Today I wanted to talk about my favorite video accessory, the video monopod. Now, notice that I said VIDEO monopod and I’ll soon get to what makes it unique. I’ll be using the Manfrotto 561HDV video monopod and show you why overall this the most versatile camera support piece of gear that I own. I’m not kidding, take away my tripods and fluid heads but leave my monopd alone!
So why would you want to use a monopod for video? If you’ve spent any time shooting video, you know that unstabilized hand-held footage just doesn’t work. The shake that you get when trying to keep a camera still is enough to make anyone feel dizzy. And this doesn’t even take into account any panning, tilting or shifting.
The support equipment used most often for video is a tri-pod. Now while a tripod does offer perfect stability, and a good fluid head allows you to get pan and tilt shots that are buttery smooth, you’re a little restricted when it comes to adding motion to your video.
This is where the video monopod comes to the rescue. While it can’t rival a great tripod as far as sheer stability goes, it’s versatility and the variety of different shots and looks it offers make it an absolute must in my opinion.
Let’s spend a little time looking at the features that make a video monopod unique and then we’ll go and look at some of the shots that it can produce.
Next let’s check out some of shots you can accomplish using a video monopod.
A reveal shot is one where main subject of your shot is initially hidden, and then is revealed using some type of motion. There are 3 types of reveal shots that I like to do:
This is another shot that I really like. I start out with the camera shifted forwards towards the subject and then acquire focus. I then start the shot then pull back out losing focus of the subject. I’ll then later on reverse this in Post so that I can get a perfect zoom in.
This by no means is meant to replace an actual stabilizer for your camera but it will give you usable results when in a bind. Simply grip the monopod below the camera with as little pressure and you can and then walk with as little bouncing movement as possible. Again, it’s never going to replace a professional stabilizer and you will also get tired very quickly, but it is an option you should be aware of.
Hold the monopod and the arm or the arm on the strap and then move the monopod in a wide arc with a smooth motion. You can also use this hold for the zoom in technique we discussed earlier.
Ok, this isn’t one I use very often but I wanted to mention it. Extend the monopod and then tilt and set your focus. You’ll then place the feet on your thigh and swing the monopod so that it’s pivoting on your leg. You can use this to get some unique overhead shots.
In this section I want to cover some more general information about using this type of monopod.
First, as with any support system, the more points of contact you have the more stable you are. When it comes to the monopod, you can tuck the monopod arm in your armpit, use both hands, and even get a viewer for your camera which will let you have a total of 5 points of contact, including the monopod itself.
If I’m careful, the monopod can be balanced and can stand on its own, however I don’t usually feel like leaving 7K of equipment on it and walking away.
The video monopod is definitely one of my favorite camera supports. It’s easy to use, lets me very quickly get a variety of shots and is super portable. I used a manfrotto 561BHDV for this video and I’ll add a few links in the descriptions for a couple of models I think you should check out if you’re interested in getting a video monopod.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if you have suggestions of different types of shots that you get with your video monopod.
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