Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Production Gear › WORST panner in the world; give me tips please
January 15, 2016 at 11:46 AM #89062
I’m really awful at panning. I’ve tried using the rubber band technique to pull my fluid head, but my pans are still jerky. It’s probably because I drink too much coffee and am generally uncoordinated. But there must be something I can do…
Are there any other techniques I can try to get smoother pans?
January 18, 2016 at 10:49 AM #213379JackWolcottParticipant
Panning with a moving figure, for example, allowing adequate space in front of the figure as you pan, requires lots of practice. Many weekend videographers expect this to come naturally; it doesn’t. A good exercise is to set up your camera on the tripod and pan with anything moving. You don’t need to record, just go with the flow.
As far as adjustment is concerned, I find that the head should be loose enough that there is absolutely no “stick” when moved. If you have to overcome tension on the head you’ll get a jerky start.
A trick I was shown many years ago is to position your feet and body facing where the pan will end, then twist your torso to where the shot will start. You’re starting with the toughest position and ending with the least stressful, kind of like a spring winding down. This will smooth our your pans quite a bit.
Make sure the pan head is properly adjusted, then practice, practice practice.
January 18, 2016 at 12:47 PM #213382rs170aParticipant
Are you using a real ($$$) fluid head, a cheap fluid head or a pseudo model?
The reason I ask is that there’s a very big difference between the three.
I have a 30 year old Miller fluid head tripod that cost more than some cars at the time of purchase and I love it. Very smooth and easy to so smooth pans and/or tilts with just one finger.
I also have a Manfrotto that was a lot less money but still a fluid head model and the difference between the two is night and day. It’s impossible for me to get as smooth a pan or tilt with the Manfrotto than I can with my Miller.
You really do get what you pay for when it comes to a good tripod.
January 18, 2016 at 7:01 PM #213385
Jack—great tip. Luckily I have two dogs to practice on. Mike—I was afraid that someone was going to say that the only way to get a good fluid head is to pay a lot of money. But now that I know that a 30-year-old Miller is a good option. What model is yours? Do you have one of the ones with the wooden legs? I’ll see if I can find one on e-bay.
January 18, 2016 at 7:01 PM #301493
Jackgreat tip. Luckily I have two dogs to practice on. MikeI was afraid that someone was going to say that the only way to get a good fluid head is to pay a lot of money. But now that I know that a 30-year-old Miller is a good option. What model is yours? Do you have one of the ones with the wooden legs? I’ll see if I can find one on e-bay.
January 19, 2016 at 3:30 AM #213387rs170aParticipant
Space Racer, mine is a Miller 30 and is a 2 stage model with aluminum legs. Besides Miller, look for anything older from Sachtler, Vinten or O’Connor as they’re all broadcast grade manufacturers. You many need to send the head back to the manufacturer for an overhaul. Mine went back once about 15 years ago and could use another trip as it’s getting a bit stiff again.
January 20, 2016 at 5:58 PM #213398artsmithParticipant
As ‘Columbo’ used to say on TV, ‘Just one more thing’; do not exceed, when panning or tilting, the speeds capable of being accommodated by the dreaded ‘roller-shutter’ action of CMos image-sensing systems. If you do, or find yourself pushing the envelope a bit, some roller-shutter effects may be mitigated, or eliminated altogether by software such as ‘Mercalli 4’.
February 26, 2019 at 11:27 AM #72008772kevincopelandParticipant
At our church, I always tell my guys to use their body to pan. We are using more of a ‘studio’ configuration with small manfrotto heads and dual pan handles. Both hands on the pan handles. Don’t pan with your arms, but use your body to pan side to side smoothly. Ramp up and ramp down. Takes a lot of practice, especially for volunteers who only do this once a week at church.
Of course a good fluid head will make your life a lot easier too.
February 27, 2019 at 1:12 PM #72008946paulearsParticipant
Any kind of decent head works better than the cleverest rubbish one – you also need to make sure the head allows the tripod to play no part ion panning. Look at your tripod where it meets the head. When you pan, do the tripod itself twist? If so this is adding to your problems.
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