Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Best Tripods For Under $1K

Sticks.  Everybody needs 'em.  Carbon Fiber or aluminum?  Here's a good beginner to intermediate list of the best tripods under $1000.  I always recommend going with the best brand name you can afford, as you get what you pay for.  Try to decide how much you'll be using your new tripod, and how durable those sticks need to be.  Lots of mobility means you need the most lightweight tripod possible, but every pound you shave off means more money.

Manfrotto 190XB - 3/8" thread mount
$126
Material: Aluminum
Supports: 11 lbs
Weight: 3.96 lbs

Manfrotto 055XB - 3/8" thread mount
$132
Material: Aluminum
Supports: 15.4 lbs
Weight: 5 lbs

Acebil Tripod - 75mm bowl
$200
Material: Aluminum
Supports: 55 lbs
Weight: 5.5 lbs

$216
Material: Aluminum
Supports: 26 lbs
Weight: 5.7 lbs

$247
Material: Aluminum
Supports: 33 lbs
Weight: 4.3 lbs

Libec T72 tripod - 75mm bowl
$300
Material: Aluminum
Supports: 77 lbs
Weight: 5 lbs

$367
Material: Aluminum
Supports: 44 lbs
Weight: 7.7 lbs

$369
Material: Aluminum
Supports: 33 lbs
Weight: 4.4 lbs

$450
Material: Aluminum
Supports: 44 lbs
Weight: 6.6 lbs

Sachtler 4188 75 - 75mm bowl
$492
Material: Aluminum
Supports: 44 lbs
Weight: 5.1 lbs

$550
Material: Carbon Fiber
Supports: 44 lbs
Weight: 5.1 lbs

$688 
Material: Carbon Fiber
Supports: 44 lbs
Weight: 5.5 lbs

$952
Material: Carbon Fiber
Supports: 44 lbs
Weight: 4.4 lbs

For my money, I'd go with the Sachtler 4183 ($369), Manfrotto 535 ($550), or Sachtler 4588 ($952).




FIRST PLACE: Manfrotto 535 carbon fiber / $550 - For the money, this seems to be the best value for its low weight at 5.1 lbs (carbon fiber rocks), and the 44 lb capacity.  A 75mm bowl for quick leveling.




SECOND PLACE: Sachtler 4588 carbon fiber / $952 - At just under a grand, the rolls royce of tripods weighs in at 4.4 lbs.  I downgraded this bad boy, simply because of the high end price.  This is the one I want versus the one I deserve.  Soon, my child.






THIRD PLACE: Sachtler 4183 Aluminum /  $369 - You're saving money going with aluminum, but it can still hold up to 33 pounds.  At only 4.4 lbs, it won't cramp your shoulder if you have to go mobile with your sticks.  Great price, and the best brand on the market.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

AUDIO: Shock Mounts For DV Boom Poles






If you're like me, you spent your holidays obsessing about which shock mount to get for your boom pole.  This piece of equipment isolates the shotgun microphone from noise, and provides a stable mounting connector to the boom.  Below are four options for getting good, quiet sound from your boom.








< The K-Tek ($122) is expensive, but well worth the price.  With a machined aluminum base that screws directly into the 3/8" screw of my boom pole, the K-Tek only has one moving part. It has both vertical and horizontal mounting threads, and a ratchet-style arm for adjusting the microphone angle.  Lightweight and solidly built, the K-Tek is what you need.





K-Tek in action


< Here, the K-Tek is mounted (screwed) on the boom pole.  Solid connection in the thread.  The suspension rubber is thick, and it takes a bit of kinoodling to get the microphone to slide in properly.  It only carries shotgun mics.



< The RODE ($50) is a solid piece of equipment.  But, it has plastic parts that could easily become cracked or broken through overuse.  Make sure to correct any wobble by tightening the underneath screw.  It has a hot shoe connector or 3/8" stud mount (plastic).



< The Pearstone ($56) shock mount is almost identical to the Rode.  However, I feel the rubber is stronger, and would be better suited for the abuses of production.  The base has a 3/8" or hot shoe mount.

 < The Azden SMH-1 ($30) shock mount is pretty good, but lacks the ability to adjust the microphone angle.  It has a locked off metal support base rod that keeps the microphone isolated.  It has a hot shoe or 3/8" mount thread, but the 3/8" thread was too small for the boom pole connector.  I had to use a few adapters to be able to attach the shock mount.