Description image

A Film Riot Tutorial for Building a Cheap and Functional DIY Slider

09.10.12 @ 6:29PM Tags : , , , , , , , ,

One of the most coveted DIY projects around (next to perhaps the jib) is the slider. However, DIY is usually a balance between cost savings and function, and this $10-$15 slider from Ryan Connolly at Film Riot is no different. Let’s take a look at how far you can stretch your dollar for a functional slider. Hit the jump for the tutorial:

Here are the parts used to make this slider and links to where you can find them:

A few things up front. It should be noted that Connolly admits that this build isn’t for pro productions, and that if you’re doing a paying gig you should probably opt for something from Kessler. I would also consider the slider from Cinevate, or perhaps even my personal favorite for budget sliding, the DryLin slider. There are also plenty of Kickstarter options for sliders that have appeared over the last year or so, particularly an interesting one called the Rhino Slider from Rhino Camera Gear. Still, I think this slider is solid enough to be worth a look for your independent project.

FI really like the fact that it is based on a metal pipe vs PVC. This would clearly lend itself to being a lot sturdier as the video denotes. It’s great that it’s modular, and can be adapted to put a reasonably-priced tripod head on top if you don’t want to simply go with the quick-release plate. And as you can see in the video, in the right hands you can get the results you’re looking for. I would also wager you could mount the two ends on stands or tripods for better usability (vs. just setting on top of any flat surface with the rubber feet).

My biggest critique is really just a preference choice of Connolly, which would be those silly shop rags. I mean granted, this thing isn’t going to win the slider beauty pageant award, but those rags would be a turn off on any set I could imagine being on. I would just opt for some multi-purpose WD40 or oil of some kind as mentioned. And with that, he also mentions that it isn’t the smoothest slide without the rags, but I would guess that could be due to the fact that the bars themselves were spray painted. In my own build, I’d nix spraying the rails all together, as that could cause a number of friction problems. My final critique would be that to make this usable in an independent fashion or otherwise, would be to find a way to mount each end to a tripod. A simple screw hole on each end would solve this easily.

All that said, I see this as a worthwhile weekend venture if you haven’t already ponied up for a better slider system. I’ve seen great results from other DIY solutions, after all. Have any of you had any experience with these kinds of sliders in the past?

Link: Film Riot

Disclosure: Rhino Camera Gear is a NoFilmSchool advertiser.


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 14 COMMENTS

  • Save some money and get a Konova K2.

    • Que? $200>$15….

      Happy Cinevate slider owner here! This build would really help some of my friends just dabbling into film now.

      • For someone dabbling by all means indulge. I’m a film student, so I prefer a little more functionality.

        • Yeah I agree with that statement completely, I just didn’t know what you meant by saving money by paying more… Sorry, business student here haha. Film is my other passion, just not going to school for it- looking to combine the two effectively!

  • He mentioned in another episode of FIlm Riot that someone suggested to stick furniture sliders in where the rags go. Apparently it works better.

    • (he mentions it at 0:31)

      • Oh no, no need to explain. That’s exactly what I was thinking this post needed… a fairy. : ) Yeah I imagine furniture sliders would work, but to me that almost negates the whole point? Because then that’s a slide surface on top of another.

  • I would say the same thing, save some money and buy a real slider. You’ll end up being dissatisfied pulling on rags to get smooth movement and do 2 or 3 more “save some money DIY” jobs. When you are fed up you’ll buy a real slider……


    This is my slider, it’s made out of stainless steel and aluminum. It cost me about $50, and can easily be adapted to longer lengths for not much more. Granted, I did have some of the parts, but even buying all the parts (and paying someone to machine them for you) it shouldn’t cost more than $150. I’m currently adding a stepper motor for time lapses, and a friction-control knob for the dolly part.


    This is my very easy to build slider. I don’t have tools so I can’t follow many great DIY so I decided to give it a try and make something really easy, affordable, and decent enough. Check it out if you can. I’d like to know what you guy think of it.