How to choose your Camera Support – Part 1

Part 1 – Weight and Industry

Buying camera support is a long-term investment so you need to choose a camera support system that will meet your current and future production requirements.

In this series we will be discussing how to choose the best support for your camera, be it a tripod, dolly, Pedestal, Jib, crane or even robotics, PTZ or VR.

When selecting your support there are 2 primary considerations;

Weight and Industry application

Weight mainly has to do with the choice of tripod head as the legs or pedestal will be able to handle substantially more.

Industry application will assist you in choosing the type of support (tripod, ground or floor spreader, dolly, pedestal, etc) and which head mounts (bowl or flat).

Typical Weights for some industry applications;

ENG: 8kg = System camera, 20X lens and other accessories.

OB: 16kg = System camera, 40X lens and other accessories.

Studio: 20kg = System camera, 40X lens, teleprompter and other accessories.

Film and Documentary: Anywhere from 6 kg for a DSLR with accessories up to 90kg for an Alexa with a large prime lens and other accessories.

News: 4kg = Hand held camera and audio kit, here we want to stay light and mobile

A good rule of thumb is to get the weight of all the equipment you intend to mount on your tripod head and add 25%.

Another factor to consider is stability, if you are doing fast pans you need a heavy setup to counter changes in momentum.

Choose a tripod head combination that is heavier than you need, but keep in mind you will have to carry it and that each head has an optimal balance range so that putting a 6 kg camera on a head that is designed to hold 40kg’s will make balancing your camera difficult and necessitate continuous manual adjustment.

After you have answered these basic questions you have started the selection process; from here the options become numerous and confusing. You will need to make decisions regarding your Tripod height, spreader height, bowl size, flat base type, plate type, handles and attachments.

In this series, we aim to assist you in getting the best setup for your specific application and help you in deciding what options will best suit your current and future production needs.

The Zimele Team


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