What Tripod Should I Buy For Filming Sports?

Tripods or other stands/mounts are used to stand your camera on and provide stability to your filming.

The primary factors to consider when purchasing a tripod are the weight/sturdiness and price. Other factors are how much you’re going to use it, do you look after your equipment well and the weather conditions it is likely to be used in.

 

Prices

Generally speaking, I would advise getting a tripod that matches the quality of your camera. If you’ve yet to purchase a camera, here is an article advising what camera you should purchase for your team/club/school/organisations circumstance.

Table 1 below gives a guidance on what to roughly spend on a tripod.


Table 1

Simply, if you have an expensive piece of kit on top, you want something that you are happy it won’t blow over in the wind. If you intend on using the camera outdoors unsupervised/static for perhaps a behind angle on for filming a drill then you need to be particularly sure it is heavy enough.

On the flip side of this, the heavier the tripod is, the more difficult it is to move it about, a tripod bag can help with this.

 

Further considerations

If you plan on using it quite a lot, it makes more sense again to spend a bit more on it. Cheaper ones are flimsy and can break when used a lot.

If you don’t take good care of your equipment in general, I’d recommend spending slightly more for a tripod that can take a bit of wear and tear. Although more costly to replace, you will avoid the hassle of purchasing one more often.

 

Recommendations

Velbon EF61

The Velbon EF61 is your starter tripod. It is lightweight at 1.7kg so easily manoeuvrable, has a solid fluid-head and is relatively durable for the price it is. With it being so light, place it carefully rather than throw it in the back of the car and consider taping it something heavier on a windy day.

 

Velbon DV-7000N

The Velbon DV-7000N has very similar features to that of the EF61 but weighs in a little heavier at 3.47kg which will give you that bit more stability.

 

Mantona 158cm Dolomit 1200

This tripod is a bit heavier again at 4.4kg and has spin-lock thrice legs. These heavier models come with a smoother pan head allowing for better filming.

 

Vantage Point/HiPod/Endzone Tripods

These are tripods that can be sent up from 12 to 35 foot in the air with a wired or wireless connection to a screen where you can watch what is being recorded from the ground. The major benefit of these tripods is that it allows you to access height almost anywhere. A huge advantage for those playing at a level where stadiums are uncommon. It also brings a lot of versatility to training for professional teams.

The downside of these is that they are very expensive, starting at ~€1800 before VAT and before you’ve bought the camera. They can also be quite bulky so you could need more than a small hatchback to fit the larger ones in. If you are interested in one of these systems you should consider what camera you buy so you can be sure that it is compatible with the remote/screen of the tripod.

My other recommendation is to avoid ones that use a joystick to pan/tilt your camera. I found these have delays and the more electronics, the more likely something is to go wrong. Look for ones with mechanical arms and consider how much you need it before you purchase it.

 

Conclusion

Tripods are what you make of them. If you put them at the back of your car underneath a heavy bag, they can get damaged and become useless so look after them! Use a bit of WD-40 on the legs when required and wipe it down after it has been in the rain. If you are looking to purchase a more expensive tripod, I would not hesitate to check them out in a shop and get a real feel for them, how the legs unclip, how does the pan and tilt head feel, will you find it a nuisance carrying it.

Let me know what you think at bfitzpatrick@bfsportsanalysis.com.

Need to buy a camera? Read here.
Have everything you need but not sure how to film properly? Watch here.


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