Five Hi-Hat Hacks for Video

Filmmaking isn’t an exact science. Some tools just won't work for the job. Sometimes you just need to roll up your sleeves and get creative to get the job done. With that said, there are many ways to misuse a tripod, but we’re not talking about that kind of hack. Instead of the DIY route, why not use the right tool in the first place? Let’s face it, some angles aren't possible with a standard tripod, but don’t fret. We have a solution — there is a tool for that: The Benro Hi-Hat. 

1. Go High or Low

Low-hats and Hi-hats are traditionally used to easily get ground level and lower-than-normal camera angles. However, carrying both of these tools to a shoot can often be really difficult because of their weight and size. The Benro Hi-hat takes all the best features of these tools and combines them into a height adjustable tripod that can be set low to the ground, or at a slightly higher height, making it super easy to get the shot you want without needing to carry twice the equipment.

2. Stuff it in the Corner

It can sometimes be difficult to fit a regular tripod into a tight space because it will limit how and where you position your camera. Since the Benro Hi-Hat is more compact and has a smaller footprint, it naturally fits in more places. Not to mention, it also has accessory mounts on the outside of the bowl for you to attach accessories which offers a ton of flexibility for any situation.

3.Bolt it Down

Balancing a tripod on an elevated surface can be fraught with danger. Have you ever tried getting a high angle shot? Good luck getting it without a hi-hat! With its pre-drilled foot holes, the Benro Hi-hat circumvents the difficulty of getting a high-angle shot from a ladder, ledge or other precarious camera position pretty easily. This makes for greater safety and stability and avoids the cost of specialized equipment that may be needed for a high angle shots.

4. Set Each Leg Independently

Where your camera is placed can make or break the shot. The ability to communicate the filmmaker’s vision is key. Shooting from angles that require being positioned on unusual surfaces, like a fire escape, can be difficult with a standard set of sticks. Because of the Benro Hi-Hat’s independent leg positioning, it can remain evenly positioned and level when the surface is not. Combined with the added benefit of its bowl design, getting a level shot from an uneven surface is simple, quick and easy.

5. From a Moving Vehicle

Shooting from a moving vehicle isn't easy. Keeping a stable shot without expensive stabilization is extremely difficult. Use a full size tripod, and it might not be possible. With the Hi-Hat’s low center of gravity, it can avoid being whipped around by wind or tip over from motion. It might seem a bit shaky at first, but adding Warp Stabilizer in post will smooth it right out.

No matter your need, there is a Hi-Hat for you. Benro’s Hi-Hat comes in two sizes:  75mm and 100mm. The 100mm will accept a 100mm head and includes a 3/8"-16 low-profile tie down adapter. With the adapter, it’s able to transform to a “Lo-Hat" for getting even lower to the ground. Both have a high maximum load at 165lb and 220lb respectively. They are ideal for greater stability and make shooting alternative angles easy to achieve. The Hi-Hats are priced respectively at $199 and $249. A carrying case is also included. Further information and specifications can be found at

Susan Schmierer
Susan Schmierer
Susan is the Art Director at Videomaker and Creator Handbook Magazines.

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