I remember it like it was yesterday.
I had just finished my hardcore b movie short film (A Pale Horse), moved to New York City, shot a series of music videos back to back, and had my favorite tripod broken in the worst way. What favorite tripod is this you ask? This was the low budget filmmakers first love….. the Davis and Mother Funkin Sanford F18 provista grounder tripod.
This tripod was more 733t than anyone could imagine. The head itself could support a whopping 18lbs and the legs could limbo low as funk to give you a decent range of versatility. It was the perfect tripod for me for a few crucial reasons: 1…. It was a ‘fluid head’…. which meant that there was juice in it that would make movement smoother until the juice decided to leak out all over the place, —–>
2: it could drop low to the ground without having a center post screwing up everything or have a spreader that would kill the ‘lowness’ ability…—>
and 3: I could remove the head and connect the half ball to my DIY slider and connect the head to the carriage in order to make 733t camera dolly movement ( f18 head pictured with manfrotto carbon fiber legs)—>
By the way… it had no counter balance whatsoever and 0 pan/tilt adjustable. Anything resembling a large lens or rod set up would have your camera diving down really fast. So it could definitely hold 18lbs of camera, as long as you never tilted with the thing. haha.
Did i mention it was only $200 at the time?
It was an AMAZING tripod. and totally suited all of my needs. until it broke at the carriage…..and there was nothing to it…just pure equipment failure.—>
i was bummed a bit at first when it happened but i cheered up right away because tiffen (the company that owns davis and sanford) are really nice and were totally cool with sending me replacement parts….—>
but then it broke again..After the last breakage I decided that i would study the ways of the tripod and find out which ones were the best and most used by everyone.
I saw a whole bunch of Sachtler systems and a whole bunch of O’conner (for the more serious rigs) systems and i also saw their massive price tags. and i mean MASSIVE price tags
Sachtler did have the ACE out at the time which was in my price range but i just wasnt feeling the plasticy-ness of the head (and it looked pansy). I considered the manfrotto 504hd for a while because I used those the most on a regular basis for my old job but it crapped out a lot when i threw big stuff on it… like this tricked out c300 (i loved this camera) —- >
It was tough.
After driving everyone crazy with my tripod comparison talk, I had a corporate gig with dp/director Chandler Kauffman —–>
From the look on his face i’m sure you can tell how excited he was to tell me about his Miller DS-25…which at the time was supporting his 5d mark2—->
It was an amazingly built tripod … and i was slowly beginning to realize that i was going to have to make a serious investment in a tripod if i wanted it to do everything i needed.
A few months later I worked on the web series “Karl Manhair: Postal Inspector” and got to see multiple Millers (including Chandlers) in action with fully loaded F3s.
Here’s Chandler’s Miller DS – 25 –>
..and the Miller compass 25 with its solo legs completely buried in dirt—>
After that experience i went to the store and played with the Compass tripods for an hour straight. ….. and then bought a libec LX 7—–>
haha….yeah… exactly.wtf was i thinking.
After 1 day with the libec.. i hated everything about it. The head, the legs, the spreader, and the nonadjustable counter balance that was set for cameras that weighed a lot more than anything that id be using on a regular basis.
i took it back immediately, bit the bullet, and picked up a Miller Compass 12 and haven’t been happier.
This beast can be adjusted to handle HUGE cameras like this gopro for example —->
and it can also be adjusted to carry smaller rigs…. like my fully tricked out c100 rig—->
The pan drag, tilt drag, and counter balance can all be adjusted and the head moves like it was crafted in a giant tub of butter.
The legs are light and are the perfect style for run and gun situations. They also drop very low and still maintain their integrity when fully loaded—->
Ive felt no torsion in all of the times ive used it and after every shoot i’m always happy with it. Money well spent.
Bottom line = Miller tripods are cool
follow the bidness—> @danjusino