Techniques Using a Monopod

The 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.


What to look for

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

  1. Use the Monopod for dolly shots by rocking the monopod forward and back.
  2. Hold the monopod at the base and lift the camera into the air for that overhead crane shot.
  3. Use a foot on the monopod feet to improve stability
  4. You can also mount microphones on a monopod to make a boom mic or a light stand.
  5. Use the monopod as a selfie stick.
  6. Poke a camera through a window or door for a POV shot.
  7. Turn upside down and film upside down to get great foot tracking shots.
  8. Use your two legs and the monopod as a third leg of a tripod.
  9. Get that pan shot by twisting the monopod
  10. Turn the monopod and camera upside down and use a a cheap steadicam.



Manfrotto Element MII Video Kit Aluminium Fluid Monopod with Video Head


SIRUI P-204SR/VA-5 Monopod with Stand Spider and Video Head 


Benro Connect Video Monopod with S2 PRO Flat Base Fluid Video Head, Head Mounts to 3 Leg Base


Gitzo GM4552L 1/4, 3/8" Carbon Black Camera Monopod


Using the Monopod as a Dolly
Lean the monopod back and then slowly move the monopod closer to the Talent or object.

Panning Most monopods are easy to swivel, so with a bit of practice smooth pans can be made. Remember to pan slowly.

Pedestal. The monopod can be lifted up, but it is often much easier to let the pole slide through your hands on the way down. Raise the monopod up and then let is slowly slide through your hands on the way down. If you want to go up, film going down and then reverse the film.

Following someone through something like getting out of a car, open the windows and then pass the monopod through the window following the Talent out to the other side.

Turning the monopod into a jib
Now there are some addons that can turn the monopod into a cheap hand held jib, like this one from Joby. 

Joby Action Jib Kit for Camera. Use a light camera for this one.

There are two ends the screw onto the monopod one at each end, with a cord to connect them.


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.

Have a go at these exercises until you feel you have nailed it. If you want help or support then email me at


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