- Main Features: Tripod Legs, Tripod Heads
- Other Features and Accessories: Quick Release, Dolly, Arms, Spreader, Feet
- Composition Tips for Shooting Video
- How To Edit Videos Like a Pro
- 4 Must-Have Accessories for Shooting Video
A good video tripod is one of the most important pieces of video equipment you can have beside your camera and lens. A video tripod can be more important than lighting, since you can use the video tripod in situations where you may not need lights.
Choosing the right video tripod for your needs and showing you what to look for in a video tripod is what this video tripod buying guide will help you do. There are so many options for tripods of any type, and any tripod can be used for video, but the ones designed specifically as a video tripod are better for shooting video.
Video Tripod Features
Since we are specifically looking at tripods for video productions, it’s a good idea to know what to look for in a video tripod, what features make a huge difference and what features make a little bit of difference.
The main two features of any tripod are the legs and the head. All of the other features and accessories relate to them in one way or the other.
The legs of a video tripod can be fixed or adjustable in height and can be constructed of various different materials. Carbon fiber and aluminum are the two most common materials with wood being a distant third.
Adjustable legs can be tubular or other shapes and can be locked by twist mechanisms or levers. The legs can also be single tubes or twin tubes, with single tubes being able to be made very lightweight and twin tubes more stable though they are often quite a bit heavier.
Video tripods are made differently than regular photographic tripods in that there is no center column but rather a bowl that adjusts by about 15 degrees or so to level out the attached video head.
A fluid head is preferred by many videographers as opposed to using a regular pan and tilt head or a ball and socket head as you probably have on your regular tripod for still photography. What makes a fluid head different is how it moves. The movement is dampened by a heavy oil so that pans and tilts made while shooting are very smooth.
Some fluid heads have adjustable drag, changing how much resistance is in the fluid dampening of the desired movement. Counter balance is another useful adjustment on fluid heads that works in conjunction with the drag for smoothing out any deliberate movement.
The purpose of quick release systems is to allow you to quickly release the camera from the tripod and reattach it quickly and securely. It doesn’t do us much good if the quick release on our video tripod isn’t secure and stable.
Thankfully, every quick release I’ve ever tested on Ikan’s video tripod kits are completely secure when mounted on their video tripod. The quick release on the GH06 head included in the GA752 kit is called Easy-Lock Camera Plate System and it works very easily besides being entirely secure.
Spreader, Dolly, Feet, Arms
These last few accessories and features of video tripods either make the rig more secure and stable or make your video production jobs go easier.
The GA752 legs come with a removable spreader which can lock the legs together for a more stable base. The spreader being removable is a nice added feature because with the spreader, you can adjust the legs independently for setting up on uneven ground.
A rolling dolly, the EI-7004, makes studio or location video shoots go a little smoother when you need to make camera movements other than pan or tilt. The feet of the GA752 are removable to put it on the dolly or you can use the rubber feet which retract to spikes for outdoor use.
A nice additional capability for a professional level tripod is the ability to attach an extra arm, such as the EI-A47 11” Articulating Magic Arm, so that you can mount other video accessories such as an extra video monitor or small LED lights.
The Video Tripod for You
What video tripod you decide on is going to be based on what your budget is, the size video tripod you need, and what video tripod features you require. Have a look at the other video tripod kits from Ikan to find one that works for you.