Useful Tips About the Different Camera Support Systems

Different types of camera support systems include tripods, monopods, dollies, cranes, and jibs. Each type of support system has its own advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when choosing the best option for a particular shot.

Tripods are perhaps the most versatile and commonly used type of camera support system. They can be used for a variety of shots, from static shots that don’t require any movement to complex tracking shots. Tripods come in a variety of sizes and designs, so it’s important to choose one that is appropriate for the type of camera you are using as well as the size and weight of your camera rig.

Monopods are a simpler alternative to tripods, offering more mobility while still providing some stability for your camera. Monopods are often used in situations where tripods would be too cumbersome or difficult to set up, such as when shooting handheld video or following moving subjects.

Dollies provide smooth horizontal or vertical movement for your camera, which can add production value to your shots and help create dynamic compositions. Dollies typically require additional crew members to operate them, but they can be worth the investment if you plan on using them frequently.

Cranes

A monopod: more compact, and quicker to set up, than a tripod

A monopod is a single pole that is used to support a camera, either in place of or in addition to a tripod. Monopods are generally smaller and lighter than tripods, making them more portable and easier to set up. They can be an ideal choice for photographers who want to be able to move quickly and easily between locations.

Monopods can be used with any type of camera, from small point-and-shoot models to large DSLRs. They can also be used with video cameras, although they are not as stable as tripods when shooting video. Many monopods have built-in heads which allow the camera to pan and tilt, making it easier to follow moving subjects. Some even have quick release plates so that the camera can be quickly attached and detached from the monopod.

When choosing a monopod, it is important to consider the weight of your camera and lenses, as well as the maximum height you need the monopod to reach. Monopods vary in price depending on features such as height adjustment range and leg lock type (twist locks are generally quicker and easier to use than flip locks).

A slider, dolly (or wheelchair) for tracking forwards, backwards or sideways

A slider is a device used to create smooth, controlled camera movements. It consists of a track on which the camera slides, and a system of pulleys or wheels that allows the track to be moved forwards, backwards or sideways. Sliders can be used to create a variety of different effects, from simple pans and tilts to more complex shots that involve moving the camera through objects or around corners.

Dollies are similar to sliders in that they allow for smooth, controlled camera movements. However, unlike sliders, dollies typically have four wheels instead of two, and they are designed to be pushed or pulled along by hand. Dollies can also be equipped with tracks, which allows them to move in straight lines (for tracking shots) or along curved paths (for following shots).

Wheelchairs are another type of support system that can be used for moving cameras. Wheelchairs offer the advantage of being able to move in any direction (including up and down stairs), but they can be more difficult to control than dollies or sliders.

A jib for vertical crane moves

A jib is a crane-like device that consists of a horizontal arm that is mounted on a vertical mast or post. Jibs are commonly used to lift and move heavy objects, but they can also be used to provide support for cameras during filming.

Jibs come in a variety of sizes and designs, but they all share the same basic components. The horizontal arm, known as the boom, is attached to the mast at one end and extends outwards. A counterweight is typically located at the other end of the boom to help balance the load.

An electronic stabiliser for flowing Steadicam-type shots

An electronic stabiliser, also known as a brushless gimbal, is a device that helps to keep a camera steady during long or complicated shots. It consists of a frame that supports the camera and lens, and motors that rotate the frame in order to counteract any movement of the camera.

The idea of an electronic stabiliser is similar to that of a Steadicam, which is a device that uses weights and pulleys to keep a camera steady. However, whereas a Steadicam relies on gravity to work, an electronic stabiliser uses electric motors to achieve the same effect.

There are many advantages to using an electronic stabiliser over a Steadicam. For example, because they don’t rely on gravity, they can be used in any orientation – meaning you can get those flowing shots where the camera seems to float through the air. They’re also much smaller and lighter than Steadicams, making them much easier to transport and set up.

However, there are some disadvantages too. Electronic stabilisers can be expensive, and they require batteries which can add weight and bulk to your kit. They can also be noisy – something which may not matter if you’re shooting video but could be problematic if you’re trying to capture audio as well.

I'm a photography enthusiast with a passion for classic film cameras and writing. I believe that photography is a powerful tool for storytelling and I strive to create images that are evocative and meaningful. I hope you enjoy my work!