Techniques Using a Monopod
When would you use it?
Typically, I use the monopod more when I am going out and I know there will be little room, but I need a really good and steady support for the camera.
Why would you want to use it?
To steady the camera to get smoother video.
When you are in a small area, such as in a crowd of people or a confined space.
When using a telephoto setting or a long lens, the camera movement is magnified. The monopod reduces this.
They are easier to transport than a tripod, fitting easily into most gear bags or attaching to them.
Buying a Monopod
Types of Monopod
There really seem to be two basic types of monopod. Those that are made in lots of section and are very small, and those that are much bigger and heavy and much more stable and stronger. I have both but I exclusively use the large monopods now since what I need to a steady support and the small telescopic ones - even the good makes are not good enough.
Many of the so-called video monopods have three little feet, which is great for maintaining a more steady shot, but these are not to be used to leave the camera unattended as they will fall over with damaging consequences.
Size or number of sections. Generally the more sections the more wobbly it is. Stability is key with video. So I suggest no more than 3 sections for video work.
Solid - Good construction. Extend the monopod out and see how much it bends. A flimsy monopod is a waste of money.
A good head or no head. If no head, you can put any of your choice on. If it has a head check if it is good for video. Most are sold for photography and you are doing video. If you need a head then one with a quick release plate is ideal.
A good hand strap. This is how you can make the monopod far more stable and it also allows you to move the monopod around for some smooth movement shots.
If weight is a problem then go Carbon Fibre.
The walking stick. I have a couple of heads that screw onto the monopod that turn it into a walking stick. Most people seem to think I just have a walking stick and when I turn it into a monopod they are surprised.
With some tripods like the Benro, one of the legs can come off converting the tripod into a monopod.
10 Tricks and Tips for using a Monopod
- Use the Monopod for dolly shots by rocking the monopod forward and back.
- Use a foot on the monopod feet to improve stability
- You can also mount microphones on a monopod to make a boom mic or a light stand.
- Use the monopod as a selfie stick.
- Poke a camera through a window or door for a POV shot.
- Turn upside down and film upside down to get great foot tracking shots.
- Use your two legs and the monopod as a third leg of a tripod.
- Get that pan shot by twisting the monopod
- Turn the monopod and camera upside down and use a a cheap steadicam.
Investigating the Pan jib and Dolly actions.
Pan: Have a subject walk across the scene. use the monopod to follow them keeping the same distance in front of the body.
Jib up or down a scene. Use this behind a tree to suddenly reveal your subject.
Dolly. Move forward towards the subject by pivoting the monopod.