How to screw a shotgun microphone onto a tripod

Have you ever been shocked that the screw in the quick release plate of your tripod is too small and won’t screw into a shotgun microphone like the RODE Videomic or a tripod head?

Whatever it is that you’re having a hard time with – I’ve already been through that problem. It just won’t screw in! 😮

The reason why it won’t:

The screw on top of you tripod is 1/4 inch in diameter, wheras the the threaded hole you’re having a hard time with is 3/8 inch in diameter. More specifically it is a 3/8-16 screw, which stands for 3/8 inch in diameter and 16 threads per inch of its height.

Why are there two types of screws for video gear?

3/8 inch is a standard thread for attaching tripod heads to their legs. For any tripod, that has a head detachable from the legs, or for companies, which sell tripod legs and heads separately – the standard bolt to tighten the kit together is the 3/8-16 screw .

The exceptions for this are:

  • When the camera must be attachable even without a proper tripod head screwed on. Monopods are a great example of such use. Freelancers shooting media coverage who you often see on public events don’t usually put a head on a monopod. Since it is basically a metal rod, it allows for quick and easy camera pans and tilts. No tripod head needed.
  • When the legs and the head are very small and compact.

In these cases the base – be it the tripod legs or a monopod – is equipped with the 1/4-20 screw you’re used to. Analogously as for the 3/8-16 bolt, 1/4 is the diameter of the screw in inches and 20 is the number of threads per inch.

Okay, but how do I screw a 1/4 inch screw into a 3/8 inch hole?

You are going to need a screw converter/thread reducer – there are a lot of names for these.

I recommend buying them in packs, because if you only have one and loose it – you are in trouble. I had a few shoots when I couldn’t use my shotgun microphone on a monopod (to serve as a boompole).

Easy to unscrew

I recommend this kind of converters, since they have a groove on one end. You use it to screw the adapter out if you get it too far in.

Get it here on Amazon:

Foto&Tech 5 Pieces Metal 1/4″ to 3/8″ Convert Screw Adapter for Tripod Monopod Ballhead DSLR SLR

I personally used it to attach my RODE Videomic to a monopod, which had a 1/4 inch screw on top of it. It was a cheap monopod and unfortunately it didn’t stand the test of time (or more probably of my own stupidity 😛 ) I used it to support one end of a 6kg video slider, which resulted in the slider ripping the 1/4 inch mount off the monopod. They say we learn on our own mistakes 🙂

Picture of the 1/4 to 3/8 inch screw converter was taken by

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