How To Balance A Tripod

How To Balance A Tripod

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Balancing a camera on a tripod is essential to all photographers/videographers because an improperly set-up tripod can cause unnecessary jib movements when you just wanted to tilt the camera. Let’s walk you through how to balance a tripod.

1. Set All Adjustments to Zero
This will allow you to get a really good baseline for the first adjustment which is the front and back balance since it’s giving you a greater range of damping adjustments to suit different subjects and achieve the precise effects you want. Depending on what type of camera you have, most of the tripods are going to have adjustments built into the top plate.

2. Counterbalance
Having a counterbalance control means you don’t have to prevent the camera from going one way or the other when tilting it. A good test of a properly counterbalanced camera is that it will stay put at any angle.

3. Drag Adjustments
This allows you to adjust the amount of resistance on the panning and tilting actions which makes for smooth movements at a variety of panning speeds.

video by Stray Angel Films

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hey guys it’s Josh from strangle films I
just want to take a few minutes today to
walk you through how to properly balance
a camera on a tripod so if the camera is
properly balanced I can pretty much put
the camera in any position take my hands
off and the camera will stay in that
position and most importantly when it’s
time to move it I can very gently get my
hands back on the tripod and get it in
any position I want so why is this
important well I can always lock the
camera with the locks in any position
but if I’m shooting a interview or
something with a lot of like maybe small
subtle movements if I’m coming back and
I’m trying to take these off you know
you might get some camera shake so it’s
important to be able to find your shot
take your hands off change your focus
whatever and then very easily move it
again now that we know why it’s
important to get your camera and perfect
balance let’s walk through how to go
about doing it
so the first thing to do is to set
everything to zero you want to have no
forces working on this camera at all and
that’s going to allow you to get a
really good baseline for the first
adjustment which is the front and back
so most tripods are gonna have a little
bit of adjustment built into this top
plate and that’s gonna give you a couple
inches but if you’re using a big camera
you’re gonna want to use a dovetail
which will give you a lot more travel so
right now the cameras way out of balance
so if I take the locks off and I set it
like this that cameras gonna continue to
go over or back and that’s gonna cause a
problem because if you if that lock
fails or you let it go it’s gonna go
over and it may even tip over completely
and that’s gonna be a very expensive
so let’s find using this dovetail let’s
find a spot where the camera doesn’t
want to go in either direction it simply
wants to stay right up right now if
I lock it down and I move the camera
over it’s gonna continue to go over or
back but that’s where the counterbalance
comes in
so the counterbalance puts a little bit
of force to prevent the camera from
going one way or the other so we crank
up the counterbalance to the point that
the camera stays at whatever angle you
leave it at one thing I really like
about these cartoony focus heads is that
the counter balance is available in very
small increments so some tripods will
only give you 5 or 10 pound increments
and sometimes you’ll find yourself stuck
right between one of those increments
this one doesn’t really have any set
increments so it allows you to really
fine-tune where you want your counter
balance all right so now the counter
balance is set now we can find our fluid
drag which we turn up or down depending
on how easily we want to be able to move
the camera so there’s a there’s a pan
drag and a tilt drag the pan drag
controls your left-right motion and your
tilt drag controls your up-and-down
motion and you’re just gonna find right
where you want to be and like I said you
want to be able to point the camera in
any direction take your hand off let it
go and I’ll stay right there nice and
smooth so that’s it I hope you guys
found this informative it’s a very
simple concept but it is very important
and I hope if you have any questions
about this one or if there’s something
else you’d like us to cover feel free to
hit us up strange will calm you can
tweet us Instagram us we’d love to hear
from you we always love to talk here
thanks for watching.