Tag Archives: diy slider

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Dynamic camera movements can really increase the value of your production, but also requires more man power (and budget). The ideas within this article are based on setting up a second camera on a Video Slider without having a second Camera Operator (completely unattended). This 'B' camera angle offers dynamic movements so that you can cut away to the footage when needed. This is an excellent idea and a few companies are already on the ball with new products (coming soon).

First up is the Kessler Parallax system that offers a mechanical Parallax panning motion to your video head as it tracks left and right. Neat trick, but to get this fully automated you'll have to tie in to the Kessler Oracle system, which not only adds additional cost in the end, but extra equipment to assemble during production. More info at http://www.kessleru.com/2013/09/update-kessler-parallax/

Next we have the RedRock Micro One Man Crew. This motorized slider offers a curved (Parabolic) track to keep your subject in focus as it moves left to right (and back again). Completely silent with options to set a limit on range, and control speeds. The best part is that it is an all in one solution that's quick to set up and quick to store away. Starting at $1500 dollars (seen here), it carries a decent price tag, but it will save you from hiring an extra person to man a sliding camera. After finishing this article, you may come to realize the price to be very reasonable. More info at http://store.redrockmicro.com/OneManCrew

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find-price-button Buy- RedRock Micro One Man Crew Motorized Parabolic Slider

Now i've been asked several times if this was something that could be built at home (a.k.a DIY). Here i'm going to introduce a very basic concept on how i've managed to accomplish the same 'ping-pong' / 'back-forth' effect on a cheap DIY motorized slider kit (seen here) with an additional $10 dollars worth of switches, wiring, and a relay, and absolutely no programming. It's basically a simple and dumb electro-mechanical system.

Unmanned, unattended, looping, automated, it all sounds pretty good. Yet you can see how this basic system fails to provide many of the 'Smart' features of the more expensive products coming to market. On the flip-side, one advantage is that with this basic circuit one can expand this idea outside of just a typical slider. (Yes i'm already working on those ideas).

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First Test - Building the Circuit Automated Looping Motorized Slider

Here's a schematic of my layout. You'll notice how each side of the motor has both negative and positive from the battery, but only one set is active from the DPDT.
Cheesycam-Schematic-Ping-Pong-Motorized-Slider
Click for Larger Version

How It Works:
Two 3 Pin NO+NC Momentary Micro Switches (as found here) at each end reverse the polarity of the motor each time they are triggered.

DIY Slider micro switch 3 pin NO NC
Example of 3 pin NC/NO Momentary Micro Switch

A 12V DPDT Relay (as found here) is either 'Always ON' until the slider reaches the opposite switch which drops power to the relay.

12V DPDT Relay DIY Slider Motion Control
Example of 12V DPDT Relay with Socket Base

In one direction, the relay is technically 'STUCK ON' by way of a tricky little feedback loop in the circuit. To turn the entire slider on or off, i'm just using the switch from the battery. In this example, i'm not using a speed controller, but one can easily be added.

[Update] If you have trouble following the schematic, I have another article with an easier way to create this setup. Others have successfully got their own sliders working. Check out the other article (found here).

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Here's an inexpensive and lightweight way to add movement with your camera at different heights. YouTube member ImagineNowEntertnmnt used furniture sliders from his local Bed Bath & Beyond (as seen here) and placed it under each tripod leg [Thanks Justin]. The furniture sliders can glide along carpet, linoleum, ceramic tile, and cement, etc. With a mini tripod, I can see this being a handy tip for Wedding Videographers who need to travel light, but have access to lots of smooth surfaces to add slow camera movements.

There's a bit of shake in some examples which could possibly be corrected with a bit more weight hung on the tripod, or some post image stabilization, but in most cases it works quite well to add interesting camera movements to your footage. Pretty common stuff you can find at your local Bed Bath & Beyond, local hardware store, or even find available via Amazon (click here)

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find-price-button Reusable Furniture Slider Kits

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A look at how Vimeo member David Sawyer motorized his IGUS slider - results found below. It's possible to take some of these ideas and use them with a variety of different sliders on the market. Great job on this [Thanks David].

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find-price-button IGUS Slider and Carrier for DIY Camera Slider

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3 years ago, I used two cabinet rails on a DIY slider project for my Canon 5D Mark II (seen here). My version was extremely ugly, pretty large, but very effective in getting smooth movements. Now that the iPhone 4S is a hot little video camera, i'm sure people are looking for a cheap way to get some sliding shots in. Vimeo member Aron Anderson shows how to turn a basic single cabinet rail into an iPhone (or small camera) slider. Example slides can be seen in the video (below). [Thanks Aron]

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Disclaimer:: The Pico Flex Dolly was not designed to work in this manner. Use in this manner at your own risk.

The Pico Flex Dolly has already been motorized with lasers, so what else can we expect? Here's something quite odd. This is just something I happened upon and although it's not perfect, maybe it will spark some creative ideas for you DIY'ers out there. After removing the sets of wheels, and keeping the two bearings on the axles, there's enough gap to ride on a set of rails. If you need to track a straight line on some 'unforgiving surface', a set of rails will give smooth performance. For a quieter experience, cheap plastic rods would work better. I'm not sure what rail width would be optimal use for something like this and again, this is not what the Pico Flex Dolly was designed for.

Oh and for a solution while keeping the standard skate wheels on the little table dolly, there will be a specially designed roll out mat available soon. Still in the works...

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When you've got yourself a fairly long slider (usually over 4ft.), it will often require one very very heavy tripod, or two simple lightweight stands. There's also a few sliders that ALWAYS require two stands, like JuicedLink's latest DIY slider. Rod's DIY solution is to use a single ironing board that is quick to setup, can adjust to various heights, fold flat, and is dirt cheap. [Thanks Rod] Keep note that you'll probably require some level ground as each corner is not adjustable.

If you're concerned about aesthetics, another cheap solution that mimics the same folding and height adjustment features as an ironing board is a musicians keyboard stand (as found below).

Keyboard Stand
find-price-button Adjustable Height Folding Keyboard Stand

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Juicedlink first introduced this slider idea as a prototype during NAB2011 (found here). The kit consists of a few different parts which are bundled or sold separately. The basic set will have at least a trolley (rolling carriage) and end clamps to hold a set of rods. The end clamps have three 1/4-20" threaded taps to mount stands. A benefit to this slider kit is that you choose any type and length of 5/8" rod you require. You're not limited to specifically choosing a 24" or 36" like IGUS or Konova sliders. With JuicedLink, you can carry multiple sets of rods if you want to run short or long. Suggested rails to be used are stainless steel rods for it's clean smooth surface and hardness, which run about $20 dollars each for 4 feet (48").

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find-price-button JuicedLink DIY Slider Kit

The setup in the video (above) is on 4ft. stainless steel rods with a few modifications done to get it motorized. This is pretty much the same equipment used on the motorized Konova slider by Vimeo member C Light. On one end I have a freewheeling Idler Pulley. On the opposite end is the servo motor, servo controller, and 4 AAA battery pack. These all simply plug in together seamlessly without any soldering to give you a reversible slow speed motor. For the string, i'm just using Nylon Mason Line. Fairly thin, but strong, and readily available at your local Home Depot. I decided on using Velcro at the ends so that I can adjust the tension of the Line. Below is the remaining parts list of what you'll need if you wanted to do this to other sliders.

Basic servos will not rotate 360 degrees. Here you'll find the Continuous Rotation Servo: http://www.hobbyengineering.com/H1429.html
continuous-servo

You'll require a pulley to be mounted on the servo. This fits perfectly and has the proper amount of teeth to fit flush: http://www.servocity.com/html/pulley_wheel__futm2045_.html
servo-pulley

To control the speed and to make the servo move in reverse, you'll need the servo controller: http://www.servocity.com/html/dual_servo_driver.html
servo-driver

To power things up, you'll need a small battery pack. This battery pack will simply plug in to the controller. http://www.servocity.com/html/battery_trays.html
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It's definitely a smooth slider, but the design means you'll need two stands to elevate it. It's important to get solid stands on each side if you want to minimize any rocking or swaying when used in windy environments. Especially if you're shooting with a long lens. Before you consider the JuicedLink DIY slider kit, you should check out some important information about the slider over at the JuicedLink website. He's started a 'CookBook' of ideas and tips about using the slider, and pointing out a few things to keep in mind when going to a longer set of rods. You can find more information and pricing on the JuicedLink sliders (click here).

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find-price-button JuicedLink DIY Slider Kit

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Some wardrobe hangers set on a couple of Push up bars are the foundation for this pretty slick DIY motion control slider by Vimeo member Jayhas. A wireless RC remote and continuous servo control the speed, and the basic rig is comprised of a few skateboard trucks. I think I have a good idea on how it all works, but there isn't a very clear tutorial on the build. Hopefully we'll see a follow up with a closer inspection to how it was all assembled. You could find some additional information following the link.

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Just thought i'd string up the 360VM Crank slider with some 30LB Fishing line and see what type of movement I could achieve with a basic battery powered Rotisserie motor. There are some great examples of these rotisserie motors being used on DIY projects like this one here and here.

It might look like things are standing still, but if you look closely the carrier is slowly inching it's way across. These very slow speed rotisserie motors are great for simple motion control on a slider because they can probably pull a full sized turkey. To speed things up I could possibly add a larger spool. The larger diameter will pull the carrier down the rail at a much faster pace. Or if you're up to it, start looking into servos or motors and speed controllers like the one Gordon has used on his Konova.

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find-price-button Rotisserie Battery Powered Grill Motor