First up is my Vanguard Alta+ 263 AT tripod. I chose this tripod because of the price ($110 new on Amazon), reviews and specs. It met the requirements I was looking for in a tripod, from everything like in the field photography and videography to "studo" interviews. It's light enough to throw over my shoulder and carry back in the woods without too much fatigue setting in while also being sturdy enough to not shift when panning the camera, though the first leg setting isn't the best for this (need the middle leg setting for the best stability it seems). All that being said, let me list out some of the specs (you can find more after following the link above):
Weight: 3.31 lbs
Leg Sections: 3
Leg Lock Style: Flip Lock
Feet: Rubber with retractable spikes
Leg angles: 3 (25 degrees, 50 degrees, 80 degrees)
Extended Height: 60 1/4 inches
Folded Height: 22 5/8 inches
Max Load: 11 lbs
Features: Hook to hang bag/counterweight, padded leg wraps, rubber shock mount to protect equipment if center column slams down, carrying case
Now we have the one item I wanted last year that I just never got: A LANC remote. I won a Varizoom VZ-Rock for a steal of a deal on ebay ($62 lightly used; these are $250 brand new!) and am very pleased so far with it after a little testing. The side-to-side rocker for the zoom control is smooth and very controllable while the focus rocker works decent too; I am just going to have to get used to it in order to get smooth focuses though. The only complaint I have with this remote is that the button to turn on/off the data on the LCD screen doesn't seem to work. No big deal though since I am used to all of that being up there anyway, plus for $62, who can complain about that? If I really wanted to get it fixed, I could send if off to Varizoom and they would fix it for $70, which would still put me over $100 less than a new one. All in all, it does the job intended and is a great addition to our video arsenal this year!
All that is left for me to get are a Zoom H1 for the Go Pro (audio is the key ingredient to good video and the Go Pro's on-board mic is seriously lacking), a set of wireless mics (a big investment and might not happen this year) and Beachtek adapter, and finally a light for those early morning/late evening "camp" shots as well as nighttime recovery. Got an opinion on the items I touched on in this entry? If so, let your voice be heard and leave a comment!