Cinematographer & Filmmaker
Corey Steib
Why Tripods are just as important as Cameras
by Corey Steib on May 15th, 2016

Now a days cameras are coming out into the market if not faster then cars do every year. But it seems like every month to 6 months instead of every year two as it was in the past. As much as I love cameras I love tripods even more because you don't have a new one coming out every month or so. Plus you beat your tripod to death and you expect it to keep on working.

History 

So what is a tripod:

Definition: ​tripod is a portable three-legged frame, used as a platform for supporting the weight and maintaining the stability of some other object. A tripod provides stability against downward forces and horizontal forces and movements about horizontal axes. The positioning of the three legs away from the vertical centre allows the tripod better leverage for resisting lateral forces. (Wikipedia)

First attested in English in the early 17th century, the word tripod comes via Latin tripodis (GEN of tripus), which is the romanization of Greek τρίπους (tripous), "three-footed" (GEN τρίποδος, tripodos), ultimately from τρι- (tri-), "three times" (from τρία, tria, "three") + πούς (pous), "foot". The earliest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek 𐀴𐀪𐀠, ti-ri-po, written in Linear B syllabic script.
Young George Washington using a tripod for surveying. 

What are tripods used for

​Tripods are used for both still and motion photography to prevent camera movement. They are necessary when slow-speed exposures are being made, or when lenses of extreme focal length are used, as any camera movement while the shutter is open will produce a blurred image. In the same vein, they reduce camera shake, and thus are instrumental in achieving maximum sharpness. A tripod is also helpful in achieving precise framing of the image, or when more than one image is being made of the same scene, for example when bracketing the exposure. Use of a tripod may also allow for a more thoughtful approach to photography. For all of these reasons a tripod of some sort is often necessary for professional photography as well as certain video uses. Tripods are also used as an alternative to C-Stands to photographic accessories.
​For maximum strength and stability, most photographic tripods are braced around a center post, with collapsible telescoping legs and a telescoping section at the top that can be raised or lowered. At the top of the tripod is the head, which includes the camera mount (usually a detachable plate with a thumbscrew to hold on to the camera), several joints to allow the camera to pan, rotate and tilt, and usually a handle to allow the operator to do so without jostling the camera. Some tripods also feature integrated remote controls to control a camcorder or camera, though these are usually proprietary to the company that built the camera. Materials used in the construction of tripod or monopod legs include metal (typically bare or painted aluminum), wood and carbon fiber-reinforced plastics, among others.

Why are tripods just as important as cameras

It's simple as it tells you why above and even in current times cameras have changed the way we tell stories, but the tripod is still tried to true this very day. Everyone want's to do handheld work and jib but a good percentage of work still requires a tripod. If you don't know how to use a tripod then how do you expect to shoot handheld.

Believe it or not operating a tripod is a skill in it self as you can see in this test footage below where my good friend Michael Graham pulled focus for me while I was panning up. 
I have used just about every tripod ever made from Cartoni to Sachtler to Miller and Manfotto. I have been using Manfrotto for many years (501 HDV and the 701HDV) because they work for me and the type of work that I do. It's not to say that the others wont work for you as it's just my personal preference. No matter what tripod you have you must master it and learn how to move with it to get the shots you need.  

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Posted in Gear Review, General, Tips    Tagged with Tripods, Cartoni.com, sachtler .com, manfrotto.us, camera tripods


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