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Railfan Technology > Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train passes?


Date: 11/08/19 14:26
Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train passes?
Author: rbenko

Hey all:

I don't take many videos, but when I do (and when I use a tripod) I've noticed that if I'm near the tracks when a train rolls by, the camera shakes noticeably. I've seen this on many videos posted here and elsewhere, although I've also seen rock-steady videos where the camera was quite close to the track.  Image-stabilization seems to make the situation a bit worse - the picture gets wavy in a very distracting way, although maybe that's just the IS on my equipment.

Anywho, anyone have any helpful techniques to combat this?  I have a pretty decent tripod (Gitzo composite legs with an Acratech ball head), but it's certainly not a video tripod.  Are there tripods out there that help this situation?  Anything else to try?

Thanks for any help.

Rob Benkovitz
West Palm Beach, FL



Date: 11/08/19 14:34
Re: Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train pas
Author: exhaustED

I've noticed this issue as well...

It gets better if i remember to 'stabilise' the tripod i.e. waggle it about so it's more firmly planted when on soft-ish ground.
I think it will also get better if you could attach a pretty heavy weight to the tripod to keep it stable.

Otherwise maybe there are tripods with integral dampers... but i bet they'd be expensive! 

I've just had a vague recollection that someone asked a similar question in thepast... and someone suggested putting a bean-bag under each tripod leg...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/09/19 00:00 by exhaustED.



Date: 11/08/19 15:32
Re: Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train pas
Author: trainjunkie




Date: 11/08/19 15:38
Re: Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train pas
Author: refarkas

I used my hands to put a fair amount of downward pressure on the place where the tripod's legs join. The pressure had to be kept steady, so I did not pan often. Also, some surfaces vibrated like a drum head. You could be fifty to a hundred or more feet away from the tracks and still have vibration.
Bob



Date: 11/08/19 16:19
Re: Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train pas
Author: norm1153

I've read that it is best to turn off image stabilization when it's mounted on a tripod.  Maybe that could help.
 



Date: 11/08/19 16:39
Re: Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train pas
Author: NormSchultze

In many cases, yes. Turn off stabilization, unless, the system has a setting for stabilization AND tripod.  It's in the instruction manual, which we all have read--right?



Date: 11/08/19 22:26
Re: Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train pas
Author: wa4umr

A similar question came up a few years back. I looked up some articles about the problem and in the situation at that time, I found a few suggestions that seemed to make sense. The best one was using a car window clamp mount.  It may or may not work for you.

John

PS.  I did a little more looking around and often these mounts are listed a "spotting mounts."  They are used for spotting scopes for hunter ad shooters.  They also have a 1/4-20 threaded screw to attach the scope or camera.  I found prices ranging from about $7.00 up to $250.  Most are in the $15 to $45 range.  



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/09/19 13:20 by wa4umr.




Date: 11/09/19 19:21
Re: Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train pas
Author: rbenko

Thanks for all the great suggestions - I'll have to try a few next time I'm out shooting.  Seems that there isn't a quick, foolproof way of totally eliminating the vibrations (didn't think there was anyway), but some interesting things to try out.



Date: 11/10/19 08:23
Re: Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train pas
Author: choodude

I've been told the various steady-cam rigs are helpful, but I don't know which kind would work for you:


https://smile.amazon.com/s?k=steadycam+stabilizer&crid=19Y07ZOA6K73A&sprefix=steadycam%2Caps%2C187&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_9

Brian



Date: 11/18/19 11:47
Re: Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train pas
Author: MaryMcPherson

It comes down to a couple of factors: the quality of the tripod, and the track you set up next to.  A three hundred dollar Manfrotto is going to get better results than a forty dollar Wal-Mart special.  Also, if you set up next to a rail joint you are more likely to get noticable camera shake.

Mary McPherson
Dongola, IL
Diverging Clear Productions



Date: 12/04/19 14:28
Re: Best way to prevent tripod-mounted video shake when train pas
Author: Alco251

Believe it or not, the best tripod legs for absorbing vibration and achieving the best stability are wooden.

I don't know if any wooden ones are still produced. Years ago, when I made the switch from shooting 16mm newsfilm to electronic cameras and video tape, they "gifted" us new aluminum tripods. Oh, how I wished I would have keept the wooden one that served me well. When I retired from shooting for broadcast television, my "sticks" were a very expensive carbon fiber set manufactured by Sachtler and they actually approached the stability I enjoyed with my old wooden Miller sticks decades earlier. 

Does your tripod have a hook underneath the tripod head socket? Attach a sandbag or shot bag to this hook when the legs are splayed and you may achieve better stability. And putting a video camera on a sandbag, sitting on a solid object like a car hood, a rock or a lineside fence post, may give you great stability if you don't want to pan with the train's passing. We used to teach newbies that the ground is the best tripod ever invented...

FYI--of all the gear used in video production, tripods and good-quality fluid heads seem to hold their value better than any other productuion equipment. It reflects the fact that good tripods can be used for almost any kind of new technology.



 



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