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Demo: Monopod & Tripod

Lesson 11 from: Use Your Photography Skills to Master Videography

Jessica Dimmock

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Lesson Info

11. Demo: Monopod & Tripod

Lesson Info

Demo: Monopod & Tripod

Monopod comes right onto ... here. I'm going to take, and this is something you can go back forth between. It doesn't have to be one or the other. So in my situation, or the way that I've got this setup right here, is that I've got the shoulder rig, as we've discussed. I can take it off of the rails, which is a pretty simple step. Slides right off there. And, to go onto the monopod, I've got this base plate here. So, monopod is a great option. Obviously I don't have any weight on me, I'm not going to be tired at the end of the day. I can have one hand free, I can have one hand up here to do all of my adjustments on sound. I can be focusing. I still should be pretty careful, because anytime you're taking your hands and touching the camera like I said, you're, you know, potentially moving things around, but I can have one hand here free and focus, and over here, I've got kind of a possibility to tilt down and tilt up, which is great. So you know, I have some fluidity, and it's very, very...

mobile, and very flexible. So like, I can change my height by just pulling these things out, lowering, and then all of a sudden I can be shooting up at things. I can get very, very high on it, by releasing all of these. I can even go higher. At a certain point, I'm not going to be able to see anymore, but by looking up at my LCD screen here, it's a very, very versatile and quick way to work. And it allows you to have a lot of stability. It's not quite a tripod, but it also doesn't take as much time as a tripod. A tripod, which we'll look at, it's a lot about taking it out, setting it up, all of that stuff. A monopod is like a very, very quick thing, and then you can kind of lock in. You can go left to right. What I find is that I move with people all the time and I really want to incorporate that movement that movement, and that's really hard. You can't really do this, because it's like hitting your feet and as you walk with people, the balance is kind of weird, and I always find that it's kind of shaking and moving around. So often if I'm using a mono monopod, I'm letting people go in and out of frame without necessarily trying to chase them. So if someone's coming down a hallway, I might just kind of be in position and allow them to walk through my frame, rather than moving backwards with them. Or if someone's going away from me, I find a nice kind of setup and shot, and then I let them go out. It's great. But I also find that at a certain point, you can only do that shot so many times. You can make variations on it, but the monopod can be a little bit limited when you have someone that's on the go a lot, and that motion is part of the story. But it does come off very quickly, which is that there's just a little, oh, and these little feet here, go down to just give you a little bit more focus. Or I mean a little bit more stability. And then this comes off by just loosening, pressing down, and pops right off. To put it back on, put it in sideways, hey. Clicks back in, and you tighten it up. Anyone have any questions about that? Yeah? Yeah, question's from online from Gary Morinson. Do you ever use your monopod as a boom? I do not, but to do sound separately, so the question is, putting just a microphone on here, and then being able to hold it in situations. I'm kind of always behind a camera, so if I've got a monopod, chances are I've got a camera at the end of it. But people can use it in that way. And could you just let us know what monopod that actually is. Do you know the make and model? This should be a Manfrotto. Yes, this is a Manfrotto, and it's the MVM500A. Patent pending. I wonder how that works. So the other thing is that you know, a combination of these things is great. Which is that as I said, you can't necessarily take that shoulder rig with that counter weight in your carryon, and I'm not saying that that is even the rule. I mean, if we went on to the Zacuto website, it might even say that you can get through TSA with that. But like all you need is for one or two officers to just not agree with you, and to just, you're not going to sit there and take out the manual and all of this stuff. I've had experiences where they were just like what is this? Especially with these like metal rods coming out of it. And I used to have my lob there. So there's like a transmitter and this big metal thing and these metal rods, and they're like what is this thing? Because you can't necessarily take this on TSA, it's very unlikely that your bags will get lost but it can happen. It happened while I was on a shoot with another Seven photographer named Ron Haviv and we were off to do a video assignment and I got kind of lazy and put some stuff in my checked luggage, and my checked luggage didn't arrive. This is a great option too where like, if you're going to be doing a lot of shoulder rig, you can always take something like this in carryon and it probably fits in some kind of like backpack type extension, or you know, this is something you can probably even just hand carryon to a plane without much problem. Okay. I do have another question going back to the shoulder rig. Great. This is from Roy Feldman who asked when shooting with the shoulder rig, do you have the lens, do you have that with lens stabilization on or off? I'll put ... I mean what I just showed you was with lens stabilization off because I shoot with a series of prime lenses that doesn't have lens stabilization. But if I have the option with a certain lens that I'm using, I would definitely put it on. Because why not? But the only reason why not is that sometimes the lens stabilization, it depends on the situation in terms of sound, and we'll talk a lot about sound tomorrow but lens stabilization is making little kind of micro adjustments in your lens. If your mic is very close to lens, it will pick up that noise constantly, and that will be part of your soundtrack of your film. Let's look at tripods real quick. So the most stable of all your options is the tripod. Obviously this can come off of the wheels and just be totally down on the ground. Or you can have these with wheels. I find that the wheels are amazing if I'm like in a conference room or I know I'm going to be shooting in a hospital. But anything that's not going to be some super clean tile floor, you know, it's probably not going to work. And in my own work, I'm in so much in kind of the real gritty world and stuff like that, that if I were to bring a tripod out into a street scene, that's great, but the idea that I could like wheel it around is probably a little unrealistic. But what you can do is you can make very clean, static, composed, still, perfectly still shots, and be able to ... It's really great for establishing a sense of place. It's really great even in shoulder rig or monopod settings, it's really great to incorporate some tripod stuff just to allow your audience after all of this movement and going all around to just like settle and breathe sometimes. It just gives you this like (exhales). Where you can see a scene, you can see what's going on, you can establish a place, it's great. I often, because I'm so like run and gun, I often kind of like get a little resistant to the tripod. It's heavy, this one, this one's pretty good. Who makes this? Sachtler probably. It's on the other side. Oh, it's also Manfrotto. This one's kind of nice and light, maybe I might steal it. But they're heavy, they're a lot of work to setup. You can't necessarily, you need another set of hands. You can't be walking around with a shoulder rig holding one of these under your arm, but having this as part of your toolkit, in your car, or with an assistant, or with a second shooter, which we're going to talk about in our next segment. No, in the end of the day segment, is a great option because it allows you to just kind of settle into a shot, make it really beautifully composed. I mean, not like kind of looks great, but really have the precision in your composition, and allow it to just run. And it's great to be able to kind of incorporate that into, it doesn't all have to be tripod. You can definitely do an entire short, or an entire film on a tripod, but you can also kind of mix these things in, and it's nice to mix up your stylistic elements, so that it all doesn't have one look. You know, in these, you also have a bit of a fluid head so that like when you make pans, you have a little bit of a drag and a resistance. It doesn't just feel like it flies over. There's kind of a nice, smooth quality, and you can change the resistance on that by changing some of your settings. Okay. Any? Yes? So we have a couple people including Chris Reed, Stacy Burke, who are asking about your opinion on the DJI Osmo+. They're saying it's an affordable and on a gimbal, much simpler to use. Are you familiar with that? I guess we can't ask them back. Is that that ... There are some very, very small affordable kind of gimbal systems that allow you, that basically what they do ... I don't even know that technicality behind this, but they're like constantly kind of counterbalancing so that they create this really kind of floaty feel. One, I think they're amazing, and I think people should experiment with things. Most of your kind of local or whatever city you live in camera stores will allow you to come in and like play with the stuff and try things out so that you're not just ordering it online and getting it out of the box. For me personally, in the past I have found that like, you know, I like this kind of gritty feel, and sometimes that stuff is almost a little too floaty for me. I mean, there are other options other than what I'm telling you about. There are a wide variety of options. The monopod, tripod and shoulder rig are kind of what I shoot with. But there are lots of different ways. There are some kind of, not quite shoulder rigs, but like harnesses where there are some rods that kind of come up and over, and then on springs, your camera is sitting here, and it allows you to be hands free, there's a very, very floaty vibe. For me, sometimes I find that it's too floaty. Like I want to kind of still be in that somewhat edgy darker feeling world. Some of it is also about what I'm going to look like in the field. I mean, wearing a shoulder rig is one thing, and that takes a little getting used to. The like rods with springs coming up and over system, which is not a gimbal, I'll talk about that in a second, that was great and had this nice floaty feel, and I wasn't tired at the end of the day, but I also looked like Robocop, and I found that like for me in trying to integrate into a community and kind of embed myself and fade into the background and become invisible when I looked like a metallic grasshopper, I found that that was a little bit hard to do. So, I want something that I can kind of like take off, that I can put in my lap, that people can forget about. Same thing with these kind of gimbal systems. For me personally, I want to experiment with them more. I think I might really like the look. It might be a touch too floaty, and too kind of out of this world. I kind of want my stuff still based in like, and rooted in reality. But maybe there's a way to mix that up and have it floaty but still a little hard. So I think it's a great option, and it's great to see that the technology is making these things cheaper all the time. And one more as well actually. Can you talk a little bit about those main differences for tripods from still photography to video? Oh sure. So for still photography, a tripod doesn't need much. Because you don't need ... As long as this thing goes left to right and up and down, it doesn't matter what it looks like in between, because no one's ever going to see that in between. When it comes to this stuff, you want it to be able to have, you know, a nice kind of fluid drag on it. You want it to be able to be much more responsive, and with that just comes a higher cost. Often you'll have kind of a fluid head so that you can make kind of micro adjustments in the framing. And with still photography, you just don't need some of that more kind of fluid head type of settings or gear, and it's cheaper that way. Yes? And once again, this is from Carl Coachman. Can you take the tripod off the wheel base for use on unequal ground? Absolutely, yeah. I mean, again, I almost never have it on a wheel base. It's helpful to be able to show you in this studio because we've got cameras and I can kind of rotate it around. But basically this thing comes right off of the wheels and just stands right on the ground and it's kind of locked into position. And of course these legs are adjustable. So you know, one leg goes down, and that can compensate here you are on a hill or something like that, all of a sudden you're compensating for some up slope or something like that, and you're making adjustments. Because realistically in the real world, you're often not on totally flat ground like you are in a studio. I'd say, you know, at the bottom of all of this, the most important things, and the goal of all of this, is to be tools. The idea is to get comfortable with this stuff and to have things that are going to make you feel like you can achieve the shots that you want, that you can have the look that you want, that you're stabilized in a way that is adding to your video, and not to be kind of underwater with the gear. The idea is to get stuff that makes you feel comfortable with the look that you're achieving but also comfortable in the field and that you can travel with it. That you can be able to like not have this whole system, but you're like oh, I've got all this stuff and now I can't leave the house because it would take a small army to get me from here to there.

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Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I have been waiting for a course like this. Purchasing it was a no-brainer. Taught by an accomplished professional in the field, with a strong track record of high level work, Jessica Dimmock, I feel, is exactly the type of instructor Creative Live should be giving air time to. I have watched other Videography classes on Creative Live, and this was the first one that I felt was worth purchasing due to how much info was being shared, in a very methodical, easy to follow (but not dumb downed) fashion.

a Creativelive Student

This class has left me feeling very encouraged and inspired about getting into videography. Jessica has made some great work, in her short career with video, and was able to share what she learned through those experiences. She started out as a photographer and has now incorporated video into her skill set and it seems to have expanded the diversity her opportunities and has enriched what she produces and shares with the world. I look forward to doing the same thing in my own way. Thanks CL for another wonderful class.


Simultaneously broad and deep, the information Jessica covers and the way she delivers it really give you the feeling you can jump into video right away. Professionalism in every area, from prep steps to workflow in the field to clean organization and processing, inspires confidence in the value of her methods. She clearly learned most of this in the field over years of work, which means the rest of us now have a huge leg up on our first projects. Thank you so much!

Student Work