When To Use A Camera Slider

A camera slider is a must in your filmmaker’s tool kit. But when should you use a slider instead of a dolly or a stabiliser? Here’s Decodes favourite 6 situations where a camera slider will be your best bet:

The Establishing Shot

Add movement and your introduction to a scene will feel a lot more dynamic.
Tracking across, or toward a building or landscape with a wide lens gives the viewer a sense of movement and anticipation, The world within which this segment of the story will unfold is being established in a fluid, engaging way. Views of mountains, canyons or seascapes are all the more attractive with a subtle camera move.

The Reveal

Entice your audience by revealing a hidden object or element to them. This works particularly well when the audience are “in on” a secret that the characters are unaware of. A simple slide through a wall or behind a column could reveal a hidden assailant for example. Moving past a foreground element can help to focus the audience’s attention upon something important to the narrative. You are creating an expectation for the viewer, you’re introducing pace into your scene and the emotion will be more intense.

The Entrance

Following a subject across the frame as they enter into the scene creates anticipation for the viewer as you draw their attention to the new element on screen and ask them to focus on it. You are adding pace and movement to an otherwise static shot. You don’t need a long track range, a short 3-4ft will do the job, if the character continues to move, a simple pan will continue the fluidity.

The dramatic track in

One of the most iconic shots in cinematic history could well have been pulled off by Gordon Willis ASC with the use of a slider. The shot in which Al Pacino’s character Michael reveals his plan to assassinate a police chief. The shot does everything you could want the camera to do in order to augment the drama of the scene. Its tense, gripping and focuses your attention on this incredible character development. Using a slider is a quick way to create these shots, achievable much more quickly than setting up track. Need we say more…

The POV (point of View)

Using a slider to put an audience in a scene works extremely well when the camera demonstrates the POV of a character. This is seen most frequently when an awe inspiring location is entered, you may see the characters reaction followed by a gentle move in, perhaps to reflect them walking forwards. This allows the viewer to feel like they are actually inside the story, they are walking there. All you need is a little movement and the illusion has been created. You don’t need a huge tracking shot for this, just 3-4ft tracking on a slider will give you the results you need.

Freedom of movement

Movement adds pace to your filming and your audience will love you for it. Have you noticed that in big budget movies the camera is constantly moving? Some shots will use rigs like MoVI, Steadicam, dolly shots, etc but a lot of them are small slider moves.
Many great DOP’s such as John Seale ACS ASC have their camera rigged on a slider almost all the time so that the camera can fluidly adapt to the actors performances and positioning. It Introduces dynamism to the shots, and the audience appreciates it when they feel you are taking them with you on the journey,

Here at Decode, we have a range of sliders available to you. From lightweight DSLR sliders, to more robust ones for cameras such as Arri, RED or Sony Cinema cameras.
Our new range of heavy duty sliders are priced so that you can take advantage of movement in your shots without your budget being stretched too far. We have a solution for any camera. We would be more than happy to sit down with you and discuss your upcoming job. Give us a call on +44 2087359170 or send us an email on info@decodeuk.com

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