Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Hi-Tech Studio: Sliders
For time-lapse and motion capture, these simple devices give you a powerful tool for creating impressive projects
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
As more professional photographers make the leap into motion capture, they're discovering that DSLRs lend themselves to handholding and camera movement during a clip. That is, while anchoring the camera to a sturdy tripod and locking down the whole setup has its time and place, DSLRs give you the freedom to explore shooting in a more dynamic way, from extreme herky-jerky, rapid movement, which is trendy for some filmmakers today, to smooth motion through the use of steadying rigs.
At their most basic, sliders consist of a rail and plate to mount a tripod head. When attached, the camera can slide along the rail smoothly, creating an effect that's distinctly different from the pivot you get by panning from a single point. You can mount the slider to a tripod or a pair of tripods (depending upon the length), or you can attach outrigger-style feet to it and mount on the ground or another surface. Most sliders have some sort of a drive system (it can be standard or an option) to let you move the camera indirectly. High-quality sliders are precision devices that allow the camera to move smoothly without shudders, shakes or bounces. A slider is used for making the camera move a few feet at the most, but just that little bit of movement will change the perspective of your shot, and even a slight change in perspective often makes a big impact.
The basics of creating a time-lapse are simple. Program the camera or intervalometer to shoot X number of photographs at Y interval to generate a clip that will be Z in length. Of course, there's more to it than that. In this article, we look at sliders that, in addition to being helpful for a lot of motion shooting, are also excellent tools for adding a moving element to your time-lapse. This adds to the complexity, but time-lapses with movement stand out and get noticed. If you've never seen a time-lapse with movement, take a look at the trailers for Tom Lowe's TimeScapes (www.timescapes.org). Lowe is one of the most innovative time-lapse filmmakers in the world, and he makes extensive use of movement.
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