Gear: Slider system
The ultimate slider system
A slider is a very important part of a creative filmmaking kit. It is fantastic for narratives as well as commercial work for giving life and motion to your footage and potentially increasing the production value substantially. For some work it may not be the correct tool, for example if you need to move fast and follow live action.
This kit is intended to be very compact, but it still adds some size and weight so if you need to travel very far without a car you could consider something smaller such as a flying stabilizer, although that is not a direct replacement. A slider lets you create very slow carefully controlled moves, while a flying stabilizer allows for faster moves with a lot more range and live following of action, but with less precision than a slider.
This is the system I have come up with after years of trial and error, and man it's a sweet system! You don't have to buy the entire system, just the parts that work for your uses and budget. Listed from the floor upwards...
Floor goes here - Free
Use this to ensure your equipment doesn't fall into the center of the hearth.
You may wish to hang your bag under the tripod to prevent it tipping over, although with some setups it may not be needed, especially under 100cm.
Manfrotto MPRO 535 carbon fiber tripod legs - £450
This is the most expensive part of the system, thoroughly worth the investment. It's super sturdy yet very lightweight and has a fantastic range of super low height (almost at the floor) and right up above your head, but without losing stability anywhere in that range. Strong and wide enough to hold a 150cm slider, obviously depending on how you use it.
Manfrotto 520BALL 75mm bowl adapter - £40
This connects the slider to the tripod and allows it to tilt in all directions. Just about strong enough for a 150cm slider, and certainly strong enough for use with shorter sliders with most DSLR setups.
Giottos MH-361 or MH-621 quick release system - £25
This allows all the slider system to connect to the tripod very quickly. I use a few of these in the system. The longer MH-631 may be a little better here under the slider for a bit of left/right adjustment. With the shorter one you should keep the plate centered for maximum stability.
Konova K7 or K2 slider - £100 to £350
I have used every Konova slider available (K1, K2, K3, K5 and K7) as well as many many others from various brands. The K2 is by far the best value for money. The K7 is a great high-end slider if you have the budget. The difference between them is very small. 100Cm+ if you want long slides, or 80cm if you want to fit it into a large suitcase like the Samsonite Roller Case. It's really up to personal preference. Sealing the slider from dust is a great idea, see how it's done in this video. LINK.
Konova crank kit with a custom rotating weight - £135
Be sure to ask for the softer black belt to be sent with the crank, and that your weight is made of metal (not concrete and plastic), these should have better weight distribution to prevent wobbling. This sits on the side of the slider.
Konova MSB Motor kit - £205
These are superb compact time-lapse kits and the manufacturer's 30-second setup time claim is no lie. The price is amazing for such a good system, and they are compact too so adding them to the kit won't weigh you down too much.
Another Giottos quick release - £25
This gives a very fast connection to the slider and head system. The shorter MH-621 will be better here, and it's fully compatible with the long one mentioned above.
Varavon leveling base - £60
This allows the head to be adjusted which means you can get some nice rising moves with your slider (because there's a bowl system under the slider) while keeping the head level.
Varavon 815FH fluid head - £80
One of the best fluid heads in the world. Make sure to get it with the older thicker oil.
Another Giottos quick release - £25
The head has it's own quick release system but this helps with more compatibility across all your gear. I own 4 of these, three in my slider system and one extra for a glidecam or shoulder rig. I prefer the shorter MH-621 here because it gets in the way less while it's attached to the camera.
Camera system goes here
This is useful for capturing footage. Certainly one of the recommended parts of this system. Without it you often end up with empty memory cards.