How to Use a Tripod and Tripod Quick Release

Learning to use a tripod is actually a pretty easy step in improving the quality of your videos. Add in a handy gadget called a tripod quick release and you'll be well on your way to more efficient and successful video making.

In this YouTube®, take a look at what Marc Linn, resident equipment geek at Groovy Videos, has to say about tripods and why a tripod quick release is a good investment:

Let's start by addressing some basics. Why would you want to use a tripod in the first place?

The point of a using tripod with your video camera is to support the weight of your camera and provide stabilization while you're filming. Tripods help with smooth panning -- that's horizontal movement. And they help with tilting -- that's vertical movement.

Tripods help get your camera at the right height and angle for your shot. Getting a nice, steady shot is key to making videos that have that professional look. Jerky movements can distract your audience from the product or service you're trying to showcase in your video. A simple, sturdy tripod (which you can purchase for around $30) can easily help with that. 

Tips for Setting Up Your Tripod

Before setting up your tripod, review the area for best placement. How close or far away do you need to be from your subject to get the shot you want? Is the lighting better shooting from one angle than another? Save yourself time and hassle by carefully selecting your location before starting your setup.  

If you need to plug into electrical, determine the location of the nearest outlet before you do your setup. If you need to run an extension cord to your camera, make sure you have sandbags or tape to keep the cord on the ground and prevent it from becoming a trip hazard.

Gently undo the leg lock on your tripod and pull the leg down and out. Do this for each of the legs, adjusting as needed for the right height and for level shooting. Check the bubble level on your tripod and be sure to lock down each leg securely.

If you're filming outside on uneven ground, you may need to spend extra time getting the tripod just right. Never attach your camera to your tripod until you're certain the tripod is stable. 

Using the Quick Release Mechanism

Here's a summary from Marc's video (see above) about how to use a tripod quick release:

  • The quick release mechanism allows you to easily attach and detach your camera from the tripod. 

  • The quick release assembly consists of the base that attaches to the tripod and the plate that attaches to the camera. If you're purchasing a tripod with a built-in quick release and you think you might need an additional plate for another camera, be sure to find out first if you can buy additional plates for that particular tripod.

  • Be careful not to force the bolt on the quick release plate into your camera. If it doesn't turn easily at first, try lining it up again. You don't want to force the bolt into the camera or you could damage your camera's threads. 

  • If you have multiple cameras and only one tripod, a good idea is to have a separate quick release plate for each camera. Keep a plate attached to each of your cameras and you can easily swap out cameras using the same tripod. This also helps in protecting the threads on your camera.

  • When purchasing a quick release assembly, make sure you get the right assembly for your particular tripod since not all of them work with every brand of tripod.

Be sure to check out our related article, "How to Use a Tripod for Great Customer Interviews!" And for more camera information, check out our camera tips page.

Or check out our Groovy Videos Home page for our latest articles.