The SYRP Genie is a motor/wire driven motorized slider. This means that it uses a cable to push it forward. You can choose the length of the cable which makes it virtually endless in length. (You can even use hockey sticks to build a sling-cam)
DIYP reviewed the first Genie way back and the next iteration is nicer, more versatile and now runs on 3 Axis
We are taking a look at the Genie II 3-Axis Epic Kit which includes the: Magic Carpet carbon Slider, Genie II Linear, and Genie II Pan Tilt head.
Build quality on this kit is amazing, and there are lots of innovations. For example, how the battery is inserted, how the end brackets clip, and how the entire rig is put together.
The Genie is actually an ecosystem, you can star with the slider, add a Linear axis with the Genie Linear, and finish with a pan-tilt head. If you already own a slider, you can just buy the Linear unit and you’d get the cable holders to use for your slider.
The entire kit weighs about 4.5 kilos, and has the max load depends on slider angle and amount of tilt, but it can take up to 5kg in its “relaxed” mode and 3-4 kilos if its vertical and tilting heavily.
How the genie works
For the full system, you start with the magic carpet slider. and it has more than enough mounting options:
- You can use the endcaps “legs” to put it on the floor. Or, you could
- mount it on a tripod, and you can also
- Use two light stans on either end.
The nice thing about the magic carpet is that you can extend it “forever” by stacking more and more slider units.
The slider is extremely smooth and surprisingly light. I like the leg locking mechanism. Folded though, I wish it did not press on the cable ends. I also wish it had guides showing how much the legs rotated, to make sure all legs are even. This would make leveling the slider easier. On the other hand, there is a bubble leveler on the slider, so you can use that to make sure you are leveled.
The slider also has a small pulley on either side to assist with vertical moves. If you are doing a vertical move, you can hook a cable to the cart and add a small weight to it. This is actually a pretty clever way to take the load off the linear motor.
Once you set up the slider, you’d want to add the Genie linear. The Linear give you the first Axis – Slide. You connect a small cable spool and run it through the cable holders of the slider. The nut is kinda weird, but after a few times, you get used to it.
My only concern here is that the cables fray after a few uses. I have not used it long enough to decide if this is a real issue or just a cosmetic annoyance.
The next piece you’d want add is the pan-tilt head. This gives you total control of three axes, slide, pan, and tilt. The head slides in with a small lock and overall feels like a nice tight fit. Just like you can run solely with the Linear part, you can put the tilt-pan head on a tripod and use it without sliding.
Controlling the unit / The App
The magic happens when you connect everything with the Genie II app (Apple | Android). The app was our biggest issue with the kit, though, we used a very early version so, we know that both stability and more features are coming.
You connect to the tilt-pan head and the Linear separately, this means that you can work with each of the units individually, it also means that you can build your system up part-by-part as you go.
To start running you use of the pre-installed presets, or you can create your own. You do this by setting the start point, and the endpoint. Then you can (if you want to) add more key points. For each point, you can set the slide, pan, and tilt. Then you select video or time-lapse modes, set your shooting time, interval and play time. Lastly, you can either review the movement or hit record. The ability to “fast forward” a timelapse is critical as you can make sure that your plan works before spending a complete night on timelapsing :)
To be honest, the app did have a few glitches, but we got a very early version so we understand.
We did miss some sort of feedback on the actual genie-unit as to what it was doing (the LCD is there, it is just not very useful. I would love to see a timer to the next shot for example). Since we got an early app version, I can assume that those things will be fixed in future updates.
Genie 2 and live video
You can also use the kit for shooting live video (and the kit has taken over as our “second camera”). We just let it run in the back with an infinite loop going side to side, while keeping the pan centered.
If you plan on using the kit for interviews, you’d be fine as long as you slide and pan. The tilt motor makes a bit more noise than what we’d like to hear for video. Then again, we rarely use tilt when we shot interviews, so this is not a big issue for us.
The other thing that we were impressed with was the ability to plan a shoot and have very good repeatability, I can definitely see this being used for special effect and stop motion.
First, hats off to SYRP, the Epic 3-axis kit is not a small spend. But it is incredibly well built and it just screams quality! For $2,827.00 you’d probably have to talk with your significant other, but we can see where how this money was spent to make this a huge return on the investment.
If you can afford to buy the kit, you’d be happy with what you can produce. And if not, you probably want to buy it piece by piece, until you get a complete kit.