Your arm can only be precise to a point and will tire out after a while. Up your filmmaking with smooth slides, pans, and up to full motion-controlled rigs.
Learn more about Camera Sliders
As a visual content creator, you might have felt the need to create smooth motion in the videos. While you can keep your camera on a smooth surface and roll it, that would still have some jitters. Also, while you can use a tripod to create a dolly shot, it won't be as good as you would expect. This is when the camera slider comes into the picture - and can be used to achieve those shots easily.
Even if you are shooting only images today, there's a good chance that you will get into the filmmaking industry - sooner or later. When you do enter that filmmaking industry, there's a need for good smooth shots. And while the bigger production houses can use camera dollies, you can achieve something similar - not the same - using camera sliders.
What is a camera slider? What is it used for?
A camera slider is basically an accessory for the camera that you can use to create smooth and stable motion in a video. There's a small moving platform with a mechanism similar to the tracks - on which this platform can run. You will need to attach the camera to this platform. Some of them would then allow you to operate the camera slider using a smartphone app.
Various types of shots can be achieved using a camera slider. However, one would typically use a camera slider to shoot a reveal shot for a product or a time-lapse - with motion at the same time. Camera sliders are normally used in a smaller setup - with smaller subjects to shoot at. If you are shooting a movie, it is tough to use any of the normal camera sliders you would use while working as a freelance videographer.
Keep these things in mind while purchasing camera sliders!
Camera sliders are a little more complicated than what they seem like. So, understanding some of the important things about them is important before making a purchase decision. We will just briefly go through some of the things you will need to keep in mind while purchasing camera sliders.
Length of the track
You will need to keep in mind what length you might need for a shoot - and based on that, this decision will need to be made. A camera slider is available in different lengths to slide on. Some of them are shorter in length - so if you are willing to create a smoother motion for a bit longer time, you might not be able to do that on those shorter tracks.
Also, if you are willing to shoot in a slightly bigger location, there's a good chance that having a shorter length of the track might limit the movement you are willing to achieve. So, having a longer length of track can be highly useful for achieving elongated smooth movement in such cases. But if your main aim is to only shoot indoors in a studio space, a comparatively smaller length can get the job done.
Weight and Load Capacity
The second important thing you need to keep in mind about a camera slider is the weight and load capacity. First, the weight of the slider itself is important to keep in mind as you might not want to carry something too heavy every day if you are on an outdoor shoot. And well, if you are mainly shooting in the studio space, having a slightly higher weight on the camera slider doesn't hurt.
Alongside the weight of the camera slider, it is also important to see how much the slider can actually carry. This is important and helps decide whether the camera combo you are using will work with the slider. If you want to use a smartphone on the slider, the payload capacity won't matter much - but with DSLRs or Mirrorless cameras, it would.
Usually, the material used by a camera slider will decide how reliable and sturdy it will be. Also, the material used would decide on the weight and the payload capacity of the slider that we just talked about. There are three main types of sliders based on the materials used - Carbon Fiber Sliders, Aluminum Sliders, and Steel Sliders.
A camera slider with a carbon fiber body will be the best slider for you if you are looking forward to carrying it around the world - as it's lightweight. An aluminum slider will be the middle option - that will be lighter than a steel slider but heavier than the carbon fiber one. And the steel slider itself would be quite a bit heavier - but would also be able to carry the most weight and be sturdy. So, based on your usage, select the material you want to go for.
Portability and Versatility
When you combine the other things that we briefly had a look at earlier, it will decide on the portability and versatility of a camera slider. To be portable and versatile, the sliders need to have the best of all that. If the slider has an extremely long length - but it is made of plastic, or the load capacity is lower, then it is not considered a great portable and versatile slider.
However, if the slider has a decent length, is made of carbon fiber or aluminum, weighs less, and can carry a normal-sized camera with a zoom lens, you can consider that great for portability and versatility. When you want to travel around the world with all the camera gear, this becomes an essential factor to look at.
The features that we have asked you to keep in mind earlier are the essential ones. However, some sliders also offer extra features - like attaching a low-profile and good quality ball head to the slider. You can then mount your camera on top of the ball head. Having a ball head on the slider will enable you to position the camera at a different angle - than what one would typically do.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have recently started looking at the wide range of camera sliders, we totally understand that you might not understand everything about them. They are slightly more complicated machines used to perform specific functions. And well, it is alright to have questions about them as knowing all the details before making a purchase decision - is what everyone should be aiming at.
Therefore, we have a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about camera sliders. This might help you make the best choice from the range of camera sliders available in the market.
I need one of the best camera sliders for smartphones. Do you have one?
Yes, we got you covered for this!
We have the ROV Mobile Traveler in our shop, one of the best camera sliders available for a phone. When you buy, you will get the smartphone mount as well, capable of carrying most smartphones. You won't need to buy an additional smartphone mount to make things work.
I want to create a product video. How useful would camera sliders be?
Camera Sliders are one of the most used products for a product video. While photos don't require this equipment, creating a good video would. When you are using a slider to create a product video, you will be able to use it for almost every shot - including the reveal shot. Also, attaining focus on the hero shots is made simpler with the camera sliders.
Which size of the motorized slider should I get?
The answer to this depends on your needs. If you need a camera slider for your studio, going for a little long and heavy but sturdier slider should easily deliver the results. However, if you want to move around a lot with the camera sliders, you should go with a mid-size or compact one made of a carbon-fiber body.
Is it necessary to have a camera slider in my kit?
If you are shooting photos, then it isn't a necessity. However, as soon as you enter the filmmaking scene, a camera slider most likely becomes necessary. There are a lot of things that one can achieve without them - but if you want to spice up your videos, do consider investing in a camera slider and have it in your kit.
Can we control all sliders from a smartphone app?
If the question is really about all the sliders, the answer would be - No. However, there are quite a few camera sliders available in the market whose performance can be controlled via a smartphone app. Usually, the manufactures will have apps available on both - iOS and Android.
Are motorized camera sliders worth it?
Absolutely, motorized camera sliders are definitely worth it.
If your camera work mainly revolves around producing great quality videos, then a motorized camera slider is something that you would enjoy using. It opens up the possibility of various shots - that a camera alone might not be able to create. Also, the investment in a motorized camera slider is a long-term investment that will pay up over time.
Camera sliders are complicated - and we understand that. With all the information that we have provided here, we believe that you can easily make the purchase decision of the best slider based on your needs. However, if you still need any support from us, you can reach out to one of our Gear Guides. They always follow the latest news for the different camera accessories, including camera sliders, and are always ready to help you out.