How To Use a Tripod for Vlogging
As you grow into a serious vlogger, a tripod will become an essential piece of equipment. You can get by for a long time setting your camera up on a stack of books, or an upside-down laundry hamper, but not forever. While these setups are great for a beginner, an intermediate vlogger will start to find them limiting. Even if you are an amazingly creative person who can create any camera setup without a tripod there will come a point where you will decide your creative energy is better spent on your video content.
This article will explain how to use a tripod and then introduce you to four different types.
How To Set a Tripod for Vlogging
1. Setting Up Your Tripod
Step 1 – Pull out all three legs of your tripod and make sure it is standing stably. There will be tensioners on the legs which you can release in order to adjust your height. Once your legs are extended to the height you want continue adjusting them until your tripod is level. Some tripods have a built in bubble level, but if yours does not you can use a separate bubble level or make a guestimate.
Make sure when you are setting up your tripod that you point one of its legs towards your subject. This will give you room to stand behind your camera, in-between the other two legs. If you have one leg pointed directly behind your camera then you may trip over it. Or, you may knock over and damage your camera.
Step 2 – On the top of your tripod there will be a plate with a small hole and a screw. Remove this plate using either a clip or lever, depending on your tripod. Once your plate is detached screw it into the bottom of your camera. It should be tight, but not too tight or you risk damaging your camera.
Step 3 – Attach your plate, which now has your camera mounted to it, back onto your tripod.
Your tripod comes with a ‘head’. Your tripod’s head is what your camera is mounted on top of. There are several different types of tripod heads and mounts which are all useful for different things.
Ball Heads and Pan/Tilt Heads are the two most common types of tripod heads. Ball Heads allow you to adjust your camera’s position quite a bit before you start shooting. They are not good for adding in camera movements while you are filming, however, because you need to lock them in place. Pan/Tilt heads are great for creating camera movement. Most Pan/Tilt heads have a handle which you can use to make a smooth panning motion.
2. 4 Types of Tripods
Full-Sized Tripods: are very sturdy, and as a result can be fairly heavy. Although you can take them a lot of places they are not convenient to carry for extended periods of time. They are the most reliable way to ensure you have absolutely no camera shake.
Compact Tripods: appear to be the same size as Full-Sized tripods, but they are actually much lighter. You can get the same height with a Compact Tripod as a Full-Sized tripod and it will be much easier to travel with. However, Compact Tripods are not as stable. If you are shooting for an extended period of time you may need to weigh your Compact Tripod down with sandbags to keep it steady.
Guerrillapods: have flexible legs which can be wrapped around posts, fences, or anything else you may want to mount your camera on. They are also lightweight enough that you can carry them around while you shoot. If you bend it right you can essentially use your Guerrillapod as a heavy-duty selfie-stick for your camera.
Table-Top Tripods: are very small and easy to travel with. You can leave one in your camera bag or your glove box. Table-Top Tripods are meant to be set up on top of desks or other stable surfaces and may not be ideal for heavier cameras.
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