Lights, camera… tripods! Camera operators wouldn’t get very far without a way to hold their cameras steady, and the humble tripod has been doing that since people first started shooting. Designed to lock a camera solidly in place on all different terrain, tripods also employ a variety of heads to help create sweeping pans, smooth tilts, and other dramatic moves to follow the action and make movies more exciting. Tripods can also include a few bells and whistles designed to expand their utility. Some shrink down small enough to fit into luggage for traveling shooters, others transform into monopods for people who like to shoot and move, and some even employ flexible legs to grip surfaces other tripods only dream about. Tripods, in all their forms, are indispensable tools of a camera op’s trade, and one of the few pieces of gear you should never do without.