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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Robbie Carman: So, Rich, you know one of the things that we get asked a lot is, is my photo tripod good enough to go out there and start shooting video? And it's a kind of a difficult question to answer. Rich Harrington: Yeah, well, I think the easier thing to answer is to start with the bottom and that is, is the legs itself. You know, are those legs sturdy enough to actually hold the weight? And as long as you went on the beefier side of the tripod, you're probably okay. There are different things to look at. A lot of times with photo tripods--you know, this is a good example of one, we have twisty types here. Robbie: Yep.
Rich: That allows you to lock that in but this type is prone to drooping when you put a lot of weight on it. Robbie: Yeah, now that's really a good point Rich. One thing that I'm a big fan of on tripods is sort of the lock off mechanism, sort of the clip off mechanism that you can get on the actual legs. The twist mechanisms tend to--if they are not very high quality as Rich mentioned--sort of tend to droop a little bit and shift a little bit and they also tend to wear out a little faster in my opinion. So you'll still find them on pro-level tripod basis, but just you know, buyer be warned with those kinds of things.
I am a bigger fan of sort of the clip-in or lock-off kind of ones. Rich: Now in this particular tripod, this is one from Induro. I bought it as primarily a photo tripod, but I've absolutely used it for DSLR video, and it's the heavier duty one. Good strong platform here, really stable, has its own built-in ball level, which is helpful. Robbie: Yep. Rich: I like a tripod base that has its own ball level so I can know if this is level. Robbie: Correct. Rich: But then we are dealing with your typical photo type. Now this is great here because it's a quick release. I'm using a Really Right Stuff head, that's fine.
A typical camera body, I've got the Swiss-Arca plate on the bottom or perhaps using an L-plate here. This is just attached to the battery grip so you could see it better, but this would allow you to easily switch from portrait to landscape on a camera body. Robbie: Absolutely. Rich: Great for still shooting, but not needed for video shooting. Robbie: Well, right, I mean the other thing about this is that you'll notice that this actual tripod is a ball type head, right? Rich: Yeah. Robbie: So while we can reposition the ball, sort of get it into the right place, the right angle for shooting a photograph, one thing it's not particularly good at, though, is that when you need to sort of start tracking shots and moving and panning and tilting with the subject.
You will notice as Rich is moving on along here, it's not exactly stable. Rich: Look, it's a pan head and I'm really pinching my finger. Robbie: And, Rich, don't really do this, but what would happen if you took your hand off the camera with the ball head loose? Rich: Sacrilegio, yeah. Robbie: There you go. Rich: It's going to fall over, not good for the shot, not good for the camera, not good for the gear. So while this type of ball head is great for still photos, you know, I want to frame up, I'm getting the shot, okay, I got it and lock it down. Robbie: Right. Rich: Well, that works great for still shooting where you are getting it locked off.
And if you're shooting video with locked off, you can use this. I freely admit there's times when we're putting a camera on the wide shot, we just grab a photo type tripod. Robbie: Just get me something, right? Rich: Tighten it all down, get a stable platform, you know, we could actually--not ideal-- but could raise that up on the center column. Robbie: But you bring up one really interesting point, you can make do in a pinch but you have also a very simple rig up here. You have a camera body itself, a very small lens, a little microphone, I'm willing to bet if you put, you know, maybe a 7200-mm lens on there, some other gear, a bigger camera body, your battery grip, even though this clamp on the ball head is pretty tight, it's probably going to start drooping or drifting a little bit due to the weight of that.
So when you couple all of these sort of drawbacks with the photo head, you know, sort of the weight capacity that they can stand, sort of the stability of moving around, they're not often the best choice for shooting video with your DSLR camera. However, when we come back, we'll talk about another type of head that we can use with a standard tripod base and that's the fluid head. And the fluid head is going to allow you to get much better shots because you have much better stability and you have things like drag and sort of fluid rigidity in your movements as you move the camera, thus allowing you to get much better shots.
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