The ability to shoot in every direction poses a new problem: How do you hide the photo and video equipment in 360 photography? The U.K.-based camera support company Manfrotto is offering a solution — an entire range of tripods and accessories designed specifically for 360 as the company announced 360 tripods on Wednesday.
The new 360 tripods start with a base designed to be thin enough not to appear in the shot. Three different base designs allow for a range of different heights using a traditional tripod style adapted for a narrower, base hidden from most 360 cameras. The bases are available in different heights and different materials, including the cheaper aluminum or the lighter carbon fiber. Along with the traditional bases, Manfrotto’s new lineup also includes a wheeled dolly, suction cup stand, and mini tripod.
A selection of extension booms that can be mixed and matched with the bases allow the system to accommodate a number of different heights. The lineup also includes a clamp to attach a 360 camera to poles and flat objects, and includes kits that mix the bases and extensions.
While a multi-lens 360 camera does not need a panning head, Manfrotto is also releasing a virtual reality panoramic head with sliding plates, designed to use with a DSLR and manual stitching for 360 panoramas. The plates allow the camera to rotate on both horizontal and vertical axes, while precise adjustments help minimize the pain of stitching in post production, the company says. The aluminum base is rated to handle over eight pounds.
Manfrotto’s new lineup is the first support system to be created specifically for 360 shooting (though there is a robo-dolly to keep both people and tripod out of the shot). While traditional tripods can be used with 360 cameras, sometimes the tripod’s feet or even the handle on a panning head are too wide, popping up in the resulting shot. The new line is designed to solve those issues while maintaining compatibility with the rest of Manfrotto’s lineup.
Manfrotto says that the new products are compatible with most popular 360 cameras. The company suggests the new system is designed to accommodate both professional and hobbyist photographers and videographers and the $70 to $760 price range seems to support that statement.
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