Sliders and motion control go together like bangers and mash. Or perhaps peanut butter & jelly for my American friends. Unless you just want a super quick grab shot, motion control makes work with a slider go so much more smoothly (pun intended). For timelapse, some form of motion control is pretty much essential for getting even and consistent slides or other camera movements.
There’s a million options already out there from companies like Kessler and Syrp, so what makes the new Starslider so special? Well, on the surface, not much, really. It strikes me as being very similar in application to Syrp’s family of motion control & slider products. But, it does look like it can handle substantially more weight and offer easier balancing with heavy cameras setups.
What first strikes me is how easily everything seems to slot together in the video. Now I’m sure they’ve had a fair bit of practise to get used to working with it quickly, but still, I was impressed. It looks like it uses giant Arca Swiss style mounting plates for attaching components to each other. It then also uses regular sized Arca Swiss style plates for attaching the camera.
Presumably this means it will also work with Arca Swiss compatible L brackets we may already own for our cameras.
If you don’t need the full motion control pan & tilt head, and just want a regular slide, the carriage does also have a 3/8-16″ tripod screw. This means you can screw on your regular ball head if you wish.
Another thing that stuck out about the Starslider is how quickly it seems to be switchable between motor and manual drive. Just “unplug” a motor, throw on a fly wheel, and you’re good to go.
There’s a single control unit into which everything plugs. This unit takes a standard V mount battery and offers 12v, 7.2v and 5v power outs to feed your devices. So, even on a long timelapse, you can keep your monitor, camera and phone powered. There are 4 ethernet sockets for connecting to the various motors. Finally, there’s a built in intervalometer to fire your camera.
Watching the video, it seems to have no problem handling a decent load, either. The Red Dragon 6K shown above weights about 5lbs (2.26kg) on its own, not including the lens, matte box, monitor, etc. And it’s tilting while it moves up and down to keep its target central in the frame. That’s not something I’d want to risk with a lot of the motorised sliders I’ve seen.
Like Syrp’s Genie system, the rig is controlled from your phone with an app. This app allows you to tap in your settings, and also preview timelapse movements in real time. They say that it offers up to 30 different configurations, but I guess we’ll have to wait until the Kickstarter project goes live to find out what those all are.
Yes, that’s right, this is a Kickstarter project, which will undoubtedly put some people off even checking it out. But, they seem to have very real working units, and have exhibited it at maker fairs and other events. So, it does actually exist and work. Looking at the sample videos, it seems pretty capable, too.
There’s no word on price yet. So, while I may have been comparing aspects of it to the Syrp Genie ecosystem, the prices may be wildly different. It may be way under, or it may be ludicrously high. Only time will tell.
You can find out a little more about the Starslider on their website. The Kickstarter project goes live on January 11th, and you can sign up on their site to be notified. They say that those who sign up for early notification will also receive some “extraordinary content”, as well as get to see the videos before they go live.
What do you think? Does it look like a promising solution for your sliding needs? Are there other systems out there that already offer everything this does? Is it overkill and you don’t need everything the Starslider offers? What slider or motion control system do you use right now? Let us know in the comments.
Update 12th Jan, 2017 : The Kickstarter project is now live, and you can check it out here.