The Videographer’s Tools: Thanks for Your Support—A Concise Video Tripod Guide

The Videographer’s Tools: Thanks for Your Support—A Concise Video Tripod Guide


For people in video production, camera support is a given. Every videographer, whether pro or amateur, will need at least one tripod. The kind will depend on the size and weight of the rig, as well as the purpose. A concise video tripod guide is in order.

concise video tripod guide Benro-A2883F-with-S4-Pro
Benro A2883F/S4 Pro

Built-out tripod kits, which include both head and legs, are a convenient all-in-one option. They are especially attractive to amateurs and many professionals. However, pros may prefer to buy specific heads and legs separately and create their own kits.

Before you suggest a video tripod for your customers, make sure you ask how they will use it. Let’s look at a few examples.

A Concise Video Tripod Guide
ikan-EI-7100H-kit concise video tripod guide
ikan EI-7100H
Studio Production

Studio and broadcast production may mean heavier, tethered cameras that operators can move smoothly around the studio floor. They will likely also need a system that can bear the weight of a camera and teleprompter. Moreover, a sturdy tripod with a dolly and a head that can accommodate broadcast-weight rigs is a must.

The ikan EI-7100H air-controlled pedestal kit includes a dolly, legs and a 100mm ball-mount fluid head with adjustable drag for smooth camera movement. It has a load capacity of 33 pounds and opens up to a height of 6 feet. Moreover, with two panhandles, this is a broadcast-ready kit. $3,499.

Sirui BCT-2003/BCH-20

A less pricey option, at $1,000, is the Sirui BCT-2003 aluminum tripod with a BCH-20 video head. It has a 22-pound payload, a 75mm ball and a broadcast-quality fluid head with two telescoping handles.

ENG/Journalism Productions

For shooting footage in the street or other remote locations, a lighter tripod is likely needed. It should accommodate a camcorder, such as the popular Canon XA50, or a DSLR as well as an on-camera light. That kind of rig will weigh in at around 5–10 pounds.

Manfrotto-502A-kit concise video tripod guide
Manfrotto 502A/MT055XPRO3

The popular Manfrotto 502A video head paired with the MT055XPRO3 tripod, at under $500, can handle up to 22 pounds of gear.

What’s more, for under $150 you could suggest the Viltrox VX-18M with a VT-01 head. They can handle up to 13 pounds. In addition, the tripod extends up to 74 inches for a higher angle.

Outdoor and Travel

Wildlife and nature photographers are more likely to hike. A tripod that’s too heavy is a burden. So, this kind of assignment calls for a sturdy, lightweight kit.

concise video tripod guide Sachtler-Aktiv8-system
Sachtler Aktiv8 System

A carbon fiber tripod such as the Sachtler Aktiv8 system, which includes the sideload fluid head with the Flowtech75 tripod, fits the bill. It has a 27-pound payload. However, it will set your customer back around $3,000.

If that price tag is too steep, consider the $300 Benro A2883F aluminum travel tripod with the S4 Pro fluid head. It can handle up to 8.8 pounds, enough for a DSLR and telephoto lens or a prosumer/consumer video camera.

As its name implies, the Benro can also be used for travel video thanks to its light weight and portability (it fits in carry-on luggage).

Sports Video
Magnus VT-4000 Kit

There are two kinds of sports videographers: professional and amateur.

Pro sports video rigs are highly specialized and will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Most sports videographers fit the latter category: parents who want quality photos of their child’s Little League and Peewee soccer matches. Let’s look at tripods that would work for them.

The goal is to pan smoothly with the action while shooting at a long focal length. Cameras are typically prosumer or amateur, weighing in at less than 5 pounds. A kit with a fluid video head is essential. The Magnus VT-4000 tripod with a two-way fluid head, at round $220, is a sturdy option if you don’t mind hauling its nearly 10-pound weight.

3 Legged Thing Mike/AirHed Cine-S

A lighter (albeit more expensive) alternative is the 3 Legged Thing Mike carbon fiber tripod with a quick leveling base and AirHed Cine-S fluid head system. A featherweight at 3.6 pounds, it can also work as an outdoor wildlife photography tripod, which doubles its utility. $850.

Mix and Match

All tripod heads, dollies and legs can be sold separately, which is especially important for pros, who may have very specific needs. The key elements are the legs and video head.

Furthermore, the key features to look for are their weight and durability, and how much weight they can support. These units are generally designed for higher-end users. Consumers are also more likely to purchase complete kits.

Four Top-Rated Tripods for Video
concise video tripod guide iFootgage-Gazelle-FastBowl-TC7
iFootgage Gazelle FastBowl TC7

The popular iFootgage Gazelle FastBowl TC7, at around $315, can support anything under 19.8 pounds. At only 4.1 pounds (thanks to its carbon fiber construction), it’s also a great option for location work.

The Manfrotto 475B ($470) is another rugged tripod with a geared column that’s built for heavy rigs. With a load capacity of 44 pounds, the aluminum alloy tripod uses flip locks that can easily lock the legs into place, as well as a bubble level. It has a maximum height of more than 6 feet and a minimum height of 17 inches for low-angle shots.

The aluminum Benro A673TM uses a tandem leg design and a 75mm bowl. In addition, it is rated to handle loads up to 110 pounds. At $330, it’s a great option for studio work as well as stadium sports applications. It is also available with a lighter carbon fiber construction in the C673TM for around $660.

The Acebil T2002 CM is similar in design to the Benro A673; however, it can handle cameras weighing up to 198 pounds. It has a 100mm ball base to accommodate video heads for big video cameras. Moreover, at $1,315 it is designed for studio use.

Three Top-Rated Video Tripod Heads

The Manfrotto MVH502AH video head (approximately $240) features adjustable pan-and-tilt drag and a sliding quick-release base. Designed in Italy, it offers a weight capacity of 15 pounds.

Magnus VPH-20
concise video tripod guide Sachtler-Ace-XL-head
Sachtler Ace XL

What’s more, the budget-friendly Magnus VPH-20 pan-and-tilt fluid head costs only $60. It’s built for smaller camcorders, with an 11-pound payload and fluid head. A quick-release pad lets users remove the camera quickly for handheld use.

Finally, the Sachtler Ace XL fluid head, at $600, is optimized for cine cameras and DSLRs. It also works with mirrorless Micro Four Thirds cameras plus pro cameras like the Sony FS series and the BlackMagic Ursa Mini/Pro. It supports rigs up to 18 pounds.