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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hi-Tech Studio: Sliders

For time-lapse and motion capture, these simple devices give you a powerful tool for creating impressive projects

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Dynamic Perception Stage One and Stage Zero
Some of the most popular sliders for DSLR shooting are made by Cinevate, DitoGear, Dynamic Perception and Kessler Crane. These companies offer sliders suitable for a range of cameras, from the bulky Hollywood-style cameras to the svelte and highly capable DSLRs.

Here are some of the options for DSLR shooters. Cinevate makes the Atlas 10, Atlas 30, Atlas 200, Atlas FLT and Pegasus Carbon sliders. DitoGear makes the OmniSlider, and Dynamic Perception makes the Stage Zero and Stage One. The Kessler Pocket Dolly, Kessler Stealth and Philip Bloom Signature Series Pocket Dolly are all solid options from Kessler Crane. You can find full specs at the company websites: www.cinevate.com, ditogear.com, www.dynamicperception.com and www.kesslercrane.com.

To take maximum advan­tage of the slider, which is really just a precision-made rail system, a controller module is key. These modules range from basic motors that move the camera along the slider or rotate the head to fully programmable multi-axis devices that allow you to program elaborate moves with precision. Prices range accordingly. Simple moves like the sort you might perform during an interview with someone are well suited to a simple hand-crank or a single motor. If you're shooting setup table-top shots where repeatability is important, fully programmable multi-axis controllers are necessary. And for time-lapse, the more elaborate controllers let you pull off some pretty sophisticated moves although you should experiment to be sure you're not going too far. A moving, spinning shot of a rotating star field, for example, might just make viewers reach for a motion-sickness bag instead of being awed by the shot.

Cinevate Pegasus Carbon Slider
Simple and quick to set up, filmmakers working on location with small crews have embraced sliders for years because, among other reasons, they're so useful in those situations. Sliders can be set up in a few minutes by one person. They're portable—some more portable than others—but by and large, all of them are easy to transport for location shoots.

In this business environment, anything that gives you an edge should be explored, if not wholly embraced. Since DSLRs with HD video arrived, photographers have been charged with being multimedia content generators for many clients. This trend isn't going to reverse itself anytime in the foreseeable future. Sliders are another tool in your quiver that will help you to exceed client demands, which translates into more gigs.


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