderbrace. I just got one of these recently and it works pretty well. Better stability than handheld but not confined like a tripod.
I was looking at the spider brace but it seems that you still need to be holding up your arms in order to support the device. Granted it is far more mobile (and smoothly mobile) than a tripod, monopod.

jason
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