Tag Archives: motorized 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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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).

Slider_Kit_with_Phone_MountSlider_vertical_with_phone_mount

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.

ServoCity YouTube Channel
ServoCity.com Precision Building Systems

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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).

Varavon Slider Crank Handle Kit Upgrade
find-price-button Varavon Crank Handle Kit for Sliders

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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 One Man Crew
find-price-button Redrock Micro One Man Crew Motorized Slider

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Wondlan has introduced a new motorized video camera slider, but instead of the typical pulley belt system, they are using a direct gear drive method. The geared motor is built inside of the trolley and meshes directly to a rail that runs along side of the slider.

Wondlan Motorized SliderMotorized Wondlan Geared Slider
Wondlan Geared Slider Motorized

Doesn't quite mention if it can be used as a basic manual slider in case noise may be an issue. Minimun speed: about 0.555 cm/s and Maximum Speed: about 15 cm/s. It's probably directed more for simple video movements as this product does not include an advanced motion controller that can trigger your camera's shutter or to offer shoot-move-shoot (Interleave) for Time-lapse photography. Check out the product via eBay (click here)

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find-price-button Wondlan Geared Motorized DSLR Video Slider

If you're looking for a more advanced Time-lapse slider, not just simple motion control, there is the Konova Smart Controller (here) and also the Dynamic Perception Stage One (here).

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Above is a Demo Reel from DynamicPerception.com, a company that offers motorized motion control sliders primarily used for Time-Lapse Photography. The latest product added to their line is the Stage One slider (found here). Unlike most sliders that have to be purchased as a set length, the Stage One slider can be broken down to 21" sections that will allow you to fit the equipment into standard Airline Carry-on sized luggage when traveling.

Dynamic Perception shipped over the Stage One Motorized Slider kit with an MX2 Controller, and without checking the online documentation, I was able to dive in, assemble, and figure out the basic functions. If you follow their extensive online support documentation and instructional videos, I feel anyone should be able to tackle this piece of equipment.

It is designed to be used with stands and offers a 5/8" light stand mount, 3/8" mount, or 1/4" tripod mounts. The Stage One does not come with legs or feet, so you'll need to keep it elevated slightly to operate. I'm hoping they will offer some type of adjustable legs, similar to what the Konova or Varavon sliders offer. It's very well crafted and designed to to readily accept optional accessories for more advanced use. The basic (non-motorized) kit comes with (4) 21" rails that can be assembled into a 42" slider (additional rails can be purchased to extend the slider further).

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find-price-button Dynamic Perception Stage One Time-Lapse Slider

I have plans to take this kit out to CES Las Vegas in January, so hopefully I can have some interesting footage to share soon after the trip. Even if you're not ready to tackle Time-Lapse just yet, I suggest taking a look at some of the informational video tutorials covering How to shoot HDR Timelapse, setting up Shoot-move-Shoot (InterLeave), Time-lapse video post processing, Time Remapping, and more. There's also amazing Time-Lapse Video examples submitted by customers to help inspire your next time-lapse project over at DynamicPerception.com.

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Thanks to YouTube member dim3m for sending in this fine example of a modified Pico Flex Dolly. [Thanks dim3m] The rear trailer contains the servo, servo controller, batteries, etc. The laser alignment shows you the cross point reference for the center of rotation. Having motorized control gives you more consistent movement across the entire rotation. Aside from fancy rotating shots, the Pico Flex can mimic side to side slider shots, or push / pull dolly shots. Especially useful for B-Roll, cut away, or pick up shots with small product reviews. For more information on the Pico Flex Skater Table Dolly check out PhotographyandCinema.com.

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find-price-button Pico Flex - Table Skater Rotating Video Dolly

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YouTube member JennGrover shares a look at the Konova Motorized Slider upgrade kit. [Thanks Jenn] Konova is said to be releasing at least two different motors (speed variations), and different remotes. Others have shared more information about Konova's motorized upgrade kit in the comments of the earlier article here: http://cheesycam.com/konova-motorized-upgrade-kit-now-available/

Konova Upgrade Kit
find-price-button Konova Motorized Upgrade Kit for Konova Sliders

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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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