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Fluid Head Tripods Help to Stabilize Video Shots

Stilted movements of a camera on a tripod can cause a video to appear choppy as the camera pans across a group of people or scene. A method you can use to reduce the friction that causes the choppy movements when filming is to use a tripod with a fluid head. Fluid heads are designed to eliminate friction to allow you to move the camera back and forth (and up and down) freely without having any parts rubbing against each other that would increase friction and interfere with a smooth flowing transition in a shot.

How does a fluid head work?

A cushion of fluid sits between the top and bottom parts of the head. The cushion is a sealed compact filled with grease or oil. The bottom of the top part is concaved so that it can rotate around over the cushion of fluid. There are mechanisms on the unit to help you control the camera when setting the lens at an angle or when panning.

What should you look for in a fluid head?

There are a number of things to look at when determining which tripod is the right one for you and your camera. Among the things to consider are:

  • Locks: A camera should have three locks on it to help control movement; separate mechanisms are used to lock the camera plate, tilting, and panning features in place.
  • Tension controls: These help control the speed in which users tilt or pan the camera, depending on the desired effect.
  • Counterbalance controls: These maintain the balance of the camera and tripod at different angles so that it does not fall. The controls are designed to be used with different devices, from small DSLR cameras to large camcorders, and they can be used to achieve different shot styles.
How do you connect the fluid head to the legs?

There are a couple of different ways in which fluid heads can be connected to legs on the tripods. Some tripods have a threaded screw on the plate at the top of the legs and the head is screwed onto it. Other styles have a rounded bottom that sits in a cradle at the top of the legs and is bolted into place. The screws and fitting can come in various sizes depending on the type of camera you have and the type of tripod you want to use. Before choosing a tripod for your camera, make sure the threads and fittings on both pieces of photography equipment will match each other.

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