This past April, I travelled to Las Vegas to attend and work at the National Association of Broadcasters convention (NAB). I split my time speaking to people at the event in the Vinten and Kessler booths.

The tripod is one of my most important pieces of kit. I use one everyday to stabilize my camera and achieve super smooth panning and tilting shots.

tom-with-blue

When I use a tripod, I do not want any surprises. I do not want any sticking or slipping. And I definitely do not want my camera to tip forward or backwards on its own.

If you own a cheap tripod, you deal with these issues all the time. Many low-end tripods do not have the important adjustments necessary to help you get precise movement and control.

The very first thing I do before pressing the record button on the camera is to dial in my tripod head. Once I get perfect balance and friction, I am ready to make good looking images.

I demand a very high quality tripod and head and Vinten has proved that over my 15 years of using their products. On many jobs, I am using Vinten gear that has been around the world and shows years of use and abuse. I am always impressed with build quality and find that even a Vision or Vector series tripod that is nearly 20 years old still preforms like a newer system.

nab-vinten-2013

While at Vinten’s booth this past NAB, I was surprised at how many people I bumped into who did not know how to properly balance a tripod head. It may sound boring and unnecessary to some, but this is extremely important to me and my work. I hope this blog not only helps people to get the most out of their tripod systems, but also helps you understand why a perfectly setup head will save you frustration in the field or studio.

I shot a quick video with Vinten’s product manager, Andrew Butler. After reading the rest of this blog, you can find the tutorial at the top of this page.

In addition to showing you how to properly balance a Vinten Blue ENG style head, Andrew also shows you how to dial in a large studio Vector head.

Visionblue5

I have been sent many emails over the past few months asking advice on a good tripod for DSLR use. Users wanted a set of sticks with a great fluid pan head, durable build and something that would last a lifetime. The cost had to be around $1,000 USD. I would recommend the Vinten Vision blue when shooting with a Canon 5D Mark III, but have to toss in a warning with that advice.

A naked 5D Mark III (no matte box, follow focus, etc.) with a small prime or zoom lens is extremely lightweight. The DSLR comes in at about 3 lbs. The spring inside a Vinten Vision blue can not go soft enough to properly balance that lightweight payload. The end result is “spring back” and the head wants to fight you and push or pull the camera back to center when tilting.

Vinten has come up with a solution. A very simple one.

bluebridge-shot

The new blueBridge was designed to bring the center of gravity of the small camera higher, thus tricking the blue head into thinking that the camera weighs more than it actually does.

This small piece of metal has the grooved Vinten wedge plate built-in, so no need to stick another plate on the bottom of the blueBridge to mate into the top of the pan/tilt head. The cost of the blueBridge is about $100 and it will be available soon.

DV_Diamond_2013

The blueBridge won the Digital Video Black Diamond Award at NAB this year. Keep an eye on this page in the next few weeks for a link to purchase the blueBridge.