On this week's Reel Rebel episode we share another common filmmaking technique that's often used by professionals to capture smooth, cinematic looking shots - through the use of a camera slider.  Professional camera slider systems can be quite pricey and until recently, affordable systems were just poorly made in comparison.  Thankfully, Stephen has discovered a new, affordable slider for DSLR cameras called the Rhino Slider.

Camera Slider/Dolly Systems

If you’ve ever wondered how filmmakers follow the action with those smooth tracking cinematic shots, the most common answer is through the use of a dolly slider system for camera rigs.  Generally speaking, a camera slider is a dolly that is simply slimmed down and usually mounts on a single tripod. The base of the tripod slides along a track and enables you to shoot a moving subject with ease. The purpose of a dolly is to give you more dynamic shots with the least amount of effort.  It allows you to get that camera moving in tight spaces where you can’t get equipment that is big or bulky.

Most sliders fit into one of these two categories:

  • Friction-Based Camera Sliders  - This type of slider is typically inexpensive and affordable. However, the problem with this type of slider is that is going to be much less smooth than the next type, roller bearing sliders.
  • Roller-Bearing Camera Sliders  - This type offers a much smoother movement, but comes at a cost and some may consider them cost-prohibitive.

The Rhino Slider Review: Affordable DSLR Camera Slider

rhinosliderThe Rhino Slider is a new slider that was launched as a kickstarter project and seems to be the answer to achiveing the smoothness of a roller bearing slider at an affordable price.  This type of slider is friction based, but has six rollers at the base of the camera sled which allows for smooth gliding.  It is lightweight, and can adapt to any environment or camera (GoPro, iPhone, DSLR or RED). It is a 48" camera slider that uses 12 bearings inside of six rollers that are self lubricating.  There is so little friction that you can just use gravity to move your shots.

Using the Rhino Slider is simple.  You just mount your camera to the carriage, set up your shot, and start filming.  Having an extra foot or two makes a huge difference.  A four foot range of motion gives you plenty of space.  It helps to give you a big, cinematic-looking shot.

The system comes with locking all-terrain legs which help you to get really low shots, and help you go places where you might not be able to get a tripod.  It includes micro adjustable rubber feet that can fold up for travel.  In fact, the entire system can be disassembled for cleaning and storage with only four fasteners that don’t require tools.

There is a Rhino Slider Carbon version (at $475 USD) and a Rhino Slider PRO version (at $550 USD).  The PRO can hold up to 35 pounds of camera gear with its solid stainless steel rails.  And, it isn’t heavy as it weighs only about 10 pounds. The PRO version includes a center mounting plate if you're using a single tripod. Future enhancements are said to include both a motor for time lapse and expansion with linking rails.

Question: Do you use a slider? If so, what tips do you have for using it effectively?