With the world and his best friend practically all seemingly posting videos of their travel adventures on Facebook and You Tube and everywhere else, and also video having become a vitally important marketing tool for the travel tourism and hospitality industry, I really do pray for the day when I will begin to see a significant improvement in the quality of videos, not only those lovingly called “user generated content”, but also some of those produced by so called professionals!
I became a videographer only some five or six years ago in rather a baptism of fire, quickly learning that one of the most effective, yet very simple ways to improve the quality of video is quite simply by using a tripod to hold your camera.
Using a tripod or stand, hence the title three legs are definitely better than two, avoids videos having the shakes, wobbles, movements and more, which currently makes many videos of what are often great topics and subjects, practically impossible to watch.
The bottom line is that to shoot great looking video, you have to be able control your camera, and your arms and hands are simply not strong or steady enough!
Even for those of you that use mobile phones for videos, there are heaps of low cost tripods for phones, as in this example on the left, many of which will dramatically improve your video quality and they also help reduce background audio noise from you holding the phone.
For small cameras there are also several mini tripods like this one below left by Velbon, distributed in Australia by Maxwell, http://www.maxwell.com.au/velbon/ , very compact, very light, easy to use and having a dramatic impact on the quality of your videos.
Now, just to be clear, video tripods are not the same as still camera tripods and also there are few techniques you need to master to make sure your video tripod does what you want it to and provides the result you want.
By the way, the tripods you might see in local pharmacies, big general stores, or on line for just a few dollars, may seem like a great deal, and they may actually have three legs … and a camera mount plate, but the vast majority are not strong or steady enough to help you shoot a video that comes close to looking anything like professional.
I use a Velbon DV7000N professional tripod pictured right, which for some of you may be too large and have too many features, but there are plenty of other excellent Velbon tripods to choose from, but this one for me has all the features I need to produce quality video including the following: –
A 2-way fluid head that allows for very smooth pans, that is moving from side to side and tilts, that is moving up and down, with the resistance on the fluid head adjustable for different pan and tilt scenes, avoiding any jerky movements and even allowing either the pan or tilt speed to be varied.
Strong but light legs that lock securely, yet are easy and quick to extend, with on my Velbon tripod the three section aluminium alloy legs are centrally braced to provide maximum stability in the regular or even in the semi low-angle setting, plus it has heavy duty rubber-armoured feet that provide great grip and stability on virtually any surface, even in water, and believe me this tripod has been in water, on boats, on planes, in helicopters, and much, much more!!
It has a long control arm with separate pan and tilt adjustments fitted to the fluid head that gives a studio-feel to the tripod without being bulky or heavy as some others tripods are and it has a quick release platform with a plate that attaches to the camera and mounts the camera on the tripod, allowing the camera to be taken off and put back on the tripod quickly and easily and a spirit level to make sure the camera and tripod are level.
With a geared centre column with a turning handle I can raise and lower the camera quickly and smoothly and quickly again not affecting the video and all that is in a package with a folded length of 70cm and weighing only 3.47kg.
So what about when you come to shooting your video, with hopefully a Velbon tripod? This what you need to do!
Firstly, make sure you level the head as that ensures your camera is sitting level on the tripod, then position your legs and with the options being shooting with two legs forward and one back or one forward and two back, with my preference most of the time being one forward and two back so that I can stand between the two backward legs.
Next you need to adjust the tension or resistance on the pan and tilt by turning the respective adjustments to make sure that both the pans or tilts are not jerky, too slow or too fast in your videos and I suggest to set both to about equal resistance.
So, when you are shooting it is important to create three parts to the scene, a beginning, and end and a smooth transition from one to the other and it is very important to have planned and thought ahead and not move the camera without knowing where you want it to go and what you want to shoot, making sure that you not only view the scene through the eye cup but also looking at it openly without the eye cup.
Always check the scene out before you shoot and then when you have checked it out and you are satisfied, you are ready to shoot and always start you move slowly, accelerate if you need to then decelerate and slow to a stop as you reach the end of the scene and you might want to try a few different speeds.
You may not get it right the first time, so always check the scene you have shot on the camera for both visual and audio, before leaving the location and repeat until it is right! You know what they say in the movies … “Take 156”!
Without a tripod I promise that anything you shoot will not look as professional as with a tripod, so click on the short video below for some sample scenes and tips
Finally, the best way to ensure quality video is to practice …, practice, …. and. … practice … so what are you waiting for?
Oh, and of course you need to make sure you buy a good quality tripod, with more information on the range available from Velbon athttp://www.maxwell.com.au/velbon/
Check out my video with tips how you can avoid the wobble and shakes by clicking on the video below:-
Written by John Alwyn-Jones