UpHill Cinema

UpHill Cinema Blog

This blog is created to be a resource for the upcoming videographer and storyteller.

My journey with storytelling, gear and other storytelling resources. 

Miller Tripod Review

Spoiler alert, this thing is amazing. 

Times Sq., New York

Times Sq., New York


To start this off let me just explain one thing I love locked off shots.  There's something about just quick cuts and simplicity when it comes to film for me.  So having's stables sticks is very important and In all honesty I want something that'll last me years not just I just five and then I'll have to buy something again.

I've used a ton of tripods. I won't name names, but they've all have been major brands in the tripod market.  Each company had many strengths, yet they still miss some huge things, and I think Miller Tripods has absolutely nailed.  

When using other brands I found the tension wasn't consistent.  They seemed to use ball bearings, and sometimes grease would leak out.  Nothing to bad, but like I said it's those little things that make the biggest difference.  Another example of something I didn't like about other brands, was the locking of the pan and tilt.  I had to really crank down on them, and sometimes I would have to press down on the tilt/pan bar just to get some leverage to unscrew the locking thing, nightmare. 

So enough with the other brands, let's talk about Miller.  

When I went to NAB this past April, I was lucky enough to spend some time with Michael Abelev, design an engineering manager at Miller Tripods.  I asked him some questions, why are Miller tripods so different, and why do they feel so much better than the competition?  We had a pretty lengthy conversation about how they were made, the tedious process from beginning concept to complete product, he even had some displays of the inside of the heads and show me how they use gears and cluck packs compared to their competitors. If you want to see how they go about their days at Miller here's a link to see the Miller factory and HQ in Australia.(https://youtu.be/pLtmxMeJZWU)

There are pretty much three basic things I look at when purchasing gear. 

  1. Will it work with all types of cameras, is it future proof? 
  2. Is it simple and rich with features?
  3. Who else is using it?
    1. Will it work with all types of cameras, is it future proof?  I have been lucky enough to use several different types of cameras, DSLR's, the infamous Red, Sony F55, C100,300,500 and a ton of stuff in-between. Though I do not own any of these big cameras, way out of my prices range and workflow, it's nice to know I have a tripod that will work with all types of cameras and situations.
    2. Is it simple and rich with features?  I'm a pretty non-flashy individual, so when looking for gear, I don't really want to be noticed or seen.  That's one of the hardest parts about stabilizers and gimbals,there very intrusive because it looks like you have Optimus Prime in your hands.  So for me I like the fact that Miller Tripods aren't covered in colors and iodized chromes and stuff like that.  On the other hand though, Miller has filled their tripods the features that I've never had onto other tripods.  The fact that it has a little bracket to mount your monitors or recorders, the pan and tilt levers are so easy to use, you don't have to crank down on them.  The pan and tilt or something to experience, because there were WAY better then any of the other competitors.  Ease-of-use, and the ability to get very very high and very low in seconds is a huge plus. It's like I said, rich with features yet simple.
    3. Who else is using it?  This comes down to research, and plenty of it.  Research what your favorite shooters are using, watch  video reviews and read articles.  I've always been a big follower of the website called Newsshooters.com. A lot of the guys over there very respectable in their fields of shooting, a lot of use Miller tripods. Also another big name in Indy film scene Phillip Bloom recommends and uses Miller tripods.  Pieter de Vries ACS, world-class cinematographer and director of photography uses Miller tripods if you haven't seen his work you need to it's amazing.  These are all names that I've grown to trust.  So if they use Miller tripods, and I know I can. 

In conclusion,

In the filming industry you need to invest in gear that will last you years and years to come.  I've learned that the hard way and a bot gear and ended up breaking or I just didn't use it.  Invest in the brands and names that I've great reviews, are not the cheapest, and our future proof.  Look at how they're made, listen to reviews, see who's using them, and don't be fooled by marketing gimmicks and shiny colors. 

I highly recommend Miller tripods for anyone that's wanting to future proof their camera support system, and are looking for highest quality product.  You can order a Miller tripod from Miller's website or check out B&H website too. 

Thanks to everyone who helps me out on a daily basis. You know who you are, so thank you. 

-Levi W.