Attorney Video: The Problem With Using a Lightweight Aluminum Tripod in the Field

tripodThe great thing about using a lightweight aluminum tripod is that it’s light. It’s compact. When extended my travel tripod can reach about 5 feet tall.

The problem with using a lightweight aluminum tripod to shoot your attorney video is that it’s lightweight. It will have difficulty keeping upright when you put your camera and audio devices atop it.

Add to that wind that is inevitable when shooting video outdoors and you are setting yourself up for a disaster.

You won’t realize it immediately. You won’t realize it on playback in the camera. You won’t realize it as you are shooting your video.

What you will realize is that there is wind. You will realize that there is wind noise.

The only time you will realize you have a problem is when you upload your video to your computer and begin to edit. Then you’re going to wonder why your footage looks shaky. You’re going to wonder why, even though you’re using a tripod, it looks as if someone is holding it by hand.

This happened to me recently when I was at a legal marketing seminar in Jamaica. It was a beautiful resort and as I was shooting video near the beach, there were strong winds. I knew I was in for some trouble.

I always take my lightweight aluminum tripod with me when I travel. It fits nicely into my suitcase and doesn’t add any significant weight. The problem, as noted above, is that it is not as stable as my regular tripod which has heft and substantial weight.

As I expected, a few of my videos looked as if they were shaking throughout the video. I tried to cut up those segments as best as possible without destroying the central core message of my attorney video.

When shooting video in the field, you always need to strike a balance between using a tripod that is light enough yet stable enough to hold all your equipment and be completely stable without movement when faced with wind.

Before you try and save money and think you’re getting a great bargain on a $30 lightweight tripod, let me suggest that you buy something more stable with more weight. Unless of course you only plan on shooting video in a controlled environment like your home or office.

In those instances, there’s a good likelihood you will not encounter any wind indoors.

Share with me in the comments below what kind of tripods you use and what your experience has been with them.

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2 Responses to Attorney Video: The Problem With Using a Lightweight Aluminum Tripod in the Field

  • I have seen horror stories where videographers have had the tripod topple over and crash on the ground. That can be a costly mistake!

    I first started using a ball head tripod, thinking it would provide ease of adjustment, but it ended up being not strong enough and I kept having to adjust the pivot angle and the level. I switched to a swiveling flat head tripod and it works a lot better.

  • Last week I created some video while using my travel aluminum tripod. It was pretty windy outside and the camera strap kept getting blown all over while shooting video. I knew it would be a problem. Needless to say, while editing, I continued to see shaking throughout my video. What I should have done was remove the strap and switch to my heavy duty professional tripod.

    Did I do it? No. Why not?

    I didn’t want to track down where my other tripod was, switch out the camera, take off the straps and start all over again. My bad.

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Gerry Oginski is the master of online video. If you have not seen his videos, you should. He’s done more videos than any lawyer out there. The big edge that Gerry has over his competition is that his videos allow consumers to get to ‘know’ him before they even pick up the phone. His use of video on his website and his video blog is amazing.

Ben Glass
Founder of Great Legal Marketing and a practicing personal injury trial attorney in Fairfax, VA