If you have a camera and a tripod, you can shoot just about anything. A tripod is a crucial piece of film equipment. A tripod not only makes your videos look stable but is also designed to keep your camera safe and stationary. But what if you forgot your tripod or just don’t own one yet? Here are a few DIY tripod alternatives — or try-pods — that you can use for safe and stable camera support.
Chances are your camera equipment isn’t cheap, so when looking for alternatives to an actual tripod, you’ll want to make sure your try-pod will keep your camera safe from harm. Use these suggestions at your own discretion.
The internet defines a tripod as “a three-legged stand for supporting a camera or other apparatus; a stool, table, or cauldron resting on three legs.” So by definition, a table would be a great alternative tripod.
Pros: Tables especially give you a good base for a tripod. Tables are designed to give users the same structural stability that a traditional tripod offers. This also makes it your safest choice. You also won’t have to look too far for a table since tables are everywhere.
Cons: Most tables have a fixed height, so unless you are working with an adjustable standing desk, you’re stuck with the height of the table you have —unless of course, you’re a big reader.
BONUS: With a smooth surface like a table, all you need is a towel, and you’re able to use that combination as a DIY video slider.
Stack of books
In the early days of YouTube, several vloggers “try-pod” of choice was to take a stack of books on top of a table and place their camera on top of it. And it worked.
Pros: You get to adjust the height of your try-pod however high you want (provided you have the books available).
Cons: A stack of books isn’t the most stable of structures. One bump and down does your tower of books and your camera. So do so with caution, and maybe a pillow or two around the bottom of your book stack.
Now, this may be the most precarious option for a substitute tripod, so again, we make the suggestion with much caution and discretion.
Ladders are structurally designed to remain free-standing and upright in a variety of environments. Additionally, they are designed to be stood upon, unlike most kitchen tables.
Pros: Using a ladder as a try-pod gives you the most amount of height for your shot. They can even give you an angle normally achieved with having jib or crane.
Cons: The higher you climb, the harder you fall. If you are going to use a ladder as a tripod, it’s recommended that you are either on the ladder holding the camera yourself. Or, if you’re going to leave it free-standing, one suggestion is to have it surrounded by pillows, blankets, or someone with cat-like reflexes. (Seriously, you don’t want your camera dropping from that high up.)
Sand Bags: Sandbags can be used to help adjust your camera angle by propping one right beneath your lens. It can also serve as some extra weight when placed next to your camera to make sure it doesn’t move.
Gaffer’s tape: Using gaffer’s tape can be very useful in further securing your camera on surfaces you’re worried about getting bumped or jostled.
When it comes to getting your shot, stability is absolutely necessary. You have a lot of options to work with if you don’t have ready access to a tripod. From tables to stacks of books to ladders, there are a lot of options — and risks — to getting that perfect shot you need for your next project. What are some of your favorite alternative tripod solutions to use?