Shotoku Smooths Shots at Trans Global

Bob BaileyODESSA, TEXAS—Trans Global Productions is a video production company that cut its teeth in the late 1970s and 80s. Today we handle multicamera shoots on-location or in-studio.

We cover a lot of concerts, sporting events, college and high school graduations and similar events in Texas and New Mexico. I also shoot video training videos and create promotional videos and TV commercials.

I attended the NAB Show this year to research new cameras for our productions. Quite unintentionally, I came across the Shotoku SP60 tripod at Canon’s booth and was immediately struck by how nice the tripod handled and how smooth it felt. My attention went from cameras—which was why I was in the booth in the first place— to tripods. I wasn’t familiar with the Shotoku brand then, but I was quite impressed with their products. I later located the company’s booth, and after spending more time with the SP60—and also the company’s SP80—I left with a business card in hand.

Once I returned home and went out on a shoot with a heavy aluminum tripod I’d been using for some time, this got me to thinking about the Shotoku models I’d seen at the NAB Show. I remembered that their tripods were much lighter than the unit I was using, yet they were quite sturdy.

Shotoku was nice enough to send me demo SP80 and SP60 units to allow me to compare them with my existing support gear. We used the SP60 and the SP80 for a football game production. My camera team fell in love with the Shotokus and I was sold.

The simplicity of operation and ease of control on the SP60 and SP80 heads are the best features. The pan-and-tilt locks feature “stops” which prevent over-tightening. As a result, when the locks are released, the tripod remains stable instead of jittering or shaking.

I like a heavy fluid motion when I shoot, and believe my pans and tilts look smoother when greater force is required to move the camera. However, my other shooters prefer a lighter fluid setting. The SP60 and SP80 can be set for a heavier or lighter response just by flipping a lever.

This came in very handy recently when a heavy wind developed while we were shooting.

My crew members were using the lighter settings, but when the wind started blowing, their shots began moving around. The shooters clicked their pan levers into the stronger setting and the wind became much less of a problem.

We’ve only used the tripods for football, but it’s evident that our shots are much smoother than ever before. My other camera operators can’t wait until additional SP60 models arrive.

I’m very happy with my Shotoku purchase. I thought it was going to cost a lot of money to change out our tripods, but to my surprise, the cost of the Shotoku tripods was extremely reasonable.

I look forward to using this new support gear for a long time to come.

Bob Bailey is president of Trans Global Productions and can be contacted

For additional information, contact Shotoku at 866-746-8658 or