There are three types of tripod heads that are used for filming; Friction, Fluid, and Geared Head. Depending on your age, experience or luck you may have come across all three types of heads. However most guys will either use or yearn for a descent fluid head tripod, but there are a handful of shooters that are lucky enough to have used and mastered a tripod with a geared head thanks to George Worrall’s invention.
Modern tripod heads are usually made from aluminum alloy and I have been lucky enough to have been outback in Miller Tripod’s shop in Sydney Australia seeing them get assembled. Lots of fluid head parts and it was a joy to watch.
Geared head tripods give technical precision control with your shots in both pan and tilt movements using one or both axes operated by a crank to gear driven, linkage, or cable mechanism to move the camera platform head.
Geared heads are traditionally heavy and very expensive and there is another geared head to keep an eye on, one from CPM Film Tools. They have been working on a low cost low weight 2 axis 75mm bowl DSLR camera Geared Head unit made for everyday use and selling for $1,899.99. CPM are taking pre-orders for their geared head now.
It is interesting to see the design differences between traditional geared heads like the Michell, ARRIHEAD, as compared to the CPM geared head. The guys at CPM will be using carbon fiber filled polycarbonate instead of aluminum alloy with the gears and bearings being metal and the shafts 303 stainless steel.
A unique product to our DSLR line of Rigs and Gear, the geared head allows precision movement of the camera in both pan and tilt. Designed from the ground up as a low cost head unit able to be installed on existing tripods. The CPM head bridges the gap between high end cinema style geared heads and the low performing fluid and friction heads. Tooling has just started on this product, initial mold trials are expected in 6 weeks. CAD Renders show current design tooling is based on, subject to change.
For more info on the CPM Geared Head go here.