This is a guest review by Italian cameraman Giorgio Sironi, based in Vienna, Austria, of the Shootools Slider Pro. As I started looking for a new slider, I didn’t know what I wanted, but I did know what I didn’t want. I have seen, used or tested many different sliders, big ones and small ones. Good ones and atrocious ones. I talked to many colleagues, and I was intrigued of the various requirements each of them had. A tool is not just a tool, but more what the person using it makes out of it. For good or for bad. So what were my necessities? Putting it simply, I wanted something light that I could travel with. I wanted something long on the tripod but even on the ground. I wanted something sturdy, if you can carry an Alexa, you can carry an A7. I wanted something affordable just to keep my wife at bay. And I wanted something aesthetically pleasing – just to fit the global image. After this ego trip, I began my search. A few sliders came to my mind, full aluminum, with retracting rails, cheaper ones, sturdier ones. After a long search, I saw an ad from Shootools. The product looked interesting and it being an Italian firm I decided to call them up. The first contact was friendly. The sales manager took a lot of time to explain to me the ups and downs of the slider. I told him my concerns, and he gave me real answers. So I decided to order it. The Shootools Slider Pro 100 ShooTools is an Italian manufacturer who has already produced items like the Slider Modula with extension rails, or the dolly 360 with motion control (something worthy of a look in the future). Their latest product is the slider pro (60, 80, 100 and 150). Let’s take a look at its main features. This slider boasts a new Magnetic Field Technology. A magnetic field is generating between the lateral stoppers and the carriage while running close the end-stop and counteracts at the beginning/end of the track, by slowing down the run of the carriage while reaching the end-stop. That means that when I push the carriage toward the end of the rail a kind of invisible cushion warns me and stops me before hitting the end. Spooky but intriguing. You can even shoot the carriage toward the end, and it bounces back without hitting the end. No more hard hits. Its carriage as no less than eight high precision steel ball bearings for the maximal fluidity of movement and performance. But everybody knows that you can have the best bearings on crappy wheels, and the result is of course crap. Apparently not here, the Shootools trademark wheels are made of an innovative ST-66 technopolymer, they guarantee maximal smoothness and extreme fluidity, in temperatures ranging from the lowest -50 up to torrid 130 degrees Celsius. As a bonus, it allows high payloads without fear of deformations. A nice touch is the possibility to quickly adjust the friction and a nice, fast and very safe brake which allows a good blockage of the carriage and its load even if it is on the heavier side. It weights just 2,8 Kgs, and we are talking about 100 cm worth of slider. The shorter ones go down to around 2 kilos. Even with this featherweight, the slider feels stable and sturdy. Why that happens is best described by the guys from ShooTools: „the rail has got an absolute exclusive, unique layout, designed and extruded by ShooTools. Light and at the same time strong, the ShooTools Slider Pro has a peculiar trapezoidal section intended to have the maximum steadiness possible. Did we already mention that it can carry up to 50 Kgs? No? Well, it does. The carriage, the rails, and the structure are made for this kind of payload. Is your tripod ready for this too? It has two movable tripod fixing points. They are two base plates with two threaded holes each (3/8“ and 1/4“) that you can move on the whole length of the slider and position wherever you want. In addition to that, you have four small feet, with rubber inlays, that you can position where you want. It looks and feels good. The wooden end stops are one nice touch, they give the slider that fancy touch and offer a unique grip. But they are not the only design united to tech features, „Each component undergoes two distinct types of treatment: the first one, by shot peening through ceramic spheres, increases the hardness and the resistance to fatigue of the object and, also, provides a pleasant hi-grip finish. The second treatment, anodizing at 30 microns, protects the device from any external agent.“ That means that the finish is not just black and sleek but resistant and pleasant to the touch too. It has lifetime warranty; that makes my Italian friends not only very convinced of their product but even very optimistic about our working, social and economic future! An official product video demonstrating the moves: My Conclusion I didn’t use the slider for too long, and I am not impressed by sleek and Black, but if I can give my 5 cents I would say that is an excellent piece of equipment! For now, it feels, looks and works as a professional tool. I can carry it easily, even on the tripod. I can take it down from the tripod, put it on the floor, on a table or top of a crate in just a few seconds, and I still have the whole 100 cm for my use. The carriage is very smooth, and it took every camera we threw at it. My Pros: Very light, to carry and to use.Plug and play, no adjustments no maintenance. Plug and play, no adjustments no maintenance. Nice new features, like the magnetic field or the honeycomb structure. It looks good. The optional bag is well made. It is made in Italy. I am Italian. Nice responsive and helpful Sales team. My Cons: The built-in feet are nice but not enough for stability; I suggest to buy the optional wider feet for more stability. If I put a tripod plate on the slider base plate I have no holes to put the optional wider feet, that means that every time that I want to use the feet, I have to unscrew the tripod plate and move the slider plate in the correct position. After a phone call with ShooTools, I ordered two extra slider plates and mounted them on the slider. This offers me four access points for feet, tripods or hanging possibilities. It adds around 200 grams to the whole weight, but it is worth it. ShooTools even assured me they are going to look into the issue and probably come up with extra smaller plates for the feet. The magnetic field is nice, but it eats a few centimeters away on both sides, that makes the slider a bit shorter than a full meter. All in all a nice product. In its price range, I think it is a good choice. Would I suggest it to a friend? Well, as I said at the beginning, just if it fits his necessities. But if it does, hell yeah! ———————————————————————————————————————— MAIN FEATURES Lightness-record Magnetic Field Technology Friction System Wheels slide inside the rail. Horizontal load ± 50 Kg Total absence of maintenance Integrated feet Ready for motorization Lifetime warranty IN THE BOX Camera Slider PRO Integrated feet Setup Keys Instruction Manual Non-woven fabric wrapper TECHNICAL DATA Weight: Camera Slider Pro 60: 2,20 kg Camera Slider Pro 80: 2,50 kg Camera Slider Pro 100: 2,80 kg Camera Slider Pro 150: 3,55 kg Load: ± 50 Kg Material: stainless steel, Anticorodal alloy, Technopolymer; end-stops: wood Treatments: Shot peening, Organic Anodization ————————————————————————————————————————Read more
Late last year Canon Australia started a photography competition, the Canon Light Awards. They challenged photographers to come up with creative ideas, each month inspired by other photographer’s examples. The promo video itself (see above) is a very creative approach at interviewing a photographer and looking at the story “behind the image”. We don’t do many stories on creative filmmaking at cinema5D, but this promo caught my eye as it shows in a beautiful way what motion can do for a shot in terms of storytelling. Filmmaker Christopher Ireland from The Pool Collective directed three promo’s for Canon that add the depth of the photographer’s perspective to their images through an intriguing 360 degree setup. But it wasn’t the creative 360 degree approach that makes these videos work stand it out, it’s the fact that this movement tells a story. Videographers are increasingly using sliders and drones to add motion to shots or even interviews. At cinema5D we have lost track over the many many devices that have bombarded the market in recent years. The latest technology in filmmaking seems to be all about “motion”, but rarely these tools are used to actually add depth to a story, they are in most cases just an “effect”. Back in film school we learned that simply adding an “effect” such as tracking or dollying shots is actually very “uneffective” if they don’t also tell story. However if a technique is used in a purposeful way it can add strong depth and embed a message into your shots. This added dimension in filmmaking is increasingly lost and forgotten. The Canon Light Awards videos are a nice example of using motion to tell a story. It’s the “look behind the image” in the form of a video sequence. Check out the behind the scenes video that was published today. Who can spot the camera the videos were shot on? What do you think about adding “motion” to your shots as an effect vs. telling a story? Let us know your perspective in the comments. via cinescopophilia.comRead more
The ProMediaGear PMG-Duo slider is the first slider that has both a straight and a curved track in one unit avoiding the hassle of bringing two sliders to the set. This is an idea we haven’t seen before and indeed could be practical for some people. To change the slider angle you flip the whole unit around and reattach the slider carriage to the other side. The slider is built of solid thick metal and seems to be able to withstand a lot of bad treatment. Also we felt that the sliding was quite smooth. An additional feature the PMG-Duo offers is the friction handle that let’s you control friction of the carriage against the rails for smoother moevements. The PMG-Duo is available now and costs $524 for the 24″ version: LINKRead more
HDSLR filmmakers often see themselves bombarded with affordable products that don’t meet their expectations. Two years ago when we made our big DSLR rig review we found that most rigs weren’t that cool. Today we have a similar situation with sliders. They are great, but most seem to be just ok. And the outstanding ones like the new Kessler slider we reported about last week are usually too expensive for the HDSLR filmmakers budget. Every now and we find an indie company with a filmmaking background make a cool product for HDSLRs. This one got funded on Kickstarter within 18 hours…Read more
Smooth for good, an invention that will probably change the way we look at sliders: Sliders. Convenient, compact devices that let us achieve dolly shots easily and affordably. They have become very popular with HDSLR, but one of the biggest challenges when using a slider is to make a shot really smooth (=professional). The smoothness and build quality of the bearings of the device is one factor and the technique of movement another that will affect our shot. There have been different approaches to make pocket dollys and sliders run smoothly, the most advanced devices are motorized and expensive, but here’s an approach that will probably revolutionize the way we look at sliders. “Polly” is a device created by Thomas Kress from Germany. The idea is that a flywheel simultaneously accumulates the kinetic energy and stabilizes the movement.Read more
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