Join Eduardo Angel for an in-depth discussion in this video Tripod vs. monopod, part of Camera Movement for Video Productions.
Let's begin by working with a tool we all know very well, the tripod. With it, we can very easily achieve two of the most essential types of camera movements, pans and tilts. Turn your head and look to the left. Now, to the right, back to the left, that's a pan. Now, look up, then down, and up again. That's a tilt. We could use a tripod in many other creative ways. Like, for example, we could convert a tripod into a by simply lowering one of the tripod legs, and slowly moving the camera forward or backwards.
This is especially powerful in combination with a wide angle lens. I have seen people using tripods as a shoulder rig, and even as a cheap version of a steady cam. But above all else, a tripod is used to eliminate shake. Let's take a look at a handheld shot. Some intentional camera shake, which we'll discuss later, can really charge a scene with kinetic energy. But unintentional and exaggerated shake, is often distracting, and pulls the viewer out of the story. We set up a tripod to eliminate any trace of camera shake.
Notice the difference in the camera shake. The handheld version provokes a voyeuristic feeling, like the couple is being spied on. And it doesn't match the cozy mood of the cafe, and the happy exchange we see. On the tripod version, the viewer is not distracted by the camera movement, and can concentrate on reading the body language and facial expression of the couple, especially hers. Another standard tool that can accomplish many of the same motions as a tripod, is a monopod with a fluid head. The monopod is much more portable than the tripod, and it is easier to adjust the height.
Because of its small footprint and portability, the monopod lends itself to run and gone camera work, such as documentary, quick interviews and event videography. Actually, a big chunk of the BPS for this course, was shot on a monopod. The key difference between the two, is that a monopod will never be perfectly still, because the cover is being supported by human hand, it is impossible for it to be completely static. Let's look at an example of these two pieces of equipment, side by side.
Here's the same scene shot handheld, with a monopod and on a tripod. The mid ground between these two extremes, is the monopod. It has a little bit of movement, which adds a layer of realism. It conveys a scene straight out of a reality TV show, perhaps. When, and why would I use a monopod over a tripod? If I have to pack light, I'm working by myself, need to be very quick, I'm using a light camera system with a shotgun, and a little bit of movement is okay, I would choose a monopod.
Now, if I'm going for longer takes camera shake is unwanted, I'm working with fully rigged systems or very heavy cameras, and need precise control of the speed of the movement, I would opt for a tripod.
- Exploring the different types of camera motion
- Panning and tilting
- Tracking on sliders vs. dollies
- Stabilizing camera movement
- Working with cranes, jibs, and mounts
- Choosing the right camera for motion