A Great New Hi-Hat: The Dromos
Hi-Hats are useful, short tripods that allow you to get lower to the ground than a standard set of sticks ever could, even with the legs spread all the way out. Granted, taking the camera off whatever support you have and putting it directly on the ground or a sand bag is another solution, but Hi-Hats support fluid heads, giving you the ability to pan/tilt and level, which is invaluable. Most grip trucks come with a Hi-Hat on board, but for some reason my gear closet has been lacking one.
I recently got the new Dromos Hi-Hat from Cinevate (pictured left), which has been filling this gap in my gear closet and more. Above, you can see the Dromos, next to a traditional Hi-Hat (pictured right). You will notice a difference between the two right away, namely the number of holes covering the Dromos. This is because Cinevate has cheese-plated out their Hi-Hat with 1/4" and 3/8" holes so that the user can attach accessories and explore different mounting options. (You can now easily put a Marshall Monitor via an arm screwed into one of the sides of the Dromos for example…) And while both of the pictured Hi-Hats support 100mm bowl fluid heads – the Dromos bowl can be articulated at 0, 45, and 90 degrees. This opens up a whole new slew of creative options for low angle shots. For instance, at 90 degrees, you can now easily get shots where the camera is pointing straight up at a subject from the ground, rather than at an angle – this is actually a pretty big deal. So while the traditional Hi-Hat is very useful, it is not nearly as versatile.
You may also notice that both are fastened to a piece of plywood (fancy right? Hollywood has been doing it for years). This lets you easily put the tripod and camera down on most surfaces and then weight the board with sandbags. However, traditional Hi-Hats are usually bolted to the board, but the Dromos uses screw in bolts that go into threaded holes on Cinevate’s base board. This lets you easily detach the Dromos from the base and use it as a riser with all sorts of different support gear. Because the cheese plate extends all the way across the bottom of the Dromos and has various sizings and spacings of holes, you can use it as a riser and attach it to almost any type of slider or jib. As you may notice from my gear page – I use both Cinevate and Kessler support depending on the application, and it is incredibly useful that the Dromos can act as a riser that mates with both. The combinations for use are numerous – you can use it to mount a fluid head to the top of a slider, or mount it to the bottom of your jib’s mounting plate to undersling a fluid head and camera (check out the image to the left in which the Riser is mounted to a slider, and then the bowl is configured at 45 degrees to creat a level shot).
And if you aren’t in need of a low angle shot solution, or an incredibly versatile riser – the Dromos in combination with the wooden base plate makes for an excellent place to build your camera. You can easily put the Hi-Hat down on your camera cart, workbench, or any table really, and have easy access to it for setting up your rig. When its built you can use the handles on the baseplate to easily carry your entire rig from setup to setup.
I went looking for a Hi-Hat tripod and came back with a piece of gear that has many additional functionalities, both for creative and practical applications. That’s more than you could ask for out of any piece of gear.