Kessler Crane’s Motorized dolly and tripod systems now shipping!

Here is a proof that a 26″ long slider works just great for motorized timelapses! This is my first one using the Pocket Dolly Traveller,Elektra Drive and Oracle controller system.

Pocket Dolly timelapse from Kessler test on set of Red Tails from Some Like It Shot on Vimeo.

EDIT: You can read my original blog below but here is the updated info:

I am due to be making a how to video for Eric Kessler on how to use the motorized systems but my ill health has kind of put that on hold for now. In the meantime I wanted to just let you know what they have and what they all do…

First off we have the sliders themselves starting with the king of the sliders…the Cineslider. It’s big, comes is different lengths, can take your puny cameras as well as you big ones. It’s smooth as a baby’s bottom and quiet. As a slider on it’s own it’s just superb but it’s with the Elektra drive system that this baby comes into it’s own. The cineslider has a belt and gear system that runs on stainlesss steel wheels. At one end of the slider is the crank to move the slider along without touching the camera, the other end is where you can attach one of the motors. There are two motors you could use with the slider. The 200 is the general use one and the 500 is the slower one for slower timelapse. Both can be used for timelapse but the 500 operates at a slower speed so you can do longer moves, it is also noisier due to this. The 200 is a much quieter motor.

OK, so we have the motor so what else do we need? Well you need to be able to control it and that is where the Oracle control system comes in. The Oracle controls the motor for both normal movement and timelapse movement. It’s a clever beast and the analogue joystick is very nice to use.

They have also brought out a motorised pan and tilt head called the Revolution. This works for remote jib operation as well as for timelapse and is again controlled by the Oracle.

You can also put the motor on the Pocketdolly with the belt and crank, even the smaller one that I have, the traveller and it works a treat.

Also new are the feet for both the Cineslider and Pocket Dolly for operation on something other than a tripod. Very useful.

I have been using these sliders with motors now for 2 months and I can say they are absolute brilliant. Kessler Crane are also another one of those companies with incredible customer service.

You can read about the pocketdolly before and see my first attempts at using the motorized system. Much more to come as I will be shooting down in Key West next month with this gear. Should get some great stuff.

You can order by clicking here or by clicking any of the above images.

The following film I shot in the grounds of Skywalker Ranch and it contains lots of Cineslider motorized dolly timelapses and lots of pocket dolly traveller shots. Shot on the Canon 5DmkII in native 24p!!

Above Skywalker from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

ORIGINAL BLOG BELOW: For the past few weeks I have been lucky enough to have been testing out the prototype motor system for their excellent new Cineslider. I have pretty much been using it for just motorized timelapses. I have also tried it out purely in simple manual crank mode for smooth dolly shots and its utterly superb and quiet.

It is big and weighs in at 10 pounds (which is good as it doesn’t bend at either end with the weight of a camerea) but it mounts just great on a decent set on legs like my miller solo legs or something heavier with the bowl mount attachment. It can also take all cameras, from your little Rebel T2i to a camera rig weighing 80 pounds so this slider will work for all your rigs!What I have been using is the Cineslider with the new elektra drive motor and the Oracle controller combined with a battery pack. The motor I have is designed for ultra slow timelapse movements and is therefore a wee bit noisy for non timelapse moves. But there is a quieter motor coming out. Don’t forget this is all in prototype stage.

Why do I want to do motorized timelapses? Simple…a dolly move in a timelapse adds a wonderful third dimension to the shot, especially if there is something key in the foreground that can give you the parallax effect.

With the Cineslider, motor and controller set up every night I tested it out every night, working out the timings of the Oracle to get the right duration for the travel from the start to the end of the slider. Due to the software being in prototype stage and not the final software, which will essentially let you say go from the start to the end by a set period of time. My controller currently is more complicated than that where I have to tell it how much I want it to move each step, how frequently each step should be, how many times i want it to do this and at what percentage I want the motor to work at. My experiments and tests mean you won’t have to go through what I did, which is program it for what you think is a 3 hour move and find it has moved 2 inches in 3 hours or you program it for a 6 hour move and it finishes in an hour. It’s been trial and error but between myself and Eric Kessler we have worked out the formula that will make everything nice and easy for you.

The thing with timelapses are is they are quite tricky to get right and you can waste hours before you find out the shot is no good, unlike a normal video shot.

Below is one of the video diary I made with my intern Garret O’Brien at Skywalker Ranch where we tried to do a lovely sunset timelapse. I was off by about 3 hours. Bad maths by me! But eventually I worked it out to the point where I know exactly how long it will take to go from A to B! Phew! There are some of my successful timelpases at the end of the video diary.

Kessler Cineslider Review Pt1: Motorized timelapse from Some Like It Shot on Vimeo.

Even though it moves in small steps the steps are so small that it doesn’t register when taking a still so don’t worry about any blur. I had none at all.

Obviously timelapse is not the only thing it is great for. You do normal speed dolly moves which you can do live or even program into 3 memories meaning they can be repeatable. Very very useful. Check out the video below for a demo of this.

Kessler Cineslider Review part2 from Some Like It Shot on Vimeo.

As I said in the video, the motor will be a LOT quieter when you want to do this on the production model. This is all in prototype stage but works brilliantly. It also helps that Kessler Cranes are a very hands on company and want to make the best product possible, that is why I have been working with them for the past month to make it absolutely perfect before it goes on sale…which is pretty soon hopefully. The Cineslider is already available to buy and the motor/ controller are simple adds on. The Pocket Dolly with crank also will take the motor which is great news. I used the Pocket Dolly Basic and I liked it but found it too long for my tripod as it flexed on either end with the weight of the camera on it. This won’t happen with the Cineslider and it’s also why I asked Kessler to make a smaller version, they did and it’s called the “traveller” and is 25″ inches long. They make the basic without the crank and one with the crank. I recommend the Pocket Dolly with the crank as it’s definitely smoother than the non crank one and is quiet. I don’t actually use the crank on the Pocket Dolly, I do on the cineslider but due to the length of the traveller I find I go better results using it by hand, but the addition of the crank and belt system makes is smoother than the non crank one and I was able to get first takes almost every time. Really impressed with it.

Pocket Dolly Traveller

The following film I shot in the grounds of Skywalker Ranch and it contains lots of Cineslider motorized dolly timelapses and lots of pocket dolly traveller shots. Shot on the Canon 5DmkII in native 24p!!

Above Skywalker from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

The great thing about the Oracle system is it is also designed to control 2 other axis for a pan and tilt head that is coming out soon. All will be programmable via the Oracle controller or just simply controlled by the Oracle controller. This gear truly is excellent and is going to take my timelapse filmaking to the next level, and the traveller is great. Small, lightweight and performs excellently.

I am so impressed with the quality of their sliders that I have joined their affiliate program as I have such confidence in their products. I am only affiliates of products I love, like Magic Bullet, Zacuto, GoPro and Pluraleyes.

You can order from their website by clicking on the banner below…

0

You may also like

64 comments

  1. that’s so cool!!!!thats a smaller version of motion control camera. i hope the price is going to be reasonable. it would be great if they would make a curved slider.with that you can get some sweet looking shots. do you have an idea what’s the price range for the controller?. thanks

  2. See… didn’t we have this discussion a couple of months ago? Told you the CineSlider was a better choice just because of the resistance factor… Just giving you a hard time. I would have purchased my CineSlider through your affiliation if you had joined them in January. I’ll get the motor system through you though.

    Cheers!

  3. I cant wait to buy one!! When will this sucker be ready for primetime? The motion control possibilities are HUGE. Very Exciting. Side note. In the above video you mentioned that you prefer AV mode when shooting timelapse. How do you avoid flicker? I do the unsafe ‘unscrew the lens’ trick with the camera in manual mode…it works. http://vimeo.com/9771157

    1. I don’t get it. Why do you unscrew the lens if it’s already in manual? And how that helps with the flickering?

      Manual mode should already give you an unflickered footage because there’s no change in exposure. Why the need to unscrew the lens?

      1. Unscrewing the lens is a precautionary measure because even in manual mode Canon cameras always re-open to the max aperture after a picture. That’s because if you’re shooting at a high f-stop when you look through the viewfinder or at the live view it could be too dark for your eyes to see anything. As a result of the aperture being stopped down for each picture there is the chance that the aperture size might be slightly different for each picture. For stills this isn’t an issue, but if you’re making a movie, even a slight difference in aperture size between pictures will produce flicker in your movie. By unscrewing the lens slightly while it is at the required aperture setting you break the connection between the lens and the camera and prevent the camera from opening the aperture back up between photos.

        The only reason I know this is that I do stop-motion animation and have been dealing with this for a couple years now 🙂

  4. Hi Philip,

    Loved the video diary. Couple of thoughts –

    (1) Do you not cover the eyepiece when shooting timelapses?
    (2) Interesting to think of the possibilities of combining the Cineslider with an AutoMate!

    Best regards,

    Gerald.

  5. Hey, Philip! Great videoblog – Interesting to see your approach to the setup! Im curious of knowing – Which one du you prefer; The Glidetrack or the cineslider? Im ordering one of them, and im very concerned whether it can hold its weight on one tripod.. (im using the z7 with an sgblade adapter, so it weighs a bit)

    Thx!

    – Tim

  6. Hi Philip … great admirer of your work, keep it up!

    I have a Glidetrack HD and I’ve found it a little too large and unweildy. Similar to your experience with the Pocket Dolly Basic, I find it tends to flex at either end when the camera’s weight is on it.

    I was thinking about selling it and getting something smaller – have you used the Glidetrack Shooter or Glidetrack SD by any chance? Any opinions about the best length (0.5m or 1m) for portable shooting?

    Also do you know of any good alternatives to eBay for selling second hand camera gear?

    Many thanks …

  7. Just out of curiosity, Where are those places(exact GPS coordinates would be appreciated)where you leave your equipment unattended for hours?

    😉 best, Frank

  8. A beautiful piece of kit. With the motor, have you almost got, in effect, a motion-control unit for SFX work? or is the rig not engineered for that level of precision?

  9. Phil, great work..and I loved you first music video..a total classic already..

    … you mentioned somewhere your testing anamorphic lens … any news? Here you must be cropping yeah?

    Which tripod and head are you using here?

    Phil, I hope they ( whoever they are ) are paying you well..you basically revolutionised this market … Bloom: MR DSLR 😉 Thank you for all the hard work!!

  10. ALWAYS so impressed with your work. I need to grab a copy of your DVD and learn how to create the magic, at least from a technical standpoint. It is your creativity that I wish I could learn from a DVD, but that probably won’t happen.

  11. Fantastic work! Amazing timelapse! Quick question: First time you went to Skywalker Runch with Glidetrack and now you use Cineslider. I’m very interested in short versions. Besides Pocket Dolly Basic or a smaller version of it – Traveller being motorized is there any difference in quality between Glidetrack and Traveller? Thanks.

  12. Philip I’m not questioning your statement. Just want to understand.
    …”I DON’T actually USE THE CRANK on the Pocket Dolly, I do on the cineslider but due to the length of the traveller I find I go BETTER RESULTS using it BY HAND,…but the addition of the crank and belt system makes is smoother than the non crank one”. Better results by hand but smoother with crank?

  13. Hi Philip. Thanks for all your reviews. I’m now choosing a slider for my camera setup and wanna ask your opinion.
    My setup is:
    Canon 5D Mark II with Chrosziel mattebox, Arri followfocus, Marshall monitor.
    I have a tripod old and nice Sachtler Panorama 3+3 and Miller Solo ENG CF legs which i bought based on your reviews.
    I need a slider to travel with me, so around 1 meter long, pretty strong to hold the gear and with smooth movement. I don’t need a crank or any brakes, just a simple well made and well working slider. What can you recommend from your experience using different brands?
    Beforehand thankful, Nikolay.

  14. Time for prequel of” a Mr Hitler NOT happy about lack of a Canon anamorphic
    lens Yes, it got to be done a final “Downfall” prequel parody. This time he should be really really really really unhappy!! ;o-)

    .

  15. Philip!

    I am amazed at how responsive you are to your viewers. Thank you so much for your help!

    You mentioned in your review that the Pocket Dolly standard (not the traveller) experienced flex on your tripod. I have a Canon 5D and an EX1. Both sit on my Cartoni Focus DV head which rests on Miller SoloDV carbon fiber sticks. Do you think I will experience flex on that tripod setup? Was the flex a deal breaker for the standard Pocket Dolly?

    And when using the traveller, did you miss the extra length?

    Your feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  16. @PhilipBloom is there an app for that? :p … would be sick if they could create some kind of connectivity between the crane and the iphone through bluetooth …would save you bulk while working and give so many other advantages..

  17. Phil: “Even though it moves in small steps the steps are so small that it doesn’t register when taking a still so don’t worry about any blur. I had none at all.”

    This was concern of mine. Milapse has this issue which caused me to hold off and wait for the Kessler.

    Moon phase calendar
    http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/time/moon/index.htm#3

    Moon rise calculator which will tell moon rise and set in your part of the world:
    http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?obj=moon&n=55

  18. First of all let me say this is not meant to knock Kessler. I LOVE their products. I just want to use them to their fullest potential.

    I’ve recently been testing it the Kessler Revolution Head mounted on a motorized Cineslider. I’ve found that the set-up is pretty top-heavy (5D set-up) and shaky mainly due to the play of the wheels on the tracks. I don’t have a problem with time-lapse, but with some video head movements I’ve noticed some unwanted shakiness. Have you experienced this issue or heard about this or have any ideas to minimize this?

  19. You mentioned above that there are some great, but expensive Deflickr filters. I am looking for one for FCP. I looked at the CHV website at the Long Exposure filter of the Time Collection and it doesn’t seem to mention anything about Deflickr. Would you mind mentioning the “expensive” Deflickr filters that work on a Intel Mac running FCP? Thanks in advance.

  20. Hi guys,

    I have a question about the flicker thing and aperture that was mentioned in earlier posts.
    Do Nikon cameras behave in the same way?
    (I am using a 7D for stills / video, and often use my wifes old D200 on a tripod for time lapse.)

    Thanks, Matt

  21. Hi Philip,

    I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about the kesslar system, I am a cameraman for the BBC Natural History Unit, and am looking to do some motion control timelapse in remote locations (jungles, Desserts, Mangrove swamps etc) and I’m looking at the kessler system,
    How slow does it move as I would be interested in doing moves that often last for two days or more, can I program a pan tilt and track all at one time then replocate it ??? off the one controller, will it move between shutter actuations while doing timelapses ???
    The purchasing option apears a little complicated if you wish to do this sort of timelapse,
    Any advice really appreciated,
    All the best

    Mark

  22. Hi Phillip,

    Thanks for sharing all the info on these products.
    Do you think you could use the oracle and electradrive to operate a follow focus on a DSLR rig (Redrock, Cinevate)? It would be useful to have an AC pull focus in a tight spot or off a boom. It seems that you could mount it on the rig and run a shorter rubber belt up to the follow focus.
    What do you think?
    Have you tried it?

    Thanks, Giles

  23. Hi Phillip
    Just wondering how you go travelling with the batteries for pocket dolly motors.Are the 7.2 Am batts supplied by Kessler, airline safe? Do you need to special pack them for flight.I am about to do a lot of travel with your pocket dolly and I am sure I will run into drama’s at some airport with the old battery argument.Any advice on powering it without any hassle would be appreciated.
    Cheers
    Mike

  24. Great Review – the time-lapse enhancements from sliders are great! The video tests on here with the Kessler gear look brilliant. Personally, I’ve not used Kessler before – I get all my gear from http://www.fastforwardtime.co.uk. They have loads of Konova sliders in different sizes and the best thing is they’re really cheap!

Leave a Reply