I was nearly going to get myself into hot water when to came to titling this blog. The words "head" and "video" sat in front of me - in the end sanity prevailed. So read on.
We sell a lot of tripods to stills photographers. Particularly the ones who want to remain still - after all that is the general purpose of a tripod...but we do have a steady clientele who want to remain steady while still moving. These are the video people, of course.
They all do their apprenticeship in the moving picture trade. Their first pictures move sideways, up and down, and if they are rich enough to have a zoom lens, back and forth. Frequently all planes of motion are canvassed at once; it is a mystery how they keep their dinner down while viewing the screen. As they progress they settle down and look for ways to slow down and smooth out the panning and tilting actions of the camera.
In the big old days it used to be Miller Fluid-head tripods and heads - in some cases it might still be for big rigs. These are undoubtedly industrial devices - they proclaim their professionalism by their weight and price. If you need to steady a 70mm Technicolor camera or a Sea Sparrow launcher they are ideal, but expect to pay government money for them...
If you are running a lighter rig and spending your own brass - a DSLR or video camera in today's market - you might come in and look at the Manfrotto or Cullmann range of video heads. We seem to have quite a variety of them in the shop at present. They are standard-fitting to the larger tripods from their respective makers ( Though you could interchange them if you wanted to...) and are equipped with slow-drag mechanisms and long operating handles. This presents the user with increased drag to slow down the action and to smooth out any vibration as the action is carried out. In the case of both makers this smoothing is available in both the laying and training actions.
You'll see several photos here on the blog - there are large heads as well as small ones - and the very largest are adaptable for some still uses quite as easily as conventional three-way heads. You'll see panoramic sections to revolve quickly for still shots, and provision to flip a DSLR into the vertical for portrait-mode shooting. There are quick-release plates in the various proprietary models but note that they may be larger than those fitted to ball heads. Video rigs can have a different footprint from DSLR's and they try to provide as wide and long a base as they can to take advantage of all of the camera bottom.
Some of you may wish to use the fancy heads to experiment with your audience's patience by orientating your video camera in the portrait mode - thus compelling the viewers to tilt their heads 90º to the side to see that is going on. This, and frequent use of graduated filters put in at random angles, flash cuts to pictures of Che Guevara, and repeated gasoline explosions filmed in slow motion should enable you to get a slice of the Arts Grant pie. Hey, it has worked before and it will work again.
Occupy the cinema, man...
Comrade Uncle Dick
Labels: Cullmann, Manfrotto, Video