This morning while filming at Good Harbor I was reminded once again that I need to upgrade my tripod (for myriad reasons). The first problem is that wildlife, especially ducks and geese, are fearful of my tripod’s shiny black metal because it so closely resembles the barrel of a gun. When I got back to my office I randomly googled camouflage tripod in hopes that there is such a thing. There are many options but the tripods that seem most appealing to me are the Berlebach models. Read the following from the B & H Photo Berlebach description about the superiority of wood over metal and carbon: “…despite wood’s impervious nature to temperature and its general asthetic appeal, the best reason to choose wood over any other material for a tripod is its incredible ability to absorb vibrations. Wood simply does not resonate vibrations such as other materials, instead it gobbles them up. A wooden tripod placed in a shallow stream may be vibrating quite a bit where the legs meet the water, but up at the column it is dead as a doornail.” WOW! Okay, I am sold!
The next thing to figure out is the difference between a leveling center column and a ball leveling system. I often struggle to get a smooth shot with my current tripod when filming, especially in sand and other unstable surfaces, and have to spend many precious minutes adjusting the legs to create a level platform, whereas a ball leveling system sounds ideal. I am reading a great article from Videomaker, “The Best Type of Lightweight Tripods for Cameras,” and am looking at lots of panning and tilting heads online, but would love to know of anyone’s positive experience with their tripods and tripod heads.