Over the past few years I’ve owned a few different makes of camera slider, some were to heavy to carry around. Some weren’t smooth enough and some felt very flimsy. If you are in the market for a camera slider then look no further. Born from a kickstarter the Rhino slider was designed and built by a cameraman, this is an easy to use and intuitive piece of kit.
Camera sliders are great pieces of equipment that serve many purposes. Firstly you can use a slider, well to slide. You can introduce some gentle linear movement into your shot. Using a manual slider you simply push your camera side to side, some sliders allow you to adjust the resistance which helps with the speed of your shot. Rhino have a flywheel which is the best way to control a manual slide, adding just enough resistance to the move. As well as the flywheel Rhino also make Motion, a motor and controller package that enable you to programme moves. ARC from Rhino is an additional accessory that is a motorised platform that will move the camera around 360 degrees as well as sliding from side to side. Rhino is a clever piece of kit and also connects to your DSLR camera and can take control and turns the whole kit into a timelapse slider. Lets look in more detail…
In the video above (no sound) I’ve taken the Rhino out with a motion unit and set up a number of slides. I’m sliding out, side to side and diagonally down in the video. I often use the 24″ carbon fibre track which is so lightweight and packs away small. The motion unit has its own battery and lasts an age. Programming a slide is very easy, firstly you decide how long you want the move to be, maybe 10 seconds. You can then chose whether you want the slider to ramp the movement at the beginning and end of the shot. The ramp is a nice slow start and slow finish. The speed starts from nothing and ramps up to your selected speed before slowly ramping down and finishing. You can manually control the speed by simply turning the round knob side to side on the controller.
The camera movement that a slider introduces into a shot adds production value and interest to your videos. You can use a slider to create a reveal, sneak a tiny bit of movement into a shot that otherwise wouldn’t be there, it really transforms an otherwise static shot.
In the video above I added the ARC unit. What the ARC does is to keep your camera pointing where it should be. Let me explain. If you imagine a simple side to side slide the camera lens points forward, its position does change. Sliding past a person they will simply move from one side of the frame to the other. The ARC enables you to target your interest, in the case of the video above that is Ash. I setup the slider and using the control knob I moved my lens position to point at Ash. As the slider moves from right to left the lens needs to move to keep Ash as out focal point in the shot. So, to enable this the Rhino slider moves from the in point to the out point where you target Ash again. So, to recap we have targeted him on the left (in) point of the slider and the right (out) point which now means the slider will keep the camera trained on him everywhere in-between. Clever eh!
The video above was shot with my modified Panasonic GH4 camera. This camera is full spectrum, meaning it records all light – visible and infrared. By using a filter on the front I block out all visible light that you and I can see. The video above is therefore made up of light that is completely beyond our visible spectrum, cool.
This video if my mind serves my rightly was shot over a few hours on a lovely summers day. I used a 42″ stainless steel Rhino track and the Motion unit. The Motion was connected to my GH4 and was set to fire off a photo every ten seconds or so. The Rhino is a clever beast and what it will do is to move, fire the shutter, move fire the shutter. Why this is important is that if the shutter were to fire when the slider was moving and you were shooting on a long exposure you may well get a blurred image. I shot this video as a sequence of still images that I then stitched together at 25fps to produce a nice short timelapse video.
Sliders are just one of many tools that you can use to introduce movement into your production. Just watch the large blue chip wildlife docos and very rarely will you see a camera that is static. Cranes, gimbals, drones, cable dollys are amongst many other pieces of kit are used to give these high budget shoots their look.