DSLR Video Newb- What Camera Support?

Started Apr 19, 2013 | Discussions
FoolyCooly
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DSLR Video Newb- What Camera Support?
Apr 19, 2013

I'm newish to DSLR video. I currently have a couple of tripods. One has a 3-way head and the other has a ball head. I'm looking for a versitile handheld support. What would you recommend for a newb? I'm not currently making any money from video so I'm not willing to throw thousands of dollars at it yet.

I've been looking at steadycam and shoulder rigs but I'm not sure which will be most useful.

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gskolenda
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Re: DSLR Video Newb- What Camera Support?
In reply to FoolyCooly, Apr 19, 2013

I would recommend 3 things. One Get a Tripod Pan & Tilt head that is a fluid head, like the Manfrotto-502 flat base head about $160.00 at B&H, this is a great head and will give you very smooth pans and vertical tilts. Once you see the results you will use it a lot. Fluid is the key here.

2nd, I would not get a camera stabilizer, I have tried 3 different types from three different brands, at different price ranges, they are hard to balance no matter what they say how easy it is, also you have to be very dedicated and committed to practicing and learning the art of using a steadicam device. It's not something you can just pick up and use like a good tripod with a good fluid head. Change a lens, and you have to rebalance. Swing in or out an lcd screen, you have to rebalance, add a larger battery, you have to rebalance. Don't take what I say as concrete, it's wet cement. They really work when they are dedicated to a particular set up, and the person using one uses it often. Thats why many steadicam guys are sub-contracted out, not just the tool, but the person and the steadicam. Some people have made a very good career out of one.

Get your self a good shoulder rig, you'll use it a lot, maybe more than the tripod. In the video world we are always trying to get the shot with the least amount of equipment and the easiest.

Shoulder rigs are all over the place in style and price, I would highly recommend that you purchase from a source that has a very good return policy, also try one out for an extended period of time in one shoot, to see how you hold up using one.

For me, I also purchased a Camera Crane or as its sometime called a jib, mine is an 8 foot span it covers. I love it! It's easy to use right out of the box, and will inspire you to create very nice videos.  I got one for about $300.00 on ebay. Well worth the investment for me. The only con about using a Crane or Jib is they are a bit cumbersome(meaning bulky) to set up, Not hard just a little big. I'm seriously considering getting one of the newer smaller portable Jibs that are carbon fiber and very light, smaller and faster to set up, they are not cheap, $600.00 plus range.

Here is a link to a short video I created this past fall, that I used my Jib for the first time!

https://vimeo.com/52818226

With these 3 pieces of equipment you can shoot a lot of very different shots. I think you will find video to be very creative, because its not just framing, and focal length, it's the motion of the camera as well as the subject, that leads to so many complex choices for one to convey there vision. I have been doing photography for many years in film before digital, and I must admit that experience has helped me to grow in the video world.  Good Luck and Enjoy! Hope this helped.

Leon

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Gary S
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Re: DSLR Video Newb- What Camera Support?
In reply to gskolenda, Apr 19, 2013

Nice, thanks for posting the example. I've thought about one before but figured they were too cumbersome to use very often.

I'm thinking now even a 4-foot span would be enough for me some times.  What should someone look for in a JIB when wanting ease of set up?  Sounds like you've already researched them pretty good.

Thanks

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FoolyCooly
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Re: DSLR Video Newb- What Camera Support?
In reply to gskolenda, Apr 20, 2013

Leon, thanks for the feedback. I'm glad I asked because I was leaning toward the steadicam as being easier for a newb to handle. I'm looking at a few shoulder mounts now. Should I bother with things like follow focus and matte box now or would it be better to add them later?

Also my 3-way head needs replaced. I'll look at a proper fluid head as well. Not sure about the jib yet... baby steps.

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gskolenda
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Re: DSLR Video Newb- What Camera Support?
In reply to Gary S, Apr 22, 2013

Gary S wrote:

Nice, thanks for posting the example. I've thought about one before but figured they were too cumbersome to use very often.

I'm thinking now even a 4-foot span would be enough for me some times.  What should someone look for in a JIB when wanting ease of set up?  Sounds like you've already researched them pretty good.

Thanks

I have my eye on this right now, it would be my second jib, Its half the price of the second link i'll provide here.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Portable-Mini-Carbon-Camera-Crane-Jibs-Jib-Arm-Crane-only-1-8kg-2m-extention-/121097847590?pt=US_Tripods&hash=item1c31fe8326

Looks like the same exact unit to me, at half the price.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Aviator-C1-Travel-Carbon-Fiber-Jib-Kit-24-Long-Extends-to-6-/370796277272?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item56552e2e18

If you decide to get the cheaper one give us a heads up on it here.

Good Luck,

Leon

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gskolenda
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Re: DSLR Video Newb- What Camera Support?
In reply to FoolyCooly, Apr 22, 2013

FoolyCooly wrote:

Leon, thanks for the feedback. I'm glad I asked because I was leaning toward the steadicam as being easier for a newb to handle. I'm looking at a few shoulder mounts now. Should I bother with things like follow focus and matte box now or would it be better to add them later?

Also my 3-way head needs replaced. I'll look at a proper fluid head as well. Not sure about the jib yet... baby steps.

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The best camera is the one you have with you.

I would start with out some of those things, add them later IMO, get use to learning how to do a follow focus from the camera, and for me many times, (depending on the lens and cameras focus system) I can use the the auto focus to do the same thing as a rack-focus.

Whatever you get just get something you can grow with.  Good Luck,

Leon

PS: This seems like a nice jib I have my eyes on, http://www.ebay.com/itm/Portable-Mini-Carbon-Camera-Crane-Jibs-Jib-Arm-Crane-only-1-8kg-2m-extention-/121097847590?pt=US_Tripods&hash=item1c31fe8326

 gskolenda's gear list:gskolenda's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8
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