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Tripods and other products mentioned here can be bought through affiliate links to Amazon. That means I receive a small commission if you click and buy. The article is my opinion.
Certainly, you don’t need any tripods to start livestreaming or even to record a podcast. Just talk into your phone. Or use the webcam on your computer. But as your livestream evolves and your audience grows tripods can help make your production look more professional and polished. Tripods also help me secure my webcam so the screen doesn’t shake.
In the context of this article and livestreaming in general, a webcam can be an actual camera or your phone or tablet. Really anything that has a camera and can be connected to the internet. Different connections might be required but many tripods now come with attachments that can be used for webcams, more traditional cameras, and phones or tablets.
My Varidesk is currently set up like this and I use a webcam on a mount just slightly above my eye line when I sit down. It’s not quite that high when the desk is in the standing position.
I’ve tried a number of tripods and mounts and will share my experiences with you here. Which setup works best for you – as always – depends on personal preference and current situation.
For example, I find my current setup comfortable and efficient for me. But I’m also not traveling much right now. This works because I’m working in my home office. It wouldn’t work quite as well if I had to pack it up and take it on a plane every few days.
Make sure everything is set up tightly
One of the easiest ways to make sure my webcam isn’t creating that wobbly video effect is to make sure all the screws are completely tightened. For example, I currently use a camera mount (discussed more below). And the mount has a number of screws and things that get loose.
That is truly the first step in the process – no matter what tripod you use: Check everything and make sure it’s tight. Also, make sure it’s not rubbing against other equipment, like the monitor.
While I love standing throughout the day, using the standup position also can make the video wobblier.
Don’t hold onto the desk for dear life
Another reason why the video is shaky is often because we are holding onto the desk or are taking notes. Consider not holding onto it and if you must take notes, make the guest full screen during that time period.
Let’s dive into some of the options available when it comes to tripods.
The flexible tripod
The flexible tripod is on the smaller side, but works well if you need a low-angle shot or have something to put it on.
I’ve used this especially when I demonstrated my robot vacuum cleaner on Amazon Live.
It’s pretty sturdy and I was able to adjust the legs for it to mostly keep the camera in place while riding the vacuum.
Small included camera tripod
Many webcams send a small tripod along when you buy them. The 4K camera I use did.
This tripod works in a rush but again you likely need to place it on something else so it’s at the right height.
The ring light as a camera tripod
I do use a large ring light now that stands on its own tripod. This ring light also gives me the option of installing a camera directly in the middle of it.
The biggest challenge with this is that I position my ring light pretty high. I want it to light up my face but I don’t want it to reflect in my glasses. If I put the camera in the middle of the ring light, there will be a reflection on my glasses. I would probably lower the ring light or look up more. If you don’t wear glasses this certainly wouldn’t be a problem for you.
The standalone tripod
I have a number of standalone tripod options I’ve used and have available to me. Some usable options can be found by searching for extendable selfie stick.
This one specifically works well when I need multiple angles of a setup. I usually connect the different angles through SwitcherStudio.com.
This also works well when you are traveling. Here’s a picture of me using a standalone tripod with my iPhone while appearing as a guest on a livestream while on vacation in Phoenix.
The extendable mount tripod
This tripod also comes with a number of different adapters and it was super easy to hook up my 4K camera to it.
It attaches to my Varidesk – very similar to how my microphone is connected. From there I can easily move it up and down without getting up.
When I move the Varidesk to the standing position it moves right along with it.
I can also pull it toward me and use it as an overhead camera for documents or to demonstrate something.
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Those are the tripods I’ve used so far. I’m sure I’ll try others as they are released in the market. For example, there are now tripods that follow you around while moving. I could see a use for this if I was moving around a lot during livestreams.
As always, what tripod – if any – you use for your livestreams depends on your situation and different livestreamers have different priorities. But one priority should always be to make sure the video isn’t shaky.