Getting back to basics on HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR GRIP AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS


TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
When looking to purchase grip and support systems there are now a variety of different options available to the dedicated cameraman and this potential minefield of different equipment, at varying prices, can seem daunting and confusing at first. What’s the difference between a shoulder support, steady mount and a stabilizer? Are slide rail systems really the best tracking option for my camera? Can I put a DSLR on that mount? Initially it is imperative that you start by asking yourself a few questions about what you are hoping to achieve and what kit you currently have which you may be able to utilise. This will help you to narrow down the options and allow you to start selecting equipment which would actually benefit your requirements as opposed to wasting time looking at products which are not going to be suitable. Asking yourself the following questions before starting should help you to maximise you search potential and ensure you get the correct kit.
What camera am I planning to use and what is the total weight when fully loaded?
This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself before you even start looking at grip and support systems but unfortunately it is the biggest mistake people make. It is unbelievable the amount of times each day we ask customers what the total weight of their camera set-up is when fully loaded and they have no idea. Most support systems have a maximum weight they can support and if you don’t know the total weight of your camera set-up then you may well be looking at items which are not even suitable. The total weight of your camera set-up is not the weight listed in your camera manual either, it is the total weight of the camera and everything attached to it so the best option is to pop it on a set of scales. For example a Canon 5D is only 810g (body only) but once you add a lens, a microphone, a light, a battery pack, that weight will most likely have doubled and as a result the suitable support systems will have changed too.
What budget do I have?
There are some wonderful pieces of equipment available these days but there is little point looking at items which are above £1000.00 if your realistic budget is £250.00. It is also important to remember that there are lower cost options which can do the same job as some of their more expensive counterparts which could allow you greater flexibility in your kit. If you are looking at lower cost options though I would recommend purchasing from an established and respected company rather than wasting money on equipment which is not well designed or manufactured.
Should I spend money on a tripod?
Yes. After spending a lot of money on a new camera there can be a temptation to buy a cheap tripod but I would always recommend investing in a good quality tripod which can be a long term base for you camera. Remember a decent tripod could potentially be used to mount a slider rail or a jib in the future and a will provide you with smoother movement when the camera is mounted.
What current equipment can I utilise?
If you are looking to purchase new equipment it is often helpful if it is compatible with equipment you already own. If you are looking to purchase a jib you may decide that you would like to utilise the sturdy tripod you already have as part of your kit instead of buying a jib which comes supplied with its own stand. If you have a Manfrotto monopod which has a quick release camera set-up and are looking at stabilizers you may wish to buy a compatible quick release adaptor so that you can quickly interchange from one to the other. If you are buying a Camslide tracking system would it be worth getting the 58C Camslide Collar which would allow you to use that Lighting stand which has been sat dormant in the garage for the last year? It would certainly be cheaper than a new tripod.
What am I trying to achieve?
There is no point buying a car mount if you want to capture some stabilizer footage and there is not point buying a shoulder support if you want to create some smooth flowing jib shots. Now this is obviously a bit extreme but the point is a serious one. If you have an idea of the type of shots you want to achieve try to select equipment which would be suitable and research these products. Staying focused will help ensure you end up with the correct equipment.
Can a DSLR be used?
Most video camera grip & support systems are suitable for both DSLR and video cameras although there are now a variety of rigs which have been designed specifically for DSLR cameras. With DSLR cameras it is important to check the total camera weight when fully loaded and with some set-ups you may find that the camera is not centrally balanced. This can be overcome with a Balance Correction Adaptor and Hague Camera Supports offer a couple of low cost options depending on the adjustment required.
Stabilizers, Steady Mounts & Shoulder Supports, what’s the difference?
It depends on the shots you are trying to achieve as to which of these mounts would be most suitable for your requirement and there is often a bit of confusion as to which product is which and what they are designed to do. Shoulder mounts are primarily designed to give you additional support and help distribute the camera weight more effectively. They are usually used for stationary work as an alternative to a tripod or monopod. A steady mount helps you achieve more stability when moving around with a camera as they allow you to get a more natural holding position. Although they won’t provide that full floating effect that a stabilizer can deliver they are quicker to set-up and can be more easily used in windy conditions. Popular steady mounts include the Manfrotto Fig Rig and Hague Camframe range. Stabilizers allow you to get that true floating effect and, with practice, will allow you to take your filming to the next level. The variety of stabilizers available today is vast from the full body harness Steadicam set-ups through to small stabilizers like the world famous Mini Motion Cam for small handheld cameras.
What is all the fuss about sliders?
The camera slider phenomenon has really exploded in recent years and more and more people have invested in these useful rail systems. Being small, compact, versatile and easy to set-up has made them extremely popular and the leading brands such as Glidetrack and Hague Camslide now have a variety of different systems depending upon the type of rail you want, the bearings the carriage uses and the type of camera you are using. Although I would agree that these are great pieces of kit I would still consider other systems such as tripod tracking dollies, ride on systems and the neat mini table dollies depending on the shots you are hoping to achieve, the location and the equipment being used.
Mark Scotton is the Sales Manager for Hague Camera Supports and for the Cameragrip online sales site which ensures an in depth knowledge of the grip market. Hague Camera Supports design and manufacture a variety of camera support systems and Cameragrip.co.uk sell a wide range of camera equipment from some of the world’s leading brands.
Further information on grip and support systems can be found at www.cameragrip.co.uk where you will find a variety of products from the major brands within the industry.

Tags: iss062 | dslr | support | tripod | glidetrack | camslide | b-hague | hague camera support | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

    Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

  • Air Alloy Tripod System from Miller Fluid Heads at IBC 2014

    Air Alloy Tripod System from Miller Fluid Heads at IBC 2014

  • Sachtler at IBC2011

    Sachtler at IBC2011

  • Sennheiser HandMic digital and MKE 440 at IBC 2016

    Sennheiser HandMic digital and MKE 440 at IBC 2016

  • Belfast TOUR

    Belfast TOUR

  • Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

    Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

  • Canon on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Canon on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Pinknoise at BVE North 2012

    Pinknoise at BVE North 2012

  • Hireacamera at ProVideo2011

    Hireacamera at ProVideo2011

  • Audio Developments at ProVideo2011

    Audio Developments at ProVideo2011

  • Jonathan Harrison at BVE North 2011

    Jonathan Harrison at BVE North 2011

  • Litepanels at IBC2011

    Litepanels at IBC2011

  • Petrol at IBC2011

    Petrol at IBC2011

  • Virtual and Augmented Reality support with the Arrow Fx7 from Miller at NAB 2017

    Virtual and Augmented Reality support with the Arrow Fx7 from Miller at NAB 2017

  • Miller Camera Support at IBC 2016

    Miller Camera Support at IBC 2016

  • Cineline Fluid Head from Miller Camera Support at NAB 2014

    Cineline Fluid Head from Miller Camera Support at NAB 2014

  • Hague Camera Supports at ProVideo2011

    Hague Camera Supports at ProVideo2011

  • Mac Mini support from Sonnet Technologies at NAB 2019

    Mac Mini support from Sonnet Technologies at NAB 2019

  • GPU acceleration from Sonnet Technologies with Adobe support at NAB 2019

    GPU acceleration from Sonnet Technologies with Adobe support at NAB 2019

  • PHABRIX QXIP support for SMPTE 2110

    PHABRIX QXIP support for SMPTE 2110

  • PAM-IP and ST-2110 support from TSL at NAB 2018

    PAM-IP and ST-2110 support from TSL at NAB 2018

  • 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos support by Halo from Nugen Audio at NAB 2017

    7.1.2 Dolby Atmos support by Halo from Nugen Audio at NAB 2017

  • Telestream Vantage support for DPP at IBC 2014

    Telestream Vantage support for DPP at IBC 2014

  • Miller Cineline tripods at IBC 2015

    Miller Cineline tripods at IBC 2015

  • Miller Compass tripods at IBC 2015

    Miller Compass tripods at IBC 2015

  • Skyline 90 from Miller at NAB 2017

    Skyline 90 from Miller at NAB 2017

  • Combo Live 55 Pedestal from Miller at NAB 2017

    Combo Live 55 Pedestal from Miller at NAB 2017

  • Libec ALLEX slider system at NAB 2014

    Libec ALLEX slider system at NAB 2014

  • Ianiro on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

    Ianiro on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

  • Vinten at NAB 2012

    Vinten at NAB 2012

  • Polecam at NAB 2012

    Polecam at NAB 2012

  • Sachtler at BVE 2012

    Sachtler at BVE 2012

  • Libec HFMP Monopod at BVE 2017

    Libec HFMP Monopod at BVE 2017

  • CueScript EMC prompter and control surface at IBC 2014

    CueScript EMC prompter and control surface at IBC 2014

  • Studio Technologies at NAB 2014

    Studio Technologies at NAB 2014

  • Camdec at BVE 2014

    Camdec at BVE 2014

  • Polecam at BVE North 2012

    Polecam at BVE North 2012

  • Thear Technology Limited at BVE 2012

    Thear Technology Limited at BVE 2012

  • Polecam at IBC2011

    Polecam at IBC2011

  • Compass X Heads from Miller Tripods at NAB 2018

    Compass X Heads from Miller Tripods at NAB 2018

  • Miller Compass X Series of Tripod Heads shown at IBC 2017

    Miller Compass X Series of Tripod Heads shown at IBC 2017

  • SISLIVE Manpak tripod antennas at NAB 2015

    SISLIVE Manpak tripod antennas at NAB 2015

  • MILLER Cineline 70 Tripod System at NAB 2015

    MILLER Cineline 70 Tripod System at NAB 2015

  • Sachtler Tripods at BVE 2015

    Sachtler Tripods at BVE 2015

  • Miller Arrow X Series at NAB 2016

    Miller Arrow X Series at NAB 2016

  • KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

    KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

  • Ianiro at BVE 2013

    Ianiro at BVE 2013

  • Ianiro at BVE North 2011

    Ianiro at BVE North 2011

  • Tiffen at IBC2011

    Tiffen at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Show 19 - June 19th 2013

    Show 19 - June 19th 2013


Articles
TV Futures - The Shadowing Experience
Daniel Jones My name is Daniel Jones, and it is no accident that I’m currently studying BSc (Hons) Television and Broadcasting at the University of Portsmouth. Since completing GSCE media studies I have been constantly questioning what I watch with questions such as, “Wow, how was that filmed?” or “That looks amazing, I wonder how long that took?” It should come as no surprise that I made it a big focus of mine to get myself some real work experience to give myself some answers to these production questions.
Tags: iss136 | portsmouth university | runner | student | education | training | Daniel Jones
Contributing Author Daniel Jones Click to read or download PDF
BSC Expo 2019 Report
Paul MacKenzie BSC Expo returned to the Battersea Evolution on Friday February 1st and Saturday 2nd. It is a busy and friendly event though this year in need of some temperature control: exhibitors around the entrance area were uncomfortably aware of the wintry conditions outside and the main hall was in need of cooling.
Tags: iss136 | bsc | cinematography | canon | c700 | c200 | cartoni | holdan | blackmagic | peli | panasonic | sennheiser | sony | fs5 | teradek | viten | flowtech | Paul MacKenzie
Contributing Author Paul MacKenzie Click to read or download PDF
Living LIVE at BVE with Ross Video
Jon Pratchett KitPlus’ Jon Pratchett chats to Stuart Russell, Ross Video, in the BVE studio. Covering customer partnerships and loyalty, pain points, growth, industry trends, pace of IP adoption, 12g SDI technologies, UHD / HDR, 8k, AI and we try to get a hint of new products on the horizon...
Tags: iss136 | ross video | 12g sdi | uhd | hdr | ip | bve 2019 | bvexpo | Jon Pratchett
Contributing Author Jon Pratchett Click to read or download PDF
4k and HDR Wireless Camera Transmitters
David Edwards Across the globe, live events represented over 50 percent of the most watched TV programs last year. However, big budget episodic shows are impacting live TV and the way viewers want to see their content. Viewers are demanding the same quality of production for live event broadcasts as they see in pre-recorded TV series and films. Producers of live content are looking to new, immersive and cinematic mobile camera views to better achieve these results. This presents a challenge to live production teams as these new camera views and angles must match the quality of the rest of the production -  the demand for mobility means that the cameras need to be wireless.
Tags: iss136 | wireless | hdr | 4k | transmitter | bandwidth | imt vislink | hcam | David Edwards
Contributing Author David Edwards Click to read or download PDF
Sennheiser Memory Mic User Review
Dr Anthony Willman The Sennheiser Memory mic, adding to the new generation of semi-professional equipment that is helping the need for high quality audio in parallel markets that until now, did not have the budgets to achieve ‘great’ results.
Tags: iss136 | sennheiser | memory mic | doctor | audio recorder | Dr Anthony Willman
Contributing Author Dr Anthony Willman Click to read or download PDF