As a director of photography, my goal is always to create buttery smooth cinematic shots, which usually requires at least a slider, jib or tripod. It can be a real challenge to use all three when you have a small crew or long distances to travel on foot. My crew and I encountered just this problem on a recent project in Washington, D.C. We needed a kit that would let us shoot highly dynamic scenes, but we had to keep our gear list to a minimum. I had recently received a pre-release version of Manfrotto’s new Nitrotech tripod head, which would turn out to be a blessing.
We were able to adapt the Nitrotech head to fit a 100mm ball mount on a set of Manfrotto 535 tripod legs and a 3 foot Manfrotto slider. This really came in handy when we needed to film a few sliding reveals and a variety of pan and tilt shots. Since we were shooting on a RED EPIC-W, we had a payload of around 16 to 18 pounds on the head. It was easily able to hold the weight.
With the Nitrotech, Manfrotto has added a new counterbalance system that keeps the head from jerking backward or forward when performing tilting shots. It was a dream! Nate, my 1st AC, took note of this and was blown away when we did a full 90° tilt looking up on our slider and the camera remained in place without issue. I’ll definitely use this head on all of our future productions because it’s so versatile and easy to use.
Andrew Geraci (@Drew_Geraci) is director of photography at District 7 Media.