Just a couple of days ago I considered the merits of the DIY slider versus the bevy of semi- and professional mini-dolly options. Well now I've stumbled upon a product that could very well be a step up from the other sliders out there -- the Rhino Slider. This little beast is currently campaigning on Kickstarter with only a few days to go. And like most successful campaigns, it starts at a retail discount with many optional add-on's. Click through for the details and a few videos, including one that features space flight (I wasn't kidding), and one that will have you throwing money at your computer monitor faster than you can say Futurama:
Pretty solid quality for a Kickstarter video, right? Well with experience comes expertise. The Rhino Slider comes from Rhino Camera Gear, a successful company that launched their first product, the EZ Steady (now called the Rhino Steady), on the fundraising platform last December. As the video mentions, they consider the core of their business to be the Kickstarter backer.
According the the Kickstarter page, the inspiration for the Rhino Slider came as follows:
During the final development of the Rhino Steady came the idea for the Rhino Slider while looking at how dishwasher tracks rolled. We drew our idea up in CAD, 3D printed it and the first prototype actually worked perfectly. Since then, we've refined it to you what you see today.
I've got to hand it to them -- the only idea I've ever been able to come up with from dishwasher tracks is... well, that I need a new dishwasher.
The Rhino Slider was designed not only with DSLR's in mind, but also the RED EPIC/Scarlet. The standard Rhino Slider is rated for 7lbs of weight, the Rhino Slider Carbon is rated for 10lbs, and the Rhino Slider PRO version is weight rated for up to 35lbs. They clearly designed this thing with ease of use and versatility in mind. It's fully collapsible with no tools required, and has several options for operation, including:
- Resting with the poseable all-terrain rubber feet.
- Attaching to flat surfaces with the optional suction cups (making it car-mountable).
- By either standard push/pull or with a pulley system (optional at only $35)
- Using a single tripod on one side underneath for a tilted jib-up effect.
- Using a single tripod on the right angle for straight up-and-down jib effect.
- Using a single tripod in the middle (with the "pro" upgrade plate).
- Using two tripods on both ends.
Of all those choices, I have to say that the standard two tripod method is my preference for stability, but I love having those options. I must admit I tend to avoid vertical pseudo-jibs with sliders due to how solid they feel, but the videos have me convinced this may not be an issue with the Rhino. They make a point of mentioning both in the video and on the page that the Rhino Slider is 48" long, and is "a real treat." I agree that the extra length compared to other sliders is a huge boon. There are certainly times when I have opted for a slider vs a dolly shot, and this is, to me, about the right range. I'm also into how durable this thing is. But you, the intrepid reader, are of course asking how would I know that it is durable, right? I know because that durability has been tested... by sending it to space:
They explain in the video that it this test actually did serve a purpose for durability and build... Look that's all great, and Imma let them finish, but that's the best equipment weather balloon drop OF ALL TIME. And it took a jagged rock to smite it. I share in their zeal of the last GoPro holding on for dear life.
If you decide to back on Kickstarter, you're going to get a discounted deal on price. The stainless steel Rhino Slider model starts at a $350 pledge, followed by the Rhino Slider Carbon model at a $425 pledge, and lastly the Rhino Slider PRO model coming in at a $475 pledge. That version also has the nice center mount plate for using only one tripod, if that's your thing. This product is also future-proofed in a way, as they are developing ways to make infinite track extensions, as well as a motor for time-lapse. If you back the project now, you should see your slider coming just before Christmas according to the campaign page.
There's another valuable perk I want to point out that's unrelated to the actual slider purchase, but still incredibly valuable. For $75 extra, they will give you access to their design process:
We have a reward available that will give you a ~30min video and PDF that will teach you everything I know. If you have an interest in getting into product design or think you ever will, get this.
I've had a few product ideas in the past, and outside of late-night "you can be an inventor too!" commercials, I've never had access to a plain tutorial on how to develop and design a product. I find this level of full disclosure classy and incredibly attractive to the deal. I'm not sure a lot of companies out there would fully open up their process to the world for so cheap a price.
Ultimately, I tend to find myself a fan of independent companies making the most out of the Kickstarter platform. There really are some great products out there, and it's an exciting time to be an indie filmmaker. I would like to note that the one point of the video I'm not entirely seeing eye-to-eye with is the claim that you can't get good results out of a friction based slider, but hey -- I'll take a ball bearings based slider to a friction based any day. The price point seems just right for this type of rig, as many like it (that could effectively handle the weight) would be in the $1k to $2k range or higher.
Do we have any Rhino Slider backers out there? How do you plan to use this product?
Disclosure: Rhino Camera Gear is a No Film School advertiser.