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Does Anyone Use A Powered Panning Head For Real Estate Video?

Published: 09/10/2015
By: larry

PanningHeadBill recently asked:

I would like to ask if anyone is using a powered panning head for real estate video, I am using a slider but sometimes a nice clean pan shot is what I want and I am too jerky for smooth pan.

Powered, panning heads are frequently used to control cameras on poles or for making complex moves while doing time-lapse video. However, for just video panning on a tripod, the way to insure smooth pans is to use a quality fluid video head.

With a powered head you can only make it pan at a fixed rate or pre-program it ahead of time to pan a specific way. Compared to manually controlling a fluid head I think controlling a head like this with a remote controller is very awkward.

Is anyone using a powered panning head other than poles and time-lapse?

9 comments on “Does Anyone Use A Powered Panning Head For Real Estate Video?”

  1. I use a Manfrotto 504HD fluid head and it was a game changer for me. It offers silky smooth pans and because of the variable friction control it is very easy to achieve consistent speed from one pan to the next. I have a motorized slider, Rhino EVO 42", which is great for slider shots. But, I'm totally satisfied with my 504HD. Additionally, I have Manfrotto 536 sticks and I'm able to place the 42" slider on the sticks without any additional stabilization - no need for two sets of sticks on each end. BTW - I put a quick release plate on the bottom of my 405 geared head and I put that on top of the 504HD fluid head to improve the efficiency of my shoots. This allows me to take stills and then take a video pan without changing heads... all basically at the same time. I just turn the fan on after I'm done with my stills. I remove the 405 when it's time for a slider shot.

    Here is a finished production from two days ago with the slider and the 504HD head.

  2. I haven't found a need for a powered panning head. As Orlando mentioned the Manfrotto 504HD fluid head makes this a lot easier. That said, you'll want to practice all your shots. Also try playing with the pan heads friction adjustment. A little friction helps. And with friction I add a thick rubber band to pull my pan. It acts as a shock absorber and is also useful for pulling your slider.

  3. The panning head Larry showed at the top is super affordable ($100?) but also too fast for pans. If you are technical you can replace the potentiometer in the controller to slow it down. I use the DJI Ronin-M for walkthroughs; it comes with a remote control and a stand. So, if you put it on it's stand you can use the remote for 3 axis movement which, for me, is much smoother than hand held.

  4. These video's are beautiful. I'm definitely considering to buy one, which head do you suggest for an affordable price?

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