“When making videos with a tripod fluid head, there aren’t that many movements you can do. You’ve got tilt and pan - so basically either a vertical movement or a horizontal movement.
Both of these have one common characteristic: the camera stays in pretty much the same space for the whole movement, meaning you can’t get any parallax movement (parallax is basically what occurs when you drive on the road and look on the side: near objects seem to move differently than the objects that are further).
To make that kind of movement possible, the cinema industry uses dollies or sliders. And luckily for us, in the modern-day and age, these kind of tools have become very affordable also for amateur filmmakers. :D
I found this basic slider from Amazon for 40 - that’s a bargain considering the rails are made out of carbon fiber and the other pieces are aluminum. The build quality is top-notch and there was no way I could have made anything even closely as efficient with the tools and resources I have - that’s why I decided to go the buy route instead of the DIY for the slider part.
However, there is one incredibly useful feature that this slider doesn’t have and that is motorization. You see, when you slide your camera on the rails by hand, there are small inconsistencies in the movement, that make the video look less professional than it could have been when you had used a motor to move the camera. Also, with motorization, you can make time-lapses over multiple hours with a very clean and smooth movement.
That’s why I decided to upgrade my slider with and Arduino controlled stepper motor, while also making the slider portable using common Sony NPF style batteries to be able to take the slider in nature or on travel.
- Basic camera slider
- Arduino nano
- NEMA 17 stepper motor
- Aluminium enclosure
- Nema 17 vibration dampner
- A4988 or TMC2208 (better) motor driver
- NPF battery charger
- Timing Belt and 2 pulleys
- 1 red LED
- Heat shrink tubing and electrician tape
- 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch adapter
- 10K potentiometer
- 3 position toggle switch
- On/Off switch
- 2 End stops”