Well it’s been a month since receiving the Cinevate Atlas 10. I am unveiling the 3rd and last configuration of the Atlas 10, the first 2 were covered in the previous blog post (Atlas 10 sneek peak and unpacking).
Picture 1 shows the Atlas 10 in it’s fully built out setup. The additions come in the form of a pulley system, additional bar and under carriage, and of course a rope.
Picture 2 shows the pulley system in detail. For obvious reasons, It is attached on the side opposite of where you would mount your vertical slide tripod plate.
Picture 3 shows the additional bar and under carriage. Take note that the under carriage has the capability to accept Cinevate’s counter balance weight box with rods attached. This will help make vertical sliding a bit less difficult when you start putting heavier cameras on the Atlas 10.
I’ve had the honor of having one of 3 prototype models out in the field and I’d like to share my experience with it in real life situations. Here’s the topics that will be covered : Noisiness, Weight, Handling, and What types of movements are available due to design.
As you can tell from the work on my blog, I shoot mostly wedding films. For me, one of the most important aspects in a slider / linear tracking system design is that it doesn’t draw too much attention to myself either be it thru noise, awkward handling, and bulk. From the start, what I love about this unit is that it is virtually silent in a real life situation. It will make a small amount of noise, but not enough to have everyone turn their heads in a quiet church to find out where it’s coming from. The fact that it also has molded ball feet lends itself well to it’s lack of noise when being moved about. The feet absorb a lot of the impact when being placed on the floor so even if I set it down in a hurry, you don’t hear a huge thud of metal like you would with other slider foot base designs. The whole assembly is “housed” in a hollow protrusion which kind of minimizes the noise being emitted. During interviews, if you’d like to do some creative sliding, the noise won’t be an issue in the overall production.
DP Slider – A tad louder than the Atlas 10 due to it not having the hollow assembly surrounding it. Not overly loud by any means but the Atlas 10 is a tad quieter, especially during the quick whip slides.
Glidetrack / Igus – By far the most quiet slider on the market. The dry lin plastic bearings are pretty much whisper quiet.
Atlas 30 - Being a bearing design, you sacrifice quietness for the stability and smoothness. Louder than I’m comfortable with in situations that call for silence.
Before I learned about the Atlas 10, I was a bit frustrated with finding a good slider solution. I try to be very mobile on the wedding day, being able to move from place to place without having a whole bunch of gear that will weigh me down but still having tools available to get a particular shot if I seem something I want to capture. The 3rd fully built out option of the Atlas 10 adds a pulley system and another rail system beneath the main body. Being that they are metal, it adds much more weight as well. I didn’t have a chance to weigh everything, but the 3rd option is tough to lug around. I didn’t use the vertical option much during a wedding as we’re doing more run and gun type of shooting with minimal setup, so I stripped it down to the 2nd option and found it was much more manageable to traverse the urban landscape with. In it’s most simplest form, it is a bit more heavier than the DP slider and about close to the weight of a glidetrack HD. I was expecting it to be much lighter but realized that there is a certain give and take. Structural rigidity plays a huge part in having a solid slide and the Atlas 10 doesn’t cut corners there.
DP slider (V-720 model) – The lightest of all the sliders by a small amount. It’s also the one with the least amount of material.
Glidetrack / Igus (HD model) – On par with the Atlas 10.
Atlas 30 - Probably the heaviest of all the sliders with exception to the fully built out Atlas 10.
We’ve come to the most important part of a slider next to it’s quietness for my criteria. If a tool is tough to bring along, we have the tendency to just leave it behind. I love my steadicam pilot, but the fact that there is a certain amount of setup time involve and bulk factor when bringing it around makes it tough to manage with a 2 man crew. Therefore I only bring it to events of the wedding day that I feel absolutely call for it. The same can be said for my slider. After retiring my Igus slider, I was contemplating purchasing the Atlas 30. I’ve used it many times when shooting with colleagues and LOVED the smooth slide it can create but the one thing I absolutely hated was how it handled. The two bar design made it difficult to just sling onto my shoulder or grip one rod and walk with it. There would always be this sort of slipping due to the smooth finish. The Atlas 10 in it’s contained design is much easier to move around with. I can slide the carriage to the end of the rail, lock it in place, then walk with it by finding the center of balance more easily than the Atlas 30 or Igus (since my model of Igus rail and carriage didn’t have a brake yet I’m sure you can fabricate one). The DP slider was pretty easy to bring around due to it’s lighter weight and slim construction so in terms of HANDLING alone, it’s probably the best of all the sliders.
DP slider (V-720 model) – Easy to move around with. No hassles.
Glidetrack / Igus – No brake system so the carriage sliding about is a bit irritating and a finger hazard. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have had that thing come barreling down the rail and pinch a finger.
Atlas 30 - Harder to move around with in a run and gun situation.
Available types of movements //
The first impression that James (from red Bicycle Media) and I got when we cracked open the case and started using the Atlas 10 was that it slid smoothly in whatever orientation that we put it in. Upside down, right side up, sideways, and vertical. This frees up many possibilities in terms of movement. Coupled with the vertical slide pulley system and the smoothness, you can focus on creating compound moves in your vertical slides as well. Here’s a short film demonstrating some of the movements, please keep in mind that this is more of a video doodle than a full out production as I had to return the Atlas 10 to Cinevate yesterday and this was shot in the short window of time I had. It is mounted on two soft chairs via the ball legs mounted upside down so keep that in mind when looking for sturdiness of shots. ;)
Comparisons (in being put in different situations rather than just on a floor or tripod) :
DP slider (V-720 model) – Due to having smaller rails + feet than the Atlas 10, I found that the DP slider isn’t as stable in different situations as the Atlas 10. This is not in relation to stabilized situations, but to being able to adapt to different situations.
Glidetrack / Igus – The carriage design of the dry lin bearings doesn’t lend itself well to being in an orientation other than right side up.
Atlas 30 - Not able to do vertical out of the box, but other types movements are no problem due to its very smooth and stable enclosed design.
From my experience and keeping budget in mind, this is the order I would rank the sliders with these key points in mind :
- Noisiness (1 being the least)
1) Glidetrack / Igus
2) Atlas 10
3) DP slider
4) Atlas 30
- Weight (1 being the lightest. Please keep in mind I did not use a scale as I did not have all the units handy. Feel free to correct me if this is not accurate and I’d be happy to fix it.)
*EDIT* I was just made aware of a light version of the Atlas 10 being made for travelers called the Atlas 10 FLT. It is going to be just as light, if not lighter, than the DP slider. More info on that as it becomes available.
1) Atlas 10 FLT & DP slider
2) Atlas 10 (option 1 & 2)
3) Glidetrack / Igus
4) Atlas 10 (option 3)
5) Atlas 30
- Handling (1 being the most easy to handle)
1) DP slider
2) Atlas 10 (option 1 & 2) + Glidetrack / Igus
3) Atlas 10 (option 3)
4) Atlas 30
- Available movements (1 being the most versatile)
1) Atlas 10
2) DP slider
3) Atlas 30
4) Glidetrack / Igus
The big question on everyone’s mind, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? I’ve been told that the starting price of the Atlas 10 will be in the ball park of $500 USD. This makes it the most inexpensive slider on the market that has vertical slide capabilities coupled with it’s great performance in sliding. Based on value and performance, I feel it’s the best slider / linear tracking system on the market (or soon to be on the market). When Dennis told me about what he was offering and for the price, I was floored. Looking at where all the other sliders on the market is priced, it’s going to get even more competitive with the introduction of the Atlas 10. I hope it will lead to more innovations from all the current (and future) slider companies as I’m looking for the best tool that suits my work. At the moment, the Atlas 10 fits every check mark with exception of the weight. If it were made of titanium alloy then I’m sure that would solve that problem but would throw affordability out the window ;).
I’m working on Dennis to be kind enough to provide my blog followers with a discount code for the Atlas 10′s initial release so if that would be something you are interested in, please leave a comment with your email address. I’d be happy to share it with you should he decide to do so. In our initial talks about kicking the idea around when I mentioned some friends already were interested in purchasing, he said it would be a limited amount. With that in mind, if I do get a code with a limited use, I’ll be handing them out on a first commented, first served basis via email, then I’ll post it up on the blog. If it’s an unlimited use code with a time expiration, I’ll just post it. For the record, I am not sponsored by Cinevate nor am I expecting any sort of kick back for units sold thru the discount code (should one be provided). As you can see from the review, I try my best to provide an unbiased comparison based on my experience with the products.
Thank you for reading and please comment if this was helpful. :)