Filmmakers use video sliders to add dynamic movement and cine-style shots to a video. Sliders consist of a rail system with a carriage where you mount the camera. The unit would move smoothly through the rail for smooth footage.
There are different kinds of video sliders available and today we are here to help you choose the right video slider for your needs.
Why choosing the right video slider is important?
Using the right video slighter will make a significant difference in your workflow. Whether you are a videographer or filmmaker, the quality of your work will improve. The right slider will help you achieve professional shots that add value to your work.
It does not mean you cannot use the slider you have right now. As a creative, you have all the means to think outside the box to nail a shot.
The right slider is just there to make your life easier and make you work more efficiently.
What are the types of video sliders?
There are four main types of video sliders. There is a manual video slider, a motorized video slider, portable and fixed sliders, and hybrid sliders.
Each one has its own pros and cons.
Manual Video Slider
A manual video slider means you have to push or pull the carriage along the rail manually. It is the cheapest type of slider and is pretty straightforward to use.
However, using a manual slider can be challenging. It takes a lot of practice to master its usage.
Since it is manually controlled, you need to have to handle the slider carefully for consistent speed and movement. One wrong move and the footage will feel inconsistent.
Motorized Video Slider
Motorized video sliders look like regular sliders but, it has a motor that moves the carriage along the rail. The electric motor can be programmed to have precise movement.
Some motorized sliders also come with a remote which allows for complex camera movements.
However, this type of slider is more expensive than manual sliders.
For instance, the ProMediaGear VSMDC1 Motor Control costs $550. But is it worth it? If you love more control and precise movements, then it definitely is.
Portable and Fixed Video Sliders
The third and fourth type of video sliders is the portable and fixed sliders.
A portable video slider is lightweight and often shorter than a regular slider. It is easy to transport which means, it is perfect for those who are always on the go.
Moreover, a fixed video slider is mounted on a tripod or a different stable surface. The added stability allows it to handle heavier camera setups.
Hybrid Video sliders
Hybrid video sliders combine manual and motorized sliders into one package. It is a convertible type that allows you to move the carriage on your own or use the motor when it is needed.
This type of video slider is fairly affordable and strikes a great balance between affordability and functionality.
The last type of slider is the Dual or Duo slider. This type of video slider has two tracks – one straight and one curved.
The ProMediaGear Duo Slider can be flipped so you can use either the straight or curve rail depending on the shot.
Duo sliders may also come with a motor for precise movement.
This type of slider provides a more versatile shooting experience since you can mix and match curved and straight rail footage in the final output.
The result would then be dynamic footage that does not rely on a one-track linear motion.
How to choose the right video slider?
Choosing the right video slider might be a drag if you do not know what to look for.
That is why we have listed several factors you should consider before buying one.
Video sliders come in different sizes and lengths. The longer the slider, the more movement you can achieve. It also means you can shoot longer footage.
A long slider is ideal for smooth and cinematic shots but if your style includes short and precise movements, then a shorter slider is the one for you.
However, a long slider is more versatile since you can always limit your movement manually but with a short slider, your movement is physically restricted.
Not every slider is created equal. Some can handle large cameras while other models can only handle smaller models.
Check the load capacity of the video slider you are about to purchase before pulling the trigger. It would be a shame if you are going to purchase one and it cannot support your setup.
Remember, it is better to buy a video slider that has a max load capacity that is way above your setup than one with very little allowance.
The build quality of a slider is crucial when it comes to longevity and durability. A slider that is made of high-quality material will last you a lifetime. Cheap sliders may work once or twice but after a while you will notice why it is priced so.
Sliders made of carbon fiber or aluminum are ideal for their durability.
Smoothness and Stability
What is the use of having a slider if it cannot give you smooth results, right?
Slider smoothness is the key to achieving high-quality shots. Stutters or irregular movement is easy to notice.
Look for a slider with high-quality bearings and rails. Choose a slider with adjustable feet or leveling screws, if possible.
Moving a slider means metal-to-metal contact. Choose a slider that glides smoothly with minimal noise.
A noisy manual slider will also affect your audio recording.
The same goes for motorized sliders. Pick a model that has a quiet motor. This way, your footage has a usable ambient noise.
Pick a slider that is convenient to use and does not require special tools and setups. Check if it supports universal camera mounts, quick-release clamps, adjustable legs, or ergonomic handles.
The last factor is price. Buy a video slider that is within your budget and upgrade it if necessary.
However, if you have the money, then choose the best video slider you can buy. Perhaps, the ProMediaGear DUO slider with a motor since you have two tracks in one simple package. It is pricey equipment but, you get what you pay for – quality and durability assurance.
Buying the right video slider for your needs requires thorough research. It is also advisable to compare different models before buying.
Do not forget to check out the factors mentioned earlier and make an informed decision. Have fun shooting!