For many film productions a slider has become a standard tool beside a tripod and a jib (camera crane). While we have been using our Konova slider for over a year now on all sorts of shoots we also wanted to step it up a little. Pulling a smooth shot over a distance of 120cm can be tough especially at longer focal lengths or if you’re under pressure and you’re running out of time. A motorized slider usually solves a problem like that because it’s controlled electronically which means the speed is exactly the same over the whole distance. Konova asked us if we wanted to try the motorized version of the K5 and make and video about it. Of course we said yes.
They also provided us with the Smarthead which is a pan-and-tilt-head that can be used for realtime and timelapse shots depending on which controller is being used.
You can watch the video below:
What I wasn’t expecting when first working with the motorized version of the slider was the ability of shooting with not wide-angle lenses only. As you can see in the video I was shooting far above 50mm in many shots which I wasn’t doing before with the standard version where you manually have to pull the slider plate. There are different reasons for motorizing a slider. The most important one for me is to get a perfect smooth and extreme slow shot. Getting a fast tracking shot is easy when controlling a slider manually but slow is never easy. Especially when it comes to shooting an interview a motorized slider can be quite helpful. For smaller crews who don’t have as much camera men as cameras rolling the slider literally can do the work while you concentrate on something else.
On the picture below you can see how the whole setup looks like. Next to the slider plate is the motor with the red wheel and on top is the Smarthead M1 with the Sony RX10 mounted to it. The Smarthead is conncected to the controller (on the left side) with a LAN cable. The controller is conncected with the motor as well and of course the little power package (on the right side). The power package needs 12 AA (R6, mignon) batteries but I think you can also get a dedicated rechargeable battery (12 volt).
Combining the slider with the Smarthead M1 means that you need to plan your shot. You can support a scene when panning and tilting while the sliders moves in a certain direction but you can also destroy by random movement. I think the pan-and-tilt-head is great for shooting sports and commercial work with fast moving objects or people. Since the head can be operated pretty fast it also makes sense to put a slow motion camera on top of it. For running, skating and that sort of stuff it seems to be ideal because you can easily support the action with the moves of the slider and the Smarthead.
I was shooting a lot of stuff on the ground which resulted in getting a lot of foliage, grass and dirt on the tracks. The problem is that if the tracks are getting dirty the slider plate can’t move properly anymore. It gets stuck or the movement isn’t smooth anymore. I recommend to always carry a tissue around to be able to clean the slider. Don’t worry the cleaning only takes a few minutes and is a necessary part of owning a slider. That doesn’t have anything to do with the brand. The question is not if but when the tracks need a cleaning. 😉
Below is a picture of the K5 without the Smarthead. Instead we screwed a ball head onto the slider plate. The controller is designed in a certain way so it can be laid onto the slider tracks. No need to lay it on the floor! The built quality of the slider and the Smarthead.
We have always been careful about what gear we use and in which situation. It doesn’t matter which peace of gear you are working with – don’t overdo it – only use it when there is a reason for it.
We haven’t used the Smarthead and slider for timelapse shots yet but will certainly do that in the future. It can also be mounted on the slider jib J1 which is a combination of a traditional camera crane and a slider. There are also different slider motors available for different speeds.
Below are the prices for the different items:
$500 K5 120cm slider
$160 motorized System for K5 120cm slider
$220 Basic Controller
$700 Smarthead M1
Konova is a website sponsor. We are using their products on a daily basis and are convinced by their quality and performance otherwise we wouldn’t have teamed up with the company. We don’t get paid for our tutorials or reviews so site sponsors help us to do what we like to do and deliver the content you like to see.
Konova is the only manufacturer who is supporting us. If we make camera reviews or are reviewing other film related products we have to pay for them just like everybody else. Most of the time we are renting them and after the review is finished we return them.
Written by Moritz Janisch