The tripod, or three-legged supporting device has been in use for hundreds of years.
Ancient Chines and Mayan civilizations have used pots and pans with tripod-like legs for cooking, cleaning and many other basic life functions.
Tripods are used in modern civilization for conducting road surveys, holding guns, music stands, outdoor antennae’s small tables, and much more.
The tripod itself is a popular form because it allows the extension of three separate legs that allow vertical and horizontal stability, with the added benefit of mobility when needed.
The earliest hand cranked camcorders used wooden tripods to support cameras that were 50 pounds or more, and still had the benefit of quickly folding up so that it can be carried to the next place for filming again.
Tripods come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. The smallest tripods, or micro-pods as they are sometimes called, stand only 3 or 4 inches tall. Smaller tripods are designed to be used with small handheld camcorders, cameras, or even cell phones.
Some models also have legs that can bend and stretch around poles, fences, chairs and other objects, to hold a fixed position to get a great camera photo or a certain camcorder video angle.
Some of the largess tripods for sale today have legs that stretch to over 9 feet tall, and hold cameras that are over 80 pounds. These tripods such as the Gitzo Series 4 5 Section Tripod also come at a Hefty Price of over $1200.
What to Look for in a Tripod
If your shopping for a tripod then I would look for several specific features, especially if your planning to film different events with a lot of people such as wedding receptions, or parties.
1. Tripod Height
When filming weddings, I try my best to capture the action without participating in the action, or interrupting the special moments, such as the cake cutting, and speeches.
In order to do that I often am filming the wedding reception from the back of the room. In the back of the room there are people constantly walking in front of me serving food or getting up to leave the room.
When shopping for a tripod, look for a model that extends more than 72″ high, so that your camera can film above the heads of the people walking by and you can still get the shot you need.
2. Tripod Options
Sometimes a tripod is the best tool to use, and sometimes a mono pod is better. A mono pod is a tripod with only one leg.
Some tripods for sale today such as the Sunpak 75X Tripod Series includes a built-in mono pod as well as the base Tripod. To use the Mono pod all you have to do is lift the center leg out from the middle of the three support legs, and then the unit (already attached to your camcorder) can be used as a Mono pod.
For added Stability you can also attach a weight at the bottom of the mono pod that matches the weight of your camcorder, then you can simply hold the poll so it acts like a Glide cam.
3. Tripod Price
The last option is to look for a tripod that meets your budget. Everyone has different budget requirements, and if you’re an independent video professional then you’ll want to buy something affordable to keep business costs down.
The model that my wife and I chose to invest in after exploring these requirements is the Sunpak 620-750. This particular Unit has the Monopod built-in, it extends to a height of 74.5″ and it’s affordable, as of this writing the tripod sells for Just under $100. To learn more about this tripod and to get the latest prices, I recommend you check out this Tripod on Amazon.com.