Who ever says that they love your tripod? It is like saying I love your shovel or I admire your cheese grater. Granted when you need to dig a hole or sprinkle some mozzarella on a pizza you are glad to have those tools, but you don’t go on about how amazing they are to your friends.
Just like shovels and graters, I don’t talk about tripods very often with my fellow cinematographers. I was never happy with either the weight, the functionality or the stability of any sticks I have used in the past. The heavy ones were stable but a bugger to carry and the light ones were easier to carry, but they had those annoying rebounds on long lens pans and generally just bouncy in the wind.
6 month ago Sachtler sent me their new Flowtech 100mm Carbon-fiber tripod with the request for me to try and break them and give the engineers feedback. It is one thing to try out a new product for a day or two, but it is entirely different to use something for months to see if it can stand up to the real abuse of production.
And it did. It is quite easy to say that if you start using this tripod you will not want to go back to other tripod designs. Sachtler has really let their engineers go on this and you have the impression that they have listened to every complaint operators have griped about for the last 20 years to make a new tripod concept from the ground up.
There will be a lot of websites like Newshooter where you will be able to look at all the details of the Flowtech system. What I want to tell you is how it feels. When you first start using this tripod you feel like a newbie to photography again. It takes time to get used to the locking mechanism on the leg positions and just generally get your head around the way you set it up. But when things become second nature you will put your old sticks up for sale.
I also have to say that I generally shunned tripods. They just took so long to set up and I would find I missed critical moments repositioning my legs. To the point that I just would stop using tripods and craft entire documentaries around a handheld look. But now that I have a Flowtech, I am using tripod shots more and more and I am liking having that aesthetic and still be able to work fast. When it comes to shooting docs this tripod is hands down the fastest on the market and its ability to work quickly when you are alone really makes a difference.
After 6 months it has some dings and scratches but it is working perfectly. I have put these sticks through the wringer and they are definitely not a gimmick. You even don’t have to think twice about submerging them in salt water as they are easy to clean.
People have been telling me they love my tripod. Directors love it because it is light when they carry it and they love the built in handle. I have had a few 2nd camera operators fall in love with it as well. Who knew a tripod could attract such attention.
Of course everyone is different and their needs as well, but if you are looking for a solid tripod you just need to get past a little bit of a learning curve for the Flowtech 100 and you will not look back. I can’t see me using any other tripod design in my doc work.