by Michael D. Morgan
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. We can all agree there are a lot of tripods available for cameras of all types. While many of them look similar, there are a select few who truly stand out from the crowd.
Fortunately, I'm able to work with companies in an area I thoroughly enjoy—developing videos for training, new products, new processes, video-zines and general information. Understandably, each of these areas requires different approaches and equipment requirements.
When dealing with product training we must capture the intricacies of the equipment/product, and the close-up hands-on interaction. In many circumstances we're not able to place the product or the technician's hands and interaction the way we'd like to shoot it. Consequently, we have to maneuver our cameras around the equipment and the trainer and reset. Dealing with tight quarters, tight shots and constant setups can be a challenge.
Michael D. Morgan MANY TRIPODS, MANY FEATURES
We have a standard complement of single leg two- and three-stage, and tandem two-stage tripods, with each one having its own distinct advantages and disadvantages such locking, unlocking, raising, lowering, spreading etc. Regardless of what each one offered, we didn't have one tripod that could give us all the advantages we wanted, such as quick setup, versatility, ease-of-use, light weight and maneuverability.
Now we do. The Manfrotto ART 542 carbon fiber tripod has given us everything we wanted and a bit more too. I won't go into the technical details, but I will say that somebody put a lot of thought into this tripod.
COULDN'T BE EASIER TO USEAccording to its U.S. distributor, Bogen Imaging, the ART touts it as "from securely closed to fully open in four seconds without a single lever, button or knob." What makes this tripod unique is the patented ART (Advanced Release Technology) mechanism for the fastest opening, positioning and closing operations. Setup is really a snap—place it approximately where you want it, hold the handle on the top side and push down on the two opposite tops of the tandem support. Stop at the approximate height that you want to spread the legs, and then adjust the "squid" spreader to the spread you want, lock it down and you're ready to shoot.
If you have to work in an uneven confined area where one of the legs needs to be shortened, there's a simple lever to adjust each leg as needed. If you need to move, just lift up the spreader, place the tripod where you want it and repeat the procedure. The spreader adjusts from very wide to narrow for a solid feel.
Our skepticism about versatility vanished when we experimented with as many different configurations that we could think of—from stairs to equipment closets and on inclines. It easily handled everything we threw at it.
When you wrap up, the ART 542 easily closes down and the tripod legs interlock without extra clips, straps or hooks. Just put it in the bag and you're done.
A tripod by the name of ART 542 is not just another tripod—it's the "best of show."
Michael D. Morgan is president and CEO of Creative Media Productions (a subsidiary of Morgan Success Group), a business consulting company headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. He has been involved in broadcasting for some 30 years. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Bogen Imaging at 201-818-9500 or visit www.bogenimaging.us.