A ‘lateral arm’ is an extension that attaches to your tripod, which allows you to mount your camera to a horizontal arm instead of the typical vertical shaft. I didn’t even know these things existed until recently, when I went searching for a better way to film my tutorials and the like.
There are several options available out there, but I purchased the Photek Lateral Arm Extension based on reviews, and I can honestly say it is the best $70 I’ve spent on a piece of photo equipment in long time. It has quickly become invaluable to me.
The horizontal arm extends up to 38 inches, allowing me to get my camera, or webcam, right up to my painting, without having a cumbersome tripod in my way, or having to shoot over my shoulder at a weird angle. The balljoint head also allows you to shoot at absolutely any angle, including straight down like a copy camera, which has made doing book reviews and drawing videos SO much easier.
My biggest concern when selecting an arm was how much weight it could support. I’ve been looking to film more with my DSLR instead of a webcam, but once I put a decent lens on my camera, it’s weight is more than most tripod arms can handle. This arm however has an internal counter weight, which means it can support even a hefty DSLR camera, at full extension, without fear of tipping. Though, if you’re really going to be adding a lot of weight to it, I would highly suggest using a stone bag for added security.
The Photek arm is all-metal construction, and the ball-joint head is MUCH heftier than it comes across in photos. I honestly, can’t say enough good things about this particular arm. It has exceeded my expectations is every way. If you’re looking for a better way to film process videos, I highly recommend getting one… You won’t regret it!