How To Build A Butter-Smooth Video Slider

You know those shots where a camera is pointing at an out of focus object and then it slowly goes into focus. Sometimes this is done by focus racking (or focus pulling) but sometimes it’s done by actually moving the camera until the object gets inside the depth of field.

The secret to doing it right with camera movement is to get the movement really (REALLY!) smooth. You can probably do it with a table dolly, but to get a really smooth movement you need to use something with bearings. Luckily, there is another industry that uses sliders with bearings – the furniture industry.

Photographer Romero Dominguez shares a pretty nice hack on how to build a slider with a couple of drawers sliding guide rails and a few scraps of metal. Depending on your needed length, those starts as little as $15.

The tutorial breaks the slider into three parts:

Bracket:

Video like a pro - how to make an awesome DIY focus slider

Slider:

Video like a pro - how to make an awesome DIY focus slider

and Stand

Video like a pro - how to make an awesome DIY focus slider

and I estimate the build to be around 5-10 minutes sans the trip to home depot for the part.

Head over to In Mg Bag for the full tutorial.

  • Expired Film

    Ah… DSLR video, with all it’s ‘cool production value’ toys and accessories. I remember in the old days ( Super 8, yes it was a serious medium ) we’d ‘borrow’ wheelchairs from the local hospital to use for dolly shots!

  • Marcus Wolschon

    That’s not smooth at all and the slider would be loud as hell, ruining the audio recording (more important then the image) .

    • Romero Dominguez

      The movement is very smooth and without any noise! ;)

      • TomND

        Nope. Marcus is right. That example footage is terribly jerky. Almost unwatchable.

  • Feroz Khan

    Terribly sorry mate. It might be a cost effective solution, but that
    video is far from smooth. Either the slider or the technique has to be
    changed here. It was too jerky, and the flaws are magnified when you’re
    so close to the subject. I’m sure it’s something that can probably be
    improved upon, but whatever you’ve used in the video isn’t smooth enough