What can you say about a monopod? They are after all a one-trick pony aren’t they? Well the guys at iFootage have taken the monopod to a whole new level – if you’ll pardon the pun.
Monopods have been with us for some time now but haven’t really moved on much from providing camera operators with a light, portable and small-footprint aid to keeping the camera steady. Most are simple multi-stage telescopic poles with a rubberised foot at one end and a basic camera screw head on the other. I already have one of these and it works perfectly well – so what else could iFootage do to make a monopod more useful? The UK distributors, Proactive in Hemel Hempstead, Herts were keen to let me find out.
The first thing that differentiates the Mogopod from other monopods is its unique twist-lock/release and single-action telescopic extension. One of the reasons why users opt to use a monopod is for their quick deployment but this requires the user to release and lock individual brakes on each extension segment. The Mogopod is much simpler and quicker to deploy to the required length – ranging from 77cm to 165cm fully extended.
The extension action is smooth and easy to operate and there’s a centimetre gauge along the side of the inner extension to enable you to repeat the extension length from shot-to-shot. The outer extension tube has a thick foam rubber cover which not only protects the unit in transit but also gives you a firm grip for releasing the locking collar and comfortable grip for using the Mogopod in its various configurations.
At each end of the system there’s a standard ¼” screw fitting – but in addition one of the ends has a wider base and is reversible to reveal a 3/8” threaded stud for attaching a fluid head to the Mogopod. The standard attachments include a screw-on rubber foot, an intermediate ball-levelling head and a rather neat and lockable tri-leg base unit which helps with stability. Whilst I wouldn’t leave a camera atop the Mogopod unattended, the tri-leg base does enable you to store the unit in a standing position ready for the camera to be attached. With the addition of a quick-release head on it this could be extremely useful in run-and-gun situations.
The ball-levelling head section has a male thread connector at one end and a female at the other. It can therefore be connected to either end of the Mogopod and coupled to the camera or the tri-leg base. This enables the Mogopod to be used in situations with varying floor levels and still maintain a true vertical – or not if you desire. This ball-levelling head is locked into place with a simple thumbscrew knob – or left lose so that you can alter the camera’s angle of view as you film.
Proactive sell the Mogopod on its own or bundled with the E-Image EI-717AH flat based fluid head. When used with this head, with the tri-leg attached to the ball-levelling head at the base of the Mogopod, you’ll have a very flexible and stable platform for your camera allowing you to pan, tilt and lean all in one smooth movement.
More than a monopod
As with other monopods the Mogopod can be used as a simple camera boom pole. Weighing in at under a kilogram without tri-leg base this can be useful for gaining a higher filming position or filming from a point of view that you are unable to reach (albeit that you’d need some way to remotely monitor the camera’s output). The ball-levelling head will enable you to quickly and easily alter the camera’s angle of view from -75°/+90°. In the demo video on the Proactive website they demonstrate this configuration being used by a cameraman filming himself spinning around with the camera looking back at him which looks very effective.
With its lightweight construction the Mogopod could easily double up as a short mic boom too – and with the tri-legs attached it would also make do as a mic stand if you were shooting solo and needed to get a shotgun mic closer to the action than the camera.
Proactive sell the Mogopod bundled with the E-Image EI-717AH flat based fluid head at £145 plus VAT. The Mogopod on its own (which includes the tri-leg base, ball-levelling head and rubber foot) costs just £115 plus VAT. With a maximum payload of 3.5Kg it’s not going to be suitable for all cameras but perfectly capable of taking a fully-loaded DSLR or small video camera.
Like other iFootage kit the Mogopod is well thought out, neatly designed and constructed to a very high standard. All the clever moving parts that create the single-action extension are neatly hidden away within the unit so I see little chance of it going wrong.
I only have two slight concerns about the Mogopod. Firstly, and acknowledged in the operating instructions, is that you have to be careful not to pinch your hand as you collapse the unit back down – a lesson I learnt within the first few minutes of using it! The only other concern is that the rubber foot becomes redundant when you have the tri-leg base attached so it might easily become lost. It would have been nice to have an additional ¼” stud on the side of the unit somewhere to store this foot when not in use.
These are only small issues and do not detract from the Mogopod’s usefulness, ease of operation and build quality. For the extra thirty quid I’d recommend getting the E-Image head too as it makes for an even more valuable addition to your shooting kit.
Kevin Cook F.Inst.V. (Hon.)