Category Archives: Freeze Frames

Cinevate Atlas 10 – 1 month review + film

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.
01 Atlas 10 option 3
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.
02 Pulley system
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.
03 under carriage
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.

Noisiness //
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.

Comparisons :
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.

Weight //
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.

Comparisons :
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.

Handling //
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.

Comparisons :
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. :)

Thanks,
Randy

Got a new UNRELEASED Slider / Linear Tracking System! Post will be constantly updated today.

Huge Update : Scroll to the bottom for 1 of 2 reviews on the system! I’ve already linked this blog post several places so I can’t just start a new post without people asking for updates. ;)

// UPDATE : I’ve posted review 2 of 2 for those who are linked directly to this post : Cinevate Atlas 10 – 1 month in review //

I’ve been on the constant search for the “perfect” slider / linear tracking system. For those of my blog followers who aren’t familiar with filmmaking tools, it’s the piece of equipment we use to get those shots that look like we’re gliding / sliding along the ground.

THIS IS AN ADVANCED PROTOTYPE, it is not the final production model so please keep that in mind :). Some things will be changed, such as the red rope, while others are closer to their production counterparts.

I’ve actually been able to use just about every slider in the market. This post will be a review of a soon to be released slider by a company called Cinevate. They are behind some of the most revolutionary equipment in wedding and event filmmaking such as the Atlas 30 linear tracking system and the Brevis 35mm adapter. I’ll be doing an informal review (as I am NOT sponsored  by Cinevate) along with a comparison of how this new LTS stacks up against the Glidetrack / Igus slider, DP slider, and Atlas 30.

It’s just arrived in the mail so here is a sneak peak of what I have in front of me :

Atlas10

Stay tuned!  I’ll be updating this post throughout the day (and the week) as I use it.  First impressions should be up by later today!

Update #1

Here’s some photos of the more interesting parts of the new LTS.  The pending name is Atlas 10.  I shot an unpacking video that will be up by the end of today, going to do an SDE but don’t hold me to it ;).

leg systembearing system

So far just playing around with the LTS and shooting one clip, I am SUPER impressed.  The biggest complaint I have with the Atlas 30 and Dp slider is that they are TOO smooth.  The next update will show Cinevate’s GENIUS solution to the problem of not having enough friction for minute stops.

Update #2

As promised, Cinevate’s GENIUS solution to precise stopping of a slider shot, a pre-load bearing! (mentioned, not pictured)

Update #3, Video of the unpacking is up!

Update #4, 1 of 2 write ups!

Alrighty, here is the awaited writeup for the soon to be released Cinevate Atlas 10 LTS system!

This will be a two part review, the first half will focus on the basic configuration and a write up on it with pictures. The second portion will include more pictures along with a video. The comparisons to the 3 other sliders is included at the end of each point. Here we go!

Pictures 1-6 will be the visual aids for this portion.

Picture 1 shows the most simplest and basic configuration of the LTS. I’ve put a manfrotto leveling system and a 501HDV head. A few things you’ll notice right away is that everything is all black, for that sleek, sexy look (err….) and that there’s two manfrotto tripod plates attached ;). More about those later.
01 wide Basic
Comparisons :
DP slider – Machined metal look. Industrial but not as sexy.
Glidetrack / Igus – same as the DP slider
Atlas 30 – Same company so obviously same type of all black anodized type of styling. I prefer the single compact look of the Atlas 10 compared to the Atlas 30′s multi component design (rails, carriage, feet, etc.).

Picture 2 shows a close up of the leg system of the LTS. I REALLY like the fact that they integrated smaller all terrain based balls onto this setup as those sharp legs would damage all kinds of things when I would use the Atlas 30. Scratched up shoes, floors, leather car seats, you name it. I also like that you could unscrew them to help combat uneven ground, although there is only so much adjustment before it becomes unstable.
02 legs Basic
Comparisons :
DP slider – Unadjustable machine legs. No comparison.
Glidetrack / Igus – I’ve had the first version of the glidetrack and actually liked the legs compared to the DP slider. Much more area to step/push on to stabilize the rig. However, in uneven terrain, it’s still not as versatile as the Atlas 10/30 all terrain legs or the Atlas 10′s standard legs.
Atlas 30 – the standard Atlas 30 “claw” feet are very tough to work with. It will make your life easier to just purchase the all terrain version. I feel the Atlas 10 has a leg up with it having ball feet from the get go.

Picture 3 shows the brake system. Pretty simple, screw with a felt pad on the other side to avoid scratching up the nice finish on the outside of the main rail.
03 brake system
Comparisons :
DP slider – My first time out with it, I had my DP slider’s brake get a bit cocked. Unscrewing it and screwing it down got it to be realigned but I worried that if the threads on the stop ever get threaded wrong, it would fall off completely. It’s similar to the design of the Atlas 10 in which it’s just a screw but it also had some kind of “stop” at the end made of metal. Hard to tell because the unit is coated, but I’m sure it would mark things up.
Glidetrack / Igus – No brake unless you engineer your own.
Atlas 30 - I didn’t like the brake system of the Atlas 30 as it was difficult to spin with a head on the unit. If you had the HDV model of 501, it would also hit the head. You’d have to spin the head a bit to find the right sweet spot.

Picture 4 shows a feature that EVERYONE would mention as one of the biggest downsides of the Atlas 30 and made them choose the glidetrack or DP slider : SINGLE TRIPOD MOUNTING!
04 single tripod mount
Comparisons :
DP slider – Same mounting point.
Glidetrack / Igus – GT has it already, Igus DIY needs to be tapped.
Atlas 30 – Unable to single tripod mount.

Picture 5/6 show the self cleaning / wiping feature of the carriage. A big complain on the glidetrack was that it needed to be wiped down a lot to prevent sticking or jumping. I personally never had that problem as I kept my glidetrack/igus carriage a bit more loose to give me more play when sliding. These felt, lubricated, “bushings” constantly wipe and keep the rails within the assembly clean. They ARE self serviceable so if they ever in the future have to be replaced, it’s rather simple work to take it apart.
05 self cleaning06 self cleaning
Comparisons :
Dp slider – Open wheel bearing design, if there is dirt on the track, it will “crunch” while sliding. Constantly needs to be wiped down.
Glidetrack / Igus - Same thing although it has self lubricating dry-lin. Others have experienced jumping or sticking, I myself rarely do. Wiping it down helps but in a pinch when you need to NAIL a quick once in a lifetime shot, it’s tough.
Atlas 30 – Sealed bearing design. Stillmotion shot with it in a pool if I remember correctly. Unless you take the carriage off, its pretty much good to go. I’ve always had a smooth slide with this bad boy, I just dislike the way it handled when carrying around.

This is the BASIC system that you are able to purchase thru Cinevate. They have two more upgrade paths available for those who want a bit more out of their slider. This next portion covers the first upgrade path.

Pictures 7-11 will be the visual aids for this portion.

Picture 7 and 8 show the adaptation of the Atlas 30′s AWESOME all terrain system onto this slider. They are held on by a locking screw and the legs have grooves which allow you to height adjust or width adjust, depending on what you’re looking to do with the system. If you notice in picture 8, I have the standard balls on the TOP of the end cap instead of on the bottom. The reason for this will be shown later ;).
07 all terrain legs08 all terrain feet
Comparisons :
DP slider – Same points as #2
Glidetrack / Igus – Same points as #2
Atlas 30 – The Atlas 30 has it’s adjustment knobs on top where I feel they are a bit of a bother when sliding as they get in the way when trying to use the full length of the rails. The Atlas 10′s design on the side is much more appealing to me.

Picture 9 shows the Atlas 10 in it’s all terrain setup. For most of us event filmmakers, this should be enough to handle most of your sliding situations and needs.
09 all terrain system

Picture 10 shows the unique locking system that cinevate has put into place with their all terrain legs. I’ve had the LTS on uneven ground and it was as simple as loosening a few of the legs to get it to “sit” right, then adjust my manfrotto leveler to get a level slider. Quite simple and easy.
10 locking system
Comparisons :
DP slider - Same points as #2
Glidetrack / Igus – Same points as #2
Atlas 30 – Now the all terrain adjustability of the legs in the Atlas 10 varies from the Atlas 30. The Atlas 30 appears to have much more adjustments as it has the full way around the rod to grip on. The pro to that against the Atlas 10 which has to bite to the different grooves is that you have far more options. The con to that against the Atlas 10 is that it can slip. With the grooves of the Atlas 10, the legs will stay where they are at once tightened down. Throw this point out the window if you apply a lot of torque onto the Atlas 30 adjustment knob :). UPDATE / EDIT : I’ve been told that the new Atlas 30 4×4 will have the same type of legs. Sorry for any confusion!

Picture 11…..this is where it gets interesting :). VERTICAL slide capabilities. Nuff said.
11 vertical slide
Comparisons :
DP slider – The main draw of the DP slider (to me) was it’s vertical slide. Now that the Atlas 10 has it, it all comes down to price and aesthetics, provided the Atlas 10 slides just as well as the Dp Slider (and it does :) ).
Glidetrack / Igus - I’m sure you could fashion a way for it to vertical slide, but the design of the dry-lin bearings aren’t very conducive to smooth slide positions other than flat on the ground.
Atlas 30 – Same as glidetrack, with some grip gear you could probably get it to do so, but not very practical (although the bearings are very smooth).

Not pictured : PRELOAD BEARING ADJUSTMENT!

Comparisons (saved the best part for last).
Atlas 10 – The most important thing in a slider/LTS to me is precise control. I want to be able to do a quick move then stop on a dime. I don’t want to have to worry about the carriage not sliding correctly nor do I want to have to worry about overshooting my target. In the past, I’ve had to reverse a shot in order to get a smooth stop. With the Atlas 10, that is no longer needed :). As you can see from the short unpacking film I posted, it’s able to stop quite nicely after sliding a long way along the track. There is NO overshooting, it just stops. This is due to the preload bearing design from cinevate. You are able to adjust how much or how little resistance you have when sliding. If you prefer the Atlas 30′s and DP sliders free sliding design, you can have that. If you prefer the glidetrack / Igus’ small amount of friction, you can adjust for that too! For me, I prefer a happy medium. It’s really SOOOO smooth yet can stop without any negative recourse on the motion.
DP slider – Its VERY VERY Smooth as well. Too smooth. People can argue all day long about the technique on stopping it on a dime but when you don’t have time to worry about technique and you just need it to STOP, I can’t count on the DP slider. With that said, it is very smooth and gets that job done right. UPDATE / EDIT : I was contacted by Don Pham in regards to this. He alerted me to the fact that he wasn’t aware that people would want to adjust the pre-load ability of his slider and he stated that it is possible to adjust. He mentions that these instructions will now be provided with each system. Thanks Don.
Glidetrack / Igus – I’m a big fan of the glidetrack / Igus slider. I’ve had one before and had to sell it due to wanting the pegasus carbon system. I’ve tried the carbon system and didn’t like it. It rocked a bit and I really couldn’t stand it. Anyway, we ended up finding the instructions for building your own on “the other site” and used that. James (from red Bicycle Media) and I both built one. I built the equivalent of a glidetrack HD compact and he built this MONSTER 4-5 foot long slider. You’ll probably see it in the videos. For all intensive purposes, I would say that out of the 3 I’m comparing the Atlas 10 to, I would pick up the Igus and build it yourself (or Glidetrack if you’re not handy with tools) due to the cost involved. BUT, it has it’s shortcomings in that it’s not completely smooth all the time. For the price of what it costs to make one though, I would choose this hands down in terms of bang for the buck (Igus sourced parts and DIY approach).
Atlas 30 – Very smooth as well. In fact probably the most smoothest AND most stable (Atlas 10 withstanding). The biggest thing disliked was the same as the DP slider, no precise stopping ability 100% of the time. Sure you could nail it now and then, and even more often with practice, but its about being 100% duplicatable in shot creation for me, and I couldn’t achieve that with the Atlas 30.

From my experience and keeping budget in mind, this is the order I would rank the sliders with these key points in mind :
- Smoothness
1) Atlas 10 / Atlas 30
2) Dp slider
3) Glidetrack / Igus

- Portability
1) Atlas 10
2) DP slider
3) Glidetrack / Igus
4) Atlas 30

- Cost effective (bang for your buck)
1) Atlas 10 ;)
2) Igus
3) DP slider
4) Glidetrack
5) Atlas 30

- Build quality
1) Atlas 10 / Atlas 30
2) DP Slider
3) Glidetrack
4) Igus

OVERALL, if I had to choose what to buy/build RIGHT NOW :
1) Atlas 10
2) Igus (Home built)
3) Atlas 30 with all terrain legs, if no AT legs, swap places with DP slider.
4) Dp Slider
5) Glidetrack

I’m not sure if I’m able to release the cost of the unit just yet, but rest assured, that is well taken into account when it comes to the overall placing for me :). I don’t use a slider as much as I used to due to the restrictions in movement I would get with the Igus’ DIY I made and I couldn’t justify the cost of the DP slider or Atlas 30 with their small shortcomings (being too smooth of a slide). The Atlas 10 is perfect FOR ME, you may or may not agree but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Try one. I promise you’ll love it ;).

This concludes the first part of the review. Please give me a few days to put together the final portion which includes the function(s) of the “red rope” along with some other interesting uses of the product. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section, I’ll be sure to answer them!

Some of the things I’ll be covering in the future installment :
- Noisiness of the units
- Weight
- Handling when carrying it around
- What types of movements are available due to design

Thanks
Randy

A bit dry at the moment…but keep your umbrellas close!

Howdy followers of my escapades in Wedding Cinematography!

I haven’t released much work lately as I’ve been slaving crafting away at finishing a few edits.  I normally wouldn’t just post an update on “what’s new”, but Eunice nudge me to update my blog. ;)  Busy season is upon us and it’s time to get ready for a bunch of shootin’ and flyin’.   Some exciting locations ahead : Cancun, New York, Chicago, and Canada!  Going to be racking up quite a bit of flyer miles this summer/fall season!

From time to time, I team up with some of my colleagues in the wedding cinematography industry and get a chance to push the creative envelope as well as trade techniques and ideas.  I just got back from Maui shooting with a friend of mine, Angel De Armas.   Shot an awesome couple at the beautiful Sugarman Estate but unfortunately I don’t have any footage to share as it belongs to Angel.  But…..what I AM able to share is a quick screen grab from some footage of the photo session that I shot right outside of the estate :).

Enjoy!

maui wedding cinematography

Flying in Ohio

Here is a couple of shots taken when I was “flying” in Ohio. The venue was the beautiful Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. One of the nicest outdoor wedding venues I’ve shot at. Thanks to Brian Jones of iDream Media for hooking it up with the awesome stills! I had a great time shooting the wedding alongside him, a true class act and I cant recommend him enough if you’re out on that side of the country and need photography ;). Check out his site and oogle at the pretty pictures.

Here’s the photos from the wedding : Michelle and Landon