Tested: ProMediaGear Duo 36″ Slider with motor control
See what we thought of this innovative slider offering a curved and straight track in one unit.
Street price: £576/$800 for Duo Slider, £456/$550 for Motor Control
If you’re a regular Pro Moviemaker reader you’ll already be familiar with the ProMediaGear Duo Slider from our Autumn 2015 Buyers’ Guide. It won our coveted Editor’s Choice award, so this time we paired the rails with ProMediaGear’s Motor Control unit to see how the combination worked.
The slider itself boasts the accolade of being the world’s first dual action slider, with a straight track on one side and a curved track on the other, all crafted from one solid block of lightweight aircraft quality aluminium. Set-up and operation for both sides is effortless; the carriage and legs can be quickly detached or adjusted via hand screws with the latter also folding flat for transportation.
Marginally more involved is attaching the motor unit, as this requires an Allen key and a bit of a knack. Once the motor is screwed onto the carriage a spring needs to be released in order for the moving wheel to make contact with the track. There’s a very distinct direction of movement to release the spring (shown in the instruction manual) but with a bit of practice it’s a cinch. Once I knew what I was doing I could get the slider, motor and camera set-up and ready to shoot in under ten minutes which makes this my fastest slider/motor combo tested to date. Fact.
Now for the fun part. Operating the slider without the motor is incredibly smooth and surprisingly quiet. Using the motor, the noise levels increase proportionately with the speed, which is to be expected, but at the faster speeds the motor noise will be picked up by nearby sound recorders, so something to look out for. The motor unit should meet the needs of most modern filmmakers offering interval (time-lapse), loop and video modes. With our sights set on video we didn’t focus too much on the interval functionality though it does offer detailed control over time (1-300secs) and distance (0.2mm to 999cm) and in this mode your three AA batteries might last eight to ten hours.
Instead I thoroughly enjoyed testing out the Video and Loop modes, the former allowing you to move along the rail at speeds from -99 to +99 with the – sign indicating movement in the opposite direction. Video mode also enables the uphill track at an angle of up to 20° with a 2kg load; helpfully, the drive always tries to maintain the desired speed regardless of load.
If you think you’ll want to move back and forth across the rail, Loop mode is ideal, intuitively reversing the direction when it encounters resistance (the end of the rail for instance). If I were to have one gripe, it would be the slightly jerky direction change at faster speeds and minor bumps sometimes visible in the footage, but given the price they can be forgiven.
Length: 36in (also available in 24, 32 and 48in)
Weight: 2.4kg including motor components
Motor modes: Interval, Loop and Video
Pro Moviemaker Rating: 8/10
Intuitively designed with incredibly useful dual functionality and fast set-up
Pros: Two for the price of one
Cons: Jerky direction change