Tripod heads come in many sizes and formats. There are heads that enable you to position your camera very accurately, in small degrees and in each of the three dimensions individually, while others allow you to freely move the camera in any direction or angle you want by simply releasing a lever or screw. The latter category includes ball heads. Usually and because they’re made to freely move your camera in all directions, ball heads are not suitable for anything but keeping your camera still when shooting with long exposure times or with heavy lenses mounted. In theory, ball heads would be great for videographers — free movement in all directions is what we think about when shooting a movie. However, ball heads don’t restrict movement at all, meaning you can’t easily keep them level with the horizon either. Unless you’re using a special one, the Uniqball.
The AutoPan is a universal panning head that allows you to create panoramas as well as focused slides of an object and more. The innovative AutoPan works with sliders and dollies and has multiple usage settings, including one where you use the head as a base for a rotating display. That way, you can also use the AutoPan to create 3D scans of an object. The AutoPan is designed and made in Italy.
What good is a video camera slider if it can’t provide rock-solid motion, with no vibrations? And if it does, what can you do about it? By accident I found out there are circumstances the Rhino slider EVO Carbon with its Motion motor creates footage that makes your zoomed-in subject look like a Parkinson patient. This costs time as you need to edit in post-production to get rid of the carriage vibrations. Especially when there’s little weight pressing down on the carriage, vibrations may be a serious problem with any slider. I only know of one slider the developer claims it doesn’t vibrate at all. That’s the Trost slider from Trost Motion. I don’t know if that claim holds true if you would run my very simple test to see if a slider will vibrate. I do know that I have video camera three sliders that all have the vibration problem to some degree. The way I found out was by attaching a GoPro HERO4 to an extension arm you would normally use for carrying a video …
Using a camera slider adds interest to an otherwise static shot. For the following five uses you really need a motorised camera slider to pull it off. Using a camera slider for a movie scene adds visual interest, may alter your state of mind, call up emotions and make boring corporate videos and interviews a lot more interesting.
I’m sure if you practice often enough, you’ll succeed in developing the steady hand you need to create macro video shots, but a motor may help and be less nerve-wrecking. The Rhino Motion camera slider motor is released together with a new generation of sliders, the Rhino Slider EVO that have an optional flywheel accessory for those who still prefer to operate their slider by hand. I was given the opportunity to test and review a pre-release 24in (60cm) Rhino Slider EVO Motorized Camera Slider with a Rhino Motion motor system.
A stepper motor (or step motor) is a brushless DC electric motor that divides a full rotation into a number of equal steps. The motor’s position can then be commanded to move and hold at one of these steps without any feedback sensor (an open-loop controller), as long as the motor is carefully sized to the application. A servomotor is a rotary actuator that allows for precise control of angular position, velocity and acceleration. It consists of a suitable motor coupled to a sensor for position feedback. It also requires a relatively sophisticated controller, often a dedicated module designed specifically for use with servomotors. Servomotors are used in applications such as robotics, CNC machinery or automated manufacturing.
As equipment has become increasingly more affordable, we’ve seen the rise of of a new generation of freelance video journalists and individual film makers producing digital films like documentaries, corporate videos, short movies and news. Many of them are using dSLRs because these can be handled by a single operator while offering excellent image quality. While most of them lack a team necessary to handle dollies and cranes, they will often take a camera slider with them to introduce dynamism in otherwise static scenes. Sliders are great to pull the viewer into the scene.
Keeping your GoPro HERO3/3+/4 steady is no small feat without some sort of a stabilisation platform. You can buy a gyro-driven gimbal, but that’s expensive. A Steadicam Curve is another, less expensive alternative, but what are your options if you’re somewhere you can’t get either of these? If you’re happy enough to have with you a Dinkum Systems 1/4in ActionPod and a nylon cable tie, you can make your own rudimentary stabiliser.
Dinkum Systems developed flexible mounts, clamps and lens shades for photo and video producers, based on Loc-Line modular hose technology. Loc-Line products were originally applied in the machine tool industry only, but innovative developers like Dinkum Systems expanded the use of this strong and chemical-resistant “ball-in-socket” system to the photo and video studio as well as on the road. Dinkum Systems’ offering is quite a complete line of products and the system itself is extremely robust.
It started as a highly successful Kickstarter project to create the best video camera slider. The developers, a small company of young people who are passionate about photography and video, found that no camera slider under 800.00 EUR was good enough. They decided to make their own. They created a sub-500.00 Euros slider that goes well beyond what you’ll find on the market for under anything up to 1000.00 EUR. Meet the Rhino Slider.