Testing out the new @DigiSlider Auto-Pan Motorized Slider
This short video shows a very simple way to motorize a tripod track dolly using friction between two wheels. In the video below i've modded the Cinerails Snaptrack kit.
The main parts are a simple DC motor and Speed Controller from Servo City, and small venom 11V 3S Lipo battery. I mounted the Speed Controller up top so I don't need to bend over to change speed or direction. I mounted the motor just over one of the track wheels, and used washers to get the right amount of spacing.
Unfortunately these were spare parts laying around my house, so I don't have the exact part numbers. While I work on getting that together, here's a few links to get you started. I'm sure If you contact ServoCity.com they can probably help you out with an entire kit.
Here's a look at the new S1A1 (single axis) Motion Control System that can be added to the iFootage Shark Slider and expand it's functionality. With the S1A1 Motion Control add-on you can now wireless control the movements of the Shark Slider and also program the system for advanced Time Lapse functions.
To keep this video somewhat short, I'm not going to show you instructions on how to program the S1A1 unit. Instead i'm just showing you some of the features and how it performs. Check out the video below.
At slow speeds the motor is near silent which means you can use it for live interviews without interfering with audio. If you're looking for that slider shot and work as with a minimal crew, the S1A1 can be programmed to 'loop' and will continuously travel back and forth. If you have specific points along the slider that it needs to travel, you can record your movements and play them back to repeat once, or loop infinitely.
For advanced timelapse the S1A1 can be peformed to do a slow crawl, or move at set intervals and exposure times. A wireless receiver can also be used to trigger your camera's shutter so that it is in sync with the S1A1 System and does not move during your exposure.
The menu is a bit confusing (at least it was for me), but once it's been explained, it's pretty easy to navigate. And because that instructional part of the video could be lengthy, i'll post up a separate video on how to enter those features in to the software. If you'd like to find out more about the Shark Slider and the new S1A1 Motion Control System, please visit Camotionllc.com (click here).
By just adding a little bit of motion, you can change the entire feel of a basic static timelapse video. We've seen the wind up DIY Egg Timer pan heads used for timelapse projects, and have even seen a few robust versions, but here's a completely new battery operated programmable Pan Head product.
Unlike your basic mechanical egg timer that you would rotate by hand and listen to it tick-tock it's way back to zero, this new Electronic Pan Head is battery operated and can be programmed for different lengths of travel and different speeds. Using a 5 minute setting with a full 360 degree pan may even be fast enough for real time video (not just time-lapsing).
From a simple menu of buttons you can choose how much distance your camera will pan along with the speed in which it will reach the end of it's travel. You can select from 15 degrees - 360 degrees or travel, and then select from 5 minutes to a full 60 minutes of run time. You can even change the direction in which the system pans (clockwise/counter-clockwise). The new Sevenoak TV15 Programmable Pan Head can be found via eBay (click here).
Sevenoak TV15 Electronic Time Lapse Pan Head
The DigiSlider motorized slider Time Lapse Kit is incredibly easy to setup and operate adding an entirely new dimension to what would normally just be a static sequence of images. With a fast shutter speed you can certainly create moving time lapse from just about any motorized slider, but unlike sliders that have a continuous slow crawl, the DigiSlider Time Lapse Kit can be setup for Shoot-Move-Shoot. Here's a quick demo on how that works.
Timelapse is certainly an art form which requires both patience and capturing something interesting. I know my examples were poor, but you can see excellent examples of what the DigiSlider has done over at the DigiSlider Vimeo Page (Click Here).
The DigiSlider Time Lapse Slider Kit is pretty straight forward. There is no software to program or long menus to sift through. Two basic analog dials and a rocker switch control everything from distance of slider travel to intervals between shutter actuations. The parts are minimal and can be either setup or broken down in about a minute.
The Time Lapse Kit uses a controller for shoot-move-shoot intervals and a slow speed motor. This kit alone does not offer continuous movement for live video capture. If you want to use the slider for continuous movement, they offer a separate controller and a different speed motor. Or check out one of their kits that comes with both functionality.
Of course these kits are only the basic foundation to get you started in motion Time Lapse and you can always upgrade to a more advanced controller and motorized Pan/Tilt head for a full 3 Axis solution. For questions and more information about these products you can contact Digislider at their website (click here).
DigiSlider Motorized Sliders Time Lapse Kit / Continuous Video Slider
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
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).
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.
Click for Larger Version
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.
A 12V DPDT Relay (as found here) is either 'Always ON' until the slider reaches the opposite switch which drops power to the relay.
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).
If you love building and tinkering, here's a look at another fun little project idea from ServoCity.com. They've added a new low friction channel slider that has very low tolerance, can accept a decent load, and that slides over their lightweight aluminum channels. In this video they have assembled a drive system that pulls the carrier through the channel, to work as a video slider.
These aluminum channels can be purchased in various lengths if you're looking for longer or shorter runs, and the motors can be swapped out for faster or slower RPMs depending on your project. The overall design allows these motors to pull quite a bit of weight even vertically, but if you're looking to carry heavier camera systems, just make sure to look into the channel slider that wraps around all four sides (here).
Now if you're looking to do some tinkering of your own, I highly suggest taking a look at the dozens of videos showing you step-by-step on how to build these projects at the Servo City YouTube Channel.
For more information about the Slider Kit A, take a look at their Channel Slider Kit product pages which shows examples and a list of parts required to assemble.
Here's a look at the Varavon Slider Crank Handle Upgrade Kit. The idea for a crank pulley is to keep your shaky hands away from the camera, but whether it produces smoother results are based on the experience of the operator. A fully motorized slider will always yield the most consistent results, but in times where battery power or noise is an issue, the Crank Handle kit is another option.
The Varavon Crank Handle Kit comes with two end pieces that can fit most sliders on the market so long as you have a 1/4" or 3/8" mounting point on either side. A metal plate sits under your tripod head on the carrier, and a pulley belt can be cut to size. The handle length can be adjusted for longer or shorter crank rotations. The Varavon Crank Handle Kit for Sliders are available via eBay (click here).
Anyone who has had to operate a slider during an interview will realize the value this new slider can add to your projects. Best of all, this tool can replace additional overhead on crew to operate that B-cam while adding high production value dynamic camera movements.
Fully motorized, the new Redrock Micro One Man Crew Motorized Slider offers variable speeds, steady consistent movements, and silent operation. The curved track design allows your subject to remain in frame as the camera tracks back and forth automatically. The new RedRock Micro One Man Crew is available now for pre-order (click here).
Redrock Micro One Man Crew Motorized Slider