Part 2 – Fluid Head Selection
Now that you’ve selected your video camera, it’s now time to get serious about purchasing a few much-needed accessories. In part two of this series, we will be diving into the importance of a good fluid head. As far as I am concerned, a fluid head is the most important accessory that you can acquire if you want to capture smooth footage. A quick google search will reveal there are fluid heads of all shapes and sizes available to choose from, but there are a few key features that I look for when choosing a fluid head.
Above all else, I look for a fluid head that is light weight and compact. For the SELFILMED hunter, we are typically using smaller professional video cameras and there is no need to purchase a fluid head with a weight capacity 5 times greater than what you actually need. I personally look for a fluid head that weighs in at 2 pounds or less, and is as small in size as possible. In part 3 of this series, we will be discussing camera arm selection. After reading that part of the series, it will become very apparent how important the weight aspect of your camera setup can be. For now, consider only this fact, the more your fluid head weighs and the larger in size it is, the more you’ll be carrying to and from your treestand when you hunt. That alone is worth the weight savings.
Aside from the weight, you need to purchase a fluid head that actually does what a fluid head is built to do. Pan and tilt with a fluid motion. A two-way pan and tilt head should have adjustable/steady tension whether you are panning to the right or left, or if you are tilting your camera up and down. It is also important that when you let go of your camera to take a shot, that your camera stays in place. So having a fluid head that has adjustable drag/fluidity is a must. Most decent fluid heads have you covered in this department, but it is important that you do some research prior to purchasing such an important tool.
Last but not least, it is also important for me to find a fluid head that is multi-purposed. I use my fluid head almost 99 percent of the time for videography, but it is important that I can also use it for still photos. I currently use the Manfrotto MHXPRO-2W fluid head, and what I love about this head is that is makes use of the Manfrotto 200pl/RC2 Quick Release plate. With a setup like this, it is a piece of cake to quickly swap from recording video with your video camera to taking trophy pics with your DLSR/still camera. Being able to mount my DSLR onto my fluid head without changing plates is a convenience I have come to love.
Below is a list of a few fluid heads we felt are good options for a SELFILMED hunter. This list isn’t all-inclusive, but will serve as a starting point for your search.
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SELFILMED 101 Series:
- Part 1 – Camera Selection
- Part 2 – Fluid Head Selection
- Part 3 – Camera Arm Selection
- Part 4 – Camera Remote Control
- Part 5 – Camera Setup and Placement
- Part 6 – Importance of 2nd and 3rd Angles
- Part 7 – Interview Strategy
- Part 8 – Shot List
- Part 9 – After the Shot
- Part 10 – Putting it all Together (Editing)