You Don’t Need a Tripod For Tasty Style Videos

The Perfect Stand to shoot a Tasty Video

Do you love those Tasty Videos with those awesome overhead shots? You ever wonder how they got those shots? Well, it’s not with a tripod. in this post I’m going to show you why you don’t need a tripod for Tasty Style Videos.

What Are Tasty Style Videos?

Oh you know the videos that have flooded your Facebook feed in the past year? They’re short, fast moving instructional cooking videos with disembodied hands putting something together. Most of the time they are set to a jaunty, upbeat soundtrack and they are almost always shot from directly above.

Like This

My Tripod Is Too Short. How Do They Get Those Shots From So High?

So let’s look at this Manfrotto tripod from B&H. It’s quite a nice tripod and even has a feature where you can make the center stalk go horizontal and use it to shoot things from above. This is called a 90º Center Column and it’s super handy when you need an overhead shot. This particular tripod can extend to 66.9 inches high (about 5 and a half feet). However when you start start using the 90º Center column you lose most of that height and camera is only about 40 inches high (3 and a half feet).

Now just as an example. Let’s go over to the Ikea dining section and look at the tables. Most are about 30-34 inches high leaving you with about 6-10 inches between you and your camera.  That’s too close. Think about your set up.  You have a single burner that’s a few inches high, a pot, your hands, and all the ingredients and cooking utensils.  If you’re shooting with a 50mm lens, you will never get the full scene. Plus, you will have no space to actually do the demonstration.

You COULD make a set up on the floor and shoot and have your camera on your tripod above it.  I, however, don’t like doing this because it’s such a strain on my back and it’s kind of unsanitary to cook on the floor. Yuck. It’s much easier to work on a table top anyway.

So If I Don’t Want To Use A Tripod For A Tasty Style Video, What Do I Want?

Use A C Stand For Tasty Style Videos

This is a C-Stand. A C-Stand is a modular stand used to hold lights, reflectors, and, in this case, cameras.

Why Is It Called A C-Stand?

That’s actually a good question.  Back in the day, way back when, a C-Stand was used by filmmakers to hold a reflector that was 100 inches square. 100 = century and It because to be known as a Century Stand. Over time, it got shortened to C-Stand which is what we call it today.

Those Are Funny Legs. What’s The Deal With That?

C-Stand For Tasty Style Videos Turtle Base

A C-Stand is modular and you can get different sets of legs to put on it. This is a “Turtle Base”and it has a wide footing for stability. Other options can include wheels. The great thing about a C-Stand is that it folds up for easy storage.

C-Stand For Tasty Style Videos Turtle Base

Are They Sturdy Enough To Hold My Camera?

Absolutely. A C-Stand is, according the B&H product page, 19.75 pounds (9 KG). They’re engineered to hold heavy lights, so they’re sturdy enough for your DSLR. You could also weigh them down by placing a sandbag or other weight on the leg if you’re feeling paranoid.

So, Where Do I Put My Camera?

Hold on a sec. I’m getting there. This method requires 5 things and I’ll have a list for you at the bottom of this post with where to get them. First, you need a C-Stand (duh), a boom arm, 2 grip heads, and a spigot with 1/4″-20 male threads. OK I’ll explain that last thing in a second but it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

What’s A Boom Arm?

C-Stand-Boom-Arm

A Boom Arm is a rod that will let you extend your camera over your set. It measures at 40 inches long and has a grip head attached. 40″ is plenty of length to get your camera directly over set.

What’s A Grip Head?

C Sand Grip Head for Tasty Style Videos

A grip head, also called a knuckle, is what you will use to be mounting your camera onto your boom arm. A grip head has 2 knobs for tightening to make sure your stuff is firmly secured and not going anywhere. In the picture, the top part is what your boom arm will go through. the bottom part is what your camera will be mounted on.  You could go with only needing one, but in this application I prefer two. They’re only 18 dollars, after all, and 1 comes with the C-Stand itself. 

I Still Don’t Get Where The Camera Goes

C-Stand Grip Stud

Here’s the neat part! So you know how I mentioned that crazy weird thing called a spigot with 1/4″-20 Male Threads? Most people call it a stud and you see how it has screw threads on the top and bottom? Guess where that goes?

Camera Tripod Screw Mount

So every camera has a tripod mount screw hole. Normally you screw your tripod mounting plate into and put that plate on your tripod’s head.  In this case, we’ll screw that stud directly into the camera. The stud has 2 different screw threads, one for smaller and one for larger cameras. If you have a DSLR you will most likely be using the finer screw threads.

Camera Tripod Screw Mount with Stud

So screw the stud into your camera, making sure it’s nice and snug.  The other side is going to go into the large hole of the grip head.  Twist the knob until it is loose enough to fit the stud. Then place your stud in and twist the knob until it’s snug.

Camera Tripod Screw Mount With Stud an Camera

You should have something that looks like this.

How Do I Get That Crazy Rig On The Stand?

Let’s set that aside for a second so I can show you how to mount the Boom Arm onto the C-Stand.

Top of a C-Stand

Here’s the top of a C-stand. You’ll be mounting your grip head onto this and you’ll be using the same large hole on your grip head as you did with stud.

C Stand With Grip Head

You should have something that looks like this.

Next you’re going to attach the boom arm. Just loosen the knob and slide it into the other side of the grip head.

C-Stand With Grip Head And Boom Arm

Just like this. Twist the knobs to make everything snug.

camera-mounted-on-c-stand

Now get your grip head with the camera and slide that onto the boom arm.

You have tons of camera movement with a knuckle on the boom arm. Most importantly, you can point it straight down for the overhead shot we want.

Can I See This In Use?

Yup!

Shooting a tasty style video with a C Stand

Now you see that a C-stand with a Boom Arm give you plenty of reach over your table.  You can keep the camera out of the way so you have plenty of room to work and don’t bump into it while filming.  The C-Stand can extend all the way to the ceiling if you need to accommodate your long lens and it’s definitely sturdy enough to hold a 2 pound DSLR. If I wanted to be safe, I’d put a sandbag on the grip head thats built into the boom arm just give it a counterweight so it doesn’t tip over.

Well there ya have it, kids.  Below, I’ll give you links for where to buy exactly what you need for this set up. I guarantee you that it will cost a lot less then a high end tripod with a 90º center stalk.

24 comments on “You Don’t Need a Tripod For Tasty Style Videos

  1. I haven’t started filming my own videos because I find the whole process daunting. It’s nice to have how-to’s like this to help get us started! Thanks for the information!

  2. What a brilliant post – probably the best I’ve come across regarding video accessories. Thank you!

    Your setup is actually cheaper than my tripod (which does have a 90 degree central column), if I ever stay put for any length of time, I’m definitely going to be looking into a setup like this. Unfortunately, for now, even folded, it looks like it would be too tall to be practical for travelling. I love it though, especially that it can be put up against the table like that.

    Definitely squirreling away this info! Sharing too!

  3. Wow! I really needed to read this. I’m going to start making video’s and this was really helpful! Love yours.

  4. This is such an informative post Matt! I’ve been trying to force myself into doing more videos, but they’re quite intimidating. I’ll have to look into getting myself a C-stand and just take the jump!

    • Step 1. Where to put your camera. Step 2…we’ll get there. My friend at Cheeky Kitchen is posting great Premiere tutorials. You should check her out!

  5. I’m on my way to my first video and this is a great idea for a stand!

  6. I really, really, really enjoyed reading this post! I bookmarked it for when I start my videos for my blog, which I will. Soon. Thank you so much for writing this post. Loved your style of writing and your humor.

  7. I’ve made a few sub par videos, and find the whole process exhausting. I feel like video is becoming a necessity, though. Thanks for posting this! Pinned…

  8. This is so awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Wow! Thank you for breaking it all down like this! Takes a bit of the intimidation out of it all.

  10. Wow.. I shoot my own videos – I use a tripod and I bend it but I still don’t get those top shots.. It’s always at an angle. This looks so cool. I must check out this out.

  11. Where were you when I needed input on tripods. LOL. I just bought a tripod with the 90º center stalk and it’s pretty much useless. Unless I shoot on the floor which is so bad for my back. This is so informative. Thanks so much

    • Right! My back is so messed up after a day of shooting!

  12. You’re so right about tripods with the horizontal boom arm, you definitely lose quite a bit of height! Love the C stand idea!

  13. Love all the details you included about your setup, Matt!

  14. Why didn’t I see this BEFORE I bought a new tripod!?!?!? 😉

  15. Great tutorial, Matt, thanks for sharing!

  16. This makes so much more sense than most of the tripod setups that I’ve seen! When I finally get around to doing videos (I’m behind), I’m going to use this setup!!! I love it!

  17. This is a really cool stand! I have been able to put my tripod on my table, which has worked well for me – But I really like the sound of this stand and boom arm! Thanks for sharing!

  18. I’ve been pondering a foray into video, but I want to do it right. I’m glad to see this setup! I’ve seen a few specialized setups just for the overhead process, but a) they were expensive, and b) they didn’t have the adaptability/modularity of this one. Thanks a ton for putting this together!

  19. I have been making videos and the tripod legs are always in the way. I have never heard of a C-stand before but it sounds like something that would be worthwhile to look into. Love the extra length when shooting overhead!

  20. Great tutorial! I’m definitely going to be coming back to take a look at this setup when I pick up my second grip head. Love the versatility of the equipment.

  21. This is such a needed tutorial right now. Please keep them coming!

  22. I just bought the entire setup. Fantastic and those c stands are heavy, off to buy some sandbags :).

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