Filmmaking with Low Budget Tripods

Filmmaking with Low Budget Tripods

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Amazon Basics Tripod (60 inch):
Amazon Basics Tripod (50 inch):

Filmmaking is an art of expression, in the same way a novel can elegantly portray an author’s view of the world, a film allows us to see life through someone else’s lens. Story has, and always will be the determining factor in a films effectiveness but sometimes in order to tell that story, we as filmmakers have to create an environment where the viewer can completely focus on the story, and won’t be distracted by anything else. Tripods are an extremely common tool in the arsenal of any filmmaker, and allow us much greater flexibility with camera movement. Given the physics involved in creating a smooth pan or tilt, tripods with smooth ball heads range anywhere from $150 to over $1000. The thing is though, we don’t necessarily need pans or tilts to tell a compelling story, and the cheap tripods can actually prove far more useful than you may have originally thought. In my mind, what makes any shot interesting is movement, whether that be from the camera, or more easily, the subjects in the frame. Even simple movement can make your static tripod shot infinitely more interesting. If we focus on what moves in and out of the frame, and allow that to serve as the action of our shot, rather than movement made from the camera, we can still tell an interesting story that won’t bore the viewer. You can also simulate the sense of camera movement by quickly cutting between shots every four or five seconds without moving the camera at all, and still create a sense of fast action or tension. The beauty of this technique, is it will work with any tripod strong enough to support your camera and is used in many high budget features today. This can be perfect for wide establishing shots, really any shots where the movement of subjects in your frame carries the story forward. Another simple cinematography technique you can use with any tripod is the handheld look. Unless you’re using a stabilized lens, or camera with sensor stabilization, trying to shoot handled with your camera will likely create shots with micro jitters and nauseating shakiness.

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Canon T2i:

Amazon Basics 60 inch Tripod:

Benro Aero 4 Video Tripod with Fluid Head:

Canon 50mm STM Lens:

Blue Spark XLR Microphone:

Audient ID14 Audio Interface:

Logitech C920 Webcam:

MXL V69 Tube Microphone:

Mogami Gold Studio 06 XLR to XLR Quad Conductor Patch Cable 6 feet:

Ultimate Acoustics Beveled Bass Traps:

Ultimate Acoustics Panels:

Auralex Roominator Kit:

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