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New AWESOME piece of equipment

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Todd TerryNew AWESOME piece of equipment
by on Aug 1, 2014 at 5:49:04 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Aug 1, 2014 at 6:20:11 pm

This might be more appropriate for the Cinematography forum, but I think people in here might be interested as well....

Full disclosure... I have NO FINANCIAL INTEREST in this company whatsoever nor had even heard of them before a few weeks ago. I will probably sound like a cheerleader and that might seem suspicious, but if these folks sell one of these things or a million of them it makes no difference to me. But this is a great product and thought I'd pass it along.

Backstory... I've wanted a curved slider for years, after "inventing one in my head" a long time ago (as others probably did, too). I wanted something that would be the same as curved dolly track, if I only needed a short run and didn't want to lay track (or have the time, have it with me, etc.). We searched in vain in my own city to find a machine shop interested in making one, but had no takers at all.

Finally RedrockMicro came out with their "One Man Crew device," which is basically that (and looks like a good piece of gear). It didn't work for me though because it is motorized and moves veeeery slowly. I begged Brian at Redrock to make a faster version that also had a "free run" manual mode... and their latest version is faster, but still not fast enough for me. And no non-motorized mode.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon some curved sliders made by an outfit called Pro Media Gear in Illinois. Looked great, but the radius of the curve was much too tight. Good for tabletop shooting, but not for talking heads or simulating a "regular" dolly track curve.

The thing they were touting was that it was a curved slider and a straight slider all in one... just flip it over and swap the carriage from one side to the other. But it was the curved side (and the radius) that I was most concerned about.

I called them and talked to one of the owners, Matt... super nice guy. They have a huge machine shop (their primary work, I think), and do a little bit of videography on the side and make some camera support equipment. He told me he basically guessed at the numbers when designing his sliders... and had no idea what the "industry standard" radius would be. I told him I'd love one that had a 72" radius... zeroing in on a object six feet away... which would be exactly the same as "real" Matthews curved track, and perfect for talking heads at usual focal lengths.

I was surprised when a box arrived at our studio last week...





I actually made these as animated GIFs, but I don't think they display that way on the COW. If you want to see it in action go to these links...

http://fantasticplastic.com/slider1.gif
http://fantasticplastic.com/slider2.gif

This thing is GREAT... solid as a rock... all routed out of one solid piece of aluminum... perfect 72" radius... curved and straight sides (just flip it over)... and a carriage that is ROCK solid. I think this is just a prototype, but man is it nice. It has 3/8 and 1/4 tripod receivers all over it on both sides, bubble levels here and there, locking legs that work great. I've only used it on one shoot so far but it worked like a champ.



It's also the only inexpensive "prosumer grade/priced" slider I've ever used that will carry my 11lb camera and 10lb head with absolutely no wiggle or wobble... solid solid.







I don't think they even have it for sale on their website yet ( http://promediagear.com ) but when they do I HEARTILY recommend it (they seem to have other models listed, but not the 72" radius one yet). They are going to sell the 72" radius version (32" long) with a case for about $570, I think. Dirt cheap, if you ask me... especially for what you get.

Again, I have NO interest in it... but they were so cool and receptive about taking my suggestions (and churning out something great) that I wanted to pass it along.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark SuszkoRe: New AWESOME piece of equipment
by on Aug 1, 2014 at 7:08:43 pm

Proud that they are from my state. We do a lot of quality machining in Illinois: a set of custom made gears from Illinois are part of the drive system on the Mars Curiosity Rover.

Tinley Park is a Chicago suburb, publicly more known for a large concert venue. Zacuto is here, too; they make or sell a heck of a lot of accessory hardware as well.


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Rick WiseRe: New AWESOME piece of equipment
by on Aug 1, 2014 at 7:36:16 pm

Great! Thanks, Todd.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Todd TerryRe: New AWESOME piece of equipment
by on Aug 1, 2014 at 8:15:15 pm

Turns out they ARE selling it now and it IS on their website...

http://www.promediagear.com/PMG-DUO-32-Inch-Video-Slider-Carrying-Case_p_17...

My numbers weren't exactly right, but in the ballpark... they sell it for $600.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Jason JenkinsRe: New AWESOME piece of equipment
by on Aug 3, 2014 at 12:54:49 am
Last Edited By Jason Jenkins on Aug 3, 2014 at 1:02:16 am

I saw the pro media gear curved slider too, and seriously considered it. Then I saw this. I should have one, with both the action and target modules, in two weeks.



Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Todd TerryRe: New AWESOME piece of equipment
by on Aug 3, 2014 at 2:54:01 am
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Aug 3, 2014 at 3:00:44 am

Yeah I've been a fan of the Edelkrone's slider design for quite a long time, pretty innovative.

Before ProMedia brought out the curved slider we were seriously considering Edelkrone... wicked cool design, looks well made, and I thought their prices were unbelievably low. At that time though they weren't offering their "heavy duty" version (catering more to the DSLR crowd) and I was a bit afraid that my usual camera setup would be overweight for it, so we were also considering the "Parallax" system for Kessler Sliders... it pans like the Edelkrone but does it purely mechanically rather than electronically, and can take a lot more weight.

But really they're two completely different tools though and do different things. The Edelkrone (and Kessler) will help you follow-pan, but that was never an issue for us. Our biggest problem is that (depending on the circumstances) I like to shoot wide-open a lot and sometimes that means DoFs as shallow as an inch or so. With a straight slider like the Edelkrone (or any other linear slider) a razor sharp focus at the center point can be quite soft with the camera at either end because, obviously, the camera is farther away from the subject... the only way to combat that (without pulling focus) is to keep the distance the same with curved track (or now, a curved slider).

The Edelkrone is very cool though, and I still might give it a try for other applications. I don't own any of their gear but they have some neat stuff... most of it is QUITE inexpensive too and looks to be well made. They used to have (guess they still do) some follow-focus gear that I wouldn't mind trying out.

I always wondered where the company was because they take great pains on their website NOT to say where they are, other than "European," no locators in their contact info at all... and the dude who is always in their videos has a very indeterminate accent. I did a WHOIS search on their domain name though and it was, if I recall, registered in Turkey.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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David HowardRe: New AWESOME piece of equipment
by on Aug 4, 2014 at 7:28:00 am

That looks so funny. Can do people actually use there in production ?

Redefined Media

Video Production Sydney


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Todd TerryRe: New AWESOME piece of equipment
by on Aug 4, 2014 at 2:29:26 pm

Little confused... what's funny about it?

And... yes.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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