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I would like to shoot a timelapse from a balcony, with the camera facing at a 90-degree angle towards the ground. Given that the balcony has railings, I need to find a way to extend the camera horizontally by about 1 meter from the tripod ballhead, so that I can rotate it towards the ground with nothing obscuring the view.

What's the standard way to do so? Is there an extension rail I can screw on top of my tripod that would safely hold the camera in place?

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There are tripods that are supplied with center columns that can be used as booms, although a 1 meter offset from the edge of the legs would be a bit extreme unless the camera was very light. They are usually specified as having a '90° center column'.

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Pictured is a Manfrotto 055 with the 90° center column system.

For more range than 1/3-2/3 meter or so you're looking at spending more on a jib that can be attached to your tripod, or creating some sort of DIY solution.

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If you wan to rig up something yourself to extend out the distance then this clamp can hold a standard tripod head: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/546371-REG/Manfrotto_035_035_Super_Clamp_without.html

Of you can buy a boom and use that: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/513013-REG/Manfrotto_420CSU_420CSU_Convertible_Boom.html

Edited to add: Looks like you can find tripod extenders. This one is only 32" which is 18cm short of a meter. The other thing to remember is that the boom has a counter weight or a way to add counter weight built in. These extenders do not seem to cover that in all cases - so be careful of balance when you set things up. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/358106-REG/Photek_TRIX_2500_TRI_X_2500_The_Tripod_Extender.html

  • Are there booms which can be attached on an existing tripod? – JonathanReez Jul 25 '18 at 21:14
  • Humm looks like there are some extension arms available - answer updated. – Ian Lelsie Jul 26 '18 at 14:42
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The standard solution is to use a jib, which is basically a boom with counterweight that is designed to hold a camera. There are many that will attach to tripods.

If you decide to create a makeshift contraption, as @Rusian and @IanLelsie suggest, camera tripod mounts use standard 1/4" threads for which you can find bolts at any hardware store. Also, consider attaching a counterweight to reduce the likelihood that your camera will pull everything to the ground.

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You could use an extension arm such as this one: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/4994-REG/Manfrotto_820_820_Horizontal_Extension_Arm.html

And if one isn't enough, you can combine multiple ones together to get your desired length.

You'll also need a support platform: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/4992-REG/Manfrotto_826_Camera_Support_Platform_Black.html

This will fit in place of your tripod head. Your tripod head will fit at the end of the extension arm.

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