Putting a complete studio together requires more than just the main items listed above. While options are endless, here are some items you might need for day-to-day tasks.
I tripod's job is to give steady support to your video camera. Plus using it's head to smoothly pan and tilt. It's the 'steady' and 'smooth' adjectives that separate the good tripods from the chaff, and at what price? We got to use the 3Pod V2AH Aluminum 3 Section Video Tripod with Fluid Head that delivered nicely on all needs, and was very portable for a very affordable $179US.
While your camera lens may be a zoom, a dolly actually moves the camera closer/further from the subject in a way that is much more natural looking. But involves more set up as well. Small and portable dolly systems like the Axler 30-inch Expanding Caterpillar Slider make this much easier, and support a camera/lens up to 11 pounds. Street price: $299US.
You may know these items better by the brand name SteadyCam, though many companies make a wide range of versions today. We looked at three that serve different needs. These items are a blast to use, in studio, and on location – but practice helps!
On the low end is one from Monoprice which is designed to support small video cameras under 2.1 pounds (952 grams), like the Activeon above. It's well made, but the gimbal is a tad granular. A blast of lubricant would help. Price: $35US
Rhino makes a great line of accessories, and their Rhino Steady is no exception. It uses the classic 'C' shape design, supports a camera rig up to four pounds, is an easy setup, and comes with a travel bag. Street price: $325.
The Axler Robin 20 Stabilizer S is the heavyweight in this round-up, supporting a payload of seven pounds. Its vertical rod design is different than the other two above, as is its gimbal design which was impressively fluid. A wonderful unit with a street of $290.
Whether you're out on location, or even in studio (not every studio has a computer on set!), it can be important to have back up options. Western Digital has an interesting product called the My Passport Wireless. It's A/C or battery powered (six hours active, 20 on standby), comes in a one or two Terabyte configuration (street prices of $160US or $190US, respectively), and allows backing up via WiFi, or a built in SD card reader. It can also act as both a wireless server and internet hub for up to eight devices at a time. Ideal for your post-production team's quick access to your dailys!
Putting it together
Was this a lot to consume? Yes, but baby steps, baby steps. And keep an eye out for our next installment on video post-production tools and tips!
Words: Lance Evans
Lance Evans is creative director of Graphlink Media.
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