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How to Use the Monopod, an Essential Accessory for Video

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When shooting video, there’s no substitute for using the ground as a stabilizing tool. But tripods are bulky and limit your range of motion. An ideal compromise is the video monopod: a light-weight, one-legged camera support. In this lesson from Slavik Boyechko's course on making video on the go, you'll learn how to use a monopod as a point of contact to stabilize your shots.

When selecting a monopod for video work, be sure to choose a video, rather than a photo, monopod. Video monopods have adjustments photo monopods don’t. Generally, they’ll have small legs to maximize stable footing. They come with a wide pan and tilt range to capture video from any angle. Though they can be a bit bulky, monopods enable camera work that would simply be impossible when shooting handheld.

Shorten the monopod to capture stable low-level video. Or, use it as a long handle to hold the camera at unusual angles over your head or out in front of you. Similar to true handheld filming, hold the monopod close to your body, and maybe even use your viewfinder. When panning, twist your body, not just the camera itself. Combined with the advanced adjustments possible with monopods, this motion will give your video a fluid, smooth look not found in handheld footage.

Curious about more techniques, or ready to buy (or build) your first monopod? Check out the video above. You’ll see many tips and tricks demonstrated, and see how to create a one-of-a-kind, custom monopod suited exactly to your needs. In no time, you’ll bring your videos to the next level.

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