I don't have any budget to buy a nice new sturdy tripod, but am up for trying all sorts of whacky DIY ideas! Anyone have any thoughts?

This is essentially the same as mine: http://www.amazon.com/Vista-Explorer-60-Inch-Lightweight-Tripod/dp/...

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Does yours have the nifty hook for hanging weights from? I'd fill a milk carton with water and hang it there. Maybe 2 of them. 

I'd also rig up something to separate the legs and form a sturdy triangle - probably the best idea I've seen for that is cutting a big triangular shape out of plywood and then laying it on the floor and attaching the feet to it. If you don't have a big enough chunk of plywood you could use bars, like 1 x 3s or something. You could probably secure it all together with duct tape. 

Then once you've got a nice sturdy base that won't let the legs wobble or slide around, pile weights on it. Concrete blocks, bricks, sand bags, whatever. 

It's also not a bad idea to use some tape to mark exactly where the corners are sitting on the floor so if you trip over it and move it you can get it right back. Or heck - tape it down too! 

or start scouring craigslist, ebay, thrift stores for a better tripod. the truth is, you end up employing strider's techniques and suggestions anyway.

also- hot glue is your best friend.

Even a heavy tripod can move if you bump it. I use a Spreader, which is made of aluminium - 3 radiating legs that lie flat on the floor, with a hole to put each tripod foot into - but a triangular piece of plywood does the job just as well. Or it can be square, or circular, as long as the three holes are in a triangular shape. Then you can put a sandbag or anything heavy in the middle. The 3 legs of my spreader are telescoping to adjust the distance, so it works with the tripod legs lengthened or shortened, but making a row of holes in the ply for each leg would work just as well.
If you can rig something that holds each tripod foot down, that would be ideal, but otherwise a weight hanging off the tripod centre would help to stabilise it.
But I have managed to bump and move a heavy tripod, no matter how it is fixed down, so working out a clear path from the puppet to the computer is still essential. Also I take off my shoes to animate, since my bare feet don't hot the tripod as hard, or as often, as klunky work boots. Sometimes I'm well clear of the tripod, and a lightweight one works fine on its own. Other times there is barely enough room to squeeze past, and it's worth using the spreader and weights. Also I might place a heavy object like a vice on the floor near the tripod leg, so when I've been going a few hours and am getting sloppy, I kick that instead of the tripod.

thanks all, i will definitely try the spreader idea. and yeah, mine has a hook in the middle which i had been hanging weights, but obviously not enough weight!!

if you're not bothered about the floor, hot glue the legs to it in addition to weights etc,

all good advice... I am looking for solutions to this myself... anyone got any opinions on Manfrotto Junior.. I want some kind of tripod where I can turn the head like this one...  but where would I get a really REALLY really heavy tripod from.. vintage, obviously, I been looking on eBay but nothing so far, comes even close... ??? 

thanks,

James.

Get a thick piece of wood, find out the diameter of the tripod legs, find the angle of the legs, and drill. If needed, add some weights or clamp the board onto your desk. 

good advice.. thanks, I can't do anything like that yet though, I haven't even got a drill or any tools.. I will invest at some point soon.. I want to get a shed or outside sheltered space in place next if I get enough money together again, somewhere to work in all weathers out of the rain, keep all the mess outside.. it's amazing how much stuff we need to do stopmotion animation.. especially if we get into building sets and puppets and work on a bigger scale...  

I'm probably talking crap here, but if we are all so scared of knocking the tripod, why not just build a solid concrete block base, laid flat.. and mount a camera head onto it.. like a breeze block or brick wall 1xmetre high and drill a hole into the top block and mount the 1/4" screw thread or 3/8 screw into the hole.. place your camera mount assuming your using a DSLR onto the screw.. that would be pretty solid wouldn't it.. assuming you got a ground floor space, like a solid floor to work off... I was going to do that in my new outbuilding, but in the end it was easier to just go and buy a tripod, I will probably learn the hard way, but I'm just starting off anyway so see if this works first...  I'm trying to lay out my space now so that the tripod is to my far right of the room, the set, so there's less chance of ever knocking it.. I will try different ideas until I get it right... we all have to experiment right... 

  
Count Croc said:

Get a thick piece of wood, find out the diameter of the tripod legs, find the angle of the legs, and drill. If needed, add some weights or clamp the board onto your desk. 

I find I usually need to move the tripod from one shot to the next, so although a concrete block does have a certain appeal, I probably need to stick with the tripod.  Placing the camera and tripod further away does help, but it depends on how close-up I want the shot to be, and which lens i use, whether that will work.  For a few shots I did have to move the camera away just to get in to move the puppet, and then I cropped the final image to get the closeup shot I wanted.

Hey Nick,  yeah good point, I guess most of us need the flexibility of the tripod setup, that's what they are designed and used for right.. mobility..

can I ask you here about lens..  I bought a few vintage Nikon lens.. 55mm, 35mm, 24mm, 105mm still on order to arrive later..  I bought all these on the recommendation of an animator guy on youtube did a video on -Best vintage lenses for stop motion (these are all the ones I got off eBay)  Simon T. told me about this video.. the youtube guy said 55mm -  focal distance of 9.5" away from figure / for close up shots / like mid body shots... and the 35mm - focal distance of 12" for medium shots / med. wides  and the 24mm - for focal distance of 13.5" - good wide angle lens ..and the 105mm - focal distance of 18" ..so does this mean that I can't stay in focus less than those distances away from the puppet?  ..so with the 55mm for example I can't place the camera any closer than 9.5" away from the figure right? or it won't be infocus, it will be blurry.. is that right?  as you can see I haven't clue about how camera / lens work!     This guy says these are a good set of lens, you won't need any others, so went bit nuts and ordered them all off eBay.. would you say that I need the 105mm?  because I haven't had that yet, I could cancel it.. but the 105mm ( Nikon micro 105mm F4 - 1.4 - ) 18" focal distance.. does that mean I can place this camera further away from the figure or the point I'm trying to focus on.. like the other side of the room.. I wish someone would do a video tuturial on lens and.. also one on how to do pans / tilts / zooms /  - one step at a time hey - 

Thanks James.



StopmoNick said:

I find I usually need to move the tripod from one shot to the next, so although a concrete block does have a certain appeal, I probably need to stick with the tripod.  Placing the camera and tripod further away does help, but it depends on how close-up I want the shot to be, and which lens i use, whether that will work.  For a few shots I did have to move the camera away just to get in to move the puppet, and then I cropped the final image to get the closeup shot I wanted.

What is the problem you are currently having with the tripod?  There really isn't a perfect way to secure a tripod if you bump it.  Every tripod or crane, or moco, or anything else I have bumped always gets bumped and you have to reset and often start over.  A nice tripod helps to know that it won't sag or settle while you animate, but it doesn't really prevent bumps.  I like to put kickplates (2x4 hot glued to the floor) in front of mine so I don't bump the tripod with my big feet.  

I think that it is often more important to make sure the floor you are animating on is 100% stable ( CONCRETE ).  If you are on a wooden floor make sure you stand in precisely the same spot to take capture each frame.  Mark a spot on the floor and put your feet on that spot each time.


Hey Adam, I am ok now, I was having some issues trying to decide on which tripod at first, or whether to even bother with buying a tripod and instead try some diy setup instead like the picture that someone posted on here of a 5kg I think weightlifting plate and attaching some kind of camera head to it.. that looked pretty solid.. or use a slider that I got which can be placed on the set table.. but I bought a tripod now.. so it's cool.. I am just thinking ahead any potential issues.. that can be prevented or just limiting the risk of knocking. and that's an excellent suggestion of the kick plates.. I think I will try that, I think someone else mentioned that idea or some kind of wood frame around the legs to hold it in place... but I got a smooth concrete screed floor so I could do that easily..  DOES THE CONCRETE FLOOR HAVE TO BE ABSOLUTELY LEVEL?  it's slightly out in parts here.. there is a level on the tripod though..   glueing the wood down though is a definite winner.. it gives some kind of protection from the feet.. I will defo try that...   

thanks, James.

Adam Taylor said:

What is the problem you are currently having with the tripod?  There really isn't a perfect way to secure a tripod if you bump it.  Every tripod or crane, or moco, or anything else I have bumped always gets bumped and you have to reset and often start over.  A nice tripod helps to know that it won't sag or settle while you animate, but it doesn't really prevent bumps.  I like to put kickplates (2x4 hot glued to the floor) in front of mine so I don't bump the tripod with my big feet.  

I think that it is often more important to make sure the floor you are animating on is 100% stable ( CONCRETE ).  If you are on a wooden floor make sure you stand in precisely the same spot to take capture each frame.  Mark a spot on the floor and put your feet on that spot each time.

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