Rollocam Hercules Review – An Honest Look at the Mini Motorized Slider

The Rollocam Hercules motorized slider stirred up quite a hype on Kickstarter when it was launched last year. But has it lived up to it? I got my Hercules a few months ago, and here are my impressions.

Rollocam Hercules

The Rollocam Hercules – A Mini Motorized Slider

The Rollocam Hercules is branded as ‘the worlds smallest motion control device’; it has a motor inside a metal tube that drives a wheel to make the device move. In terms of its features, it has various speed settings, stop motion control using magnetic sensors and a timelapse mode that moves the device in steps. It runs on a single AAA battery, and the motor device itself is no longer than a phone.

I personally backed the Rollocam Hercules campaign as I thought it might work great as a ‘second-shooter’ for interviews, so that a wide shot can slowly move left and right without needing a bulky motorized slider like those from Kessler or Rhino Gear. Using motion in interviews can add something dynamic to your subject and scene. It makes for an interesting ‘go-to’ b-cam shot. But does the Hercules have the capability to compete against the other devices on the market? In my opinion, no. Here’s why.

The Hercules has sat on my desk like an expensive paperweight since it arrived a few months ago. I was impressed with it’s functionality, and quickly mounted my iPhone to it and shoot some tests, but attaching a camera to it proved difficult. You’ve got to make sure the camera is balanced correctly or it will just tip over or the wheels won’t get enough contact with the surface. This was a big let down as I mostly shoot run and gun style, needing a quick setup. Having to fiddle with the Hercules to set it up correctly just took too much time.

The menu system is confusing, but I’m sure with practice and repetition it would become second nature to scroll through the features, using only one button and corresponding flashing LED lights. The issue with this is scrolling past the settings you want to use, having to reset the device and start again.

Rollocam (3 of 7)

I backed the motorized slider package that also included the magnetic sensor and track, both of which are also fiddly and time-consuming to set up. The magnetic sensor works by placing a tiny magnet underneath the ‘O’ of the Rollocam logo on the device, which then starts the movement. When the Hercules reaches the second magnet, it reverses the movement back to the other magnet, going back and forth like a second shooter or motorized slider.

While this is a very compact and cheap version of higher end products, it certainly doesn’t replace the need for one. The magnets are tiny, and will be easy to lose, but more importantly, you need to be really accurate with the positioning of the magnets to make the motion activate and reverse.

The motorized slider track which was included in my package is very light but feels like it would bend easily. I tried attaching it to a tripod and using a magic arm to support the other end of the track, but this didn’t suffice to keep the track straight. It also increased my filming footprint: I might as well have used a slider.

Of course, if you didn’t get the track option you could use the Hercules on a flat surface like the floor, pavement or table top. It has to be very smooth for uninterrupted movement, so iron out your table cloths or choose a surface that doesn’t have any bumps. I’m sure image stabilization will rectify some bumps, but larger ones will make it hard for the Hercules to roll over. In the below video shot on an iPhone, I used my laptop as a surface.

Lastly, it is noisy when you mount a heavy camera on there and have it rolling at the highest speed. Probably not noticeable if you’ve got a good audio setup, but with just a camera or phone on there you can definitely pick up the motor noise with the camera’s internal microphone.

So far, I have only shot a few test videos, mainly with the iPhone. I’m sure if you have time to set it up correctly your results and opinions would vary dramatically.

For other applications like filming with a phone or action camera, I’m sure you’ll disagree with many of my comments, but for what I was expecting, the Rollocam Hercules didn’t live up to it, and this is very honest! We’re keen to hear your thoughts on the Hercules and see any videos or footage you have of it in use, so please drop us a comment in the section below!

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Nik Knezevic Reply
Nik Knezevic July 13, 2016

Stefan Gritsch vergünstigter Preis ist bis zum 15…. Thoughts?

Stefan Gritsch Reply
Stefan Gritsch July 13, 2016

Nik Knezevic how much?

Reply
Ken Martini July 14, 2016

I have one and the unit fell apart when inserted the battery. I had to send it back and waited 2 months for a repkplacement. It is very I practice to use. I a sorry I bought it. If it were slightly larger and had Blutooth operation like my Syrp, it would have been a good travel option.

Reply
Raymond Craig July 19, 2016

I highly regret backing this product. The battery connection is so finicky that as it rolls it often will lose connection and turn off. I’ve spent more time frustratingly trying to get it to work (I have the menu system practically memorized) then actually using the product. As he said above it’s pretty much sat as a paper weight as of late. I’ve backed more than one kickstarter/indiegogo filmmaker project and after more than one disappointment like this one I’ve learned my lesson to just wait until it’s a real product on the market and has been battle tested before investing.

Reply
Oz Factory July 23, 2016

I hear ya Raymond. I picked this up and its an expensive paper weight. So many design flaws its not funny. That battery cap is rubbish. I would imagine that many people broke it the first time the used it.

Remember to take the battery out or it will be flat when you go to use it. I bought the slider as well and its a bendable piece of crap. We are the beta testers. If they had a version with bluetooth control and made 10 times better quality it would be ok.

It feels like they bundled up as much crap as they could find at the $2 shop and sold it t use for much more.

Reply
Eric Belanger July 29, 2016

Great idea and concept. Unfortunately poor execution and design makes this tool a dud. My Rollercam broke within a short period of time. I would not recommend the current generation of the Rollercam. Very flimsy and delicate cuts makes it an unreliable production tool.