Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Cadmium View Post
I had a somewhat related dual-problem on my hands a while back ago.

The only tripod head I had was an Oconnor 1030B with sticks that were a foot too short for what I needed. The camera package was also only about 5 pounds, which is hard to get counterbalanced on that head. So, knowing that height effected how much the tripod "feels" the camera, I built a 12 inch riser out of two of these: https://store.zacuto.com/zwiss-cage-plate/ (plus four 12 inch rods). Putting that between the tripod and the camera made it counterbalance easier and it gave me the height I needed. (And it is reusable for a ton of other things, and it broke down very small.)

If two of those plates aren't sturdy enough, you could probably use 3 or 4, plus higher quality rods (like Bright Tangerine's Drumstix.) It might not work at all for your application, but I just thought I'd bring it up.
Thanks Joshua, that's a great idea.