Spirit level

Instructional Video Production 4(1+3)

Lesson 05: Camera Features and Effects

Spirit level

The tripod is stood on a variety of surfaces, not all of them even and smooth. On even surfaces too, the legs may not align. If the centre of grav­ity of the camera is not right, we are likely to see tilted pictures, see Fig. 2.13(a). To enable us to shoot straight pictures, the tripod has a 'spirit level'. The spirit level is a small bubble in oil or water, encased in glass that has a ring printed on it.

To use the spirit level as guide, after setting up the camera on the tripod, loosen the knob below the tripod head and turn the camera with the tripod head slightly to ensure that the bubble is in the centre of the ring. Now tighten the knob. The camera is now capable of shooting straight pictures; see Fig. 2.13(b). In both Figs 2.13(a) and (b), the insets show the result of when the bubble is outside and when it is inside the ring, respectively.

Check the spirit level every time the camera position is changed.
To ensure that the centre of gravity of the camera is right, check for two things: Check if the bubble is in the centre of the ring. Also check if the horizon line within the frame you are shooting is straight and parallel to the top/bottom edge of the viewfinder.
Of course, there might be situations (like in a music video or when shoot­ing an interview of a pop star) where you will want a tilted frame. Obvi­ously, you will not set the spirit level on such occasions!


Last modified: Saturday, 21 April 2012, 11:28 AM