Whether you're a get-in-get-out filmmaker, or just someone who doesn't want to lug around a big, awkward piece of gear, having portable tools is a definite boon on any project, which is why RigWheel's new rail system, PortaRail, which will be showcased at NAB, is such welcomed addition to their indie-focused line of motion and mounting products. These collapsible, DIY rails aim at offering an affordable camera movement solution that will allow you to set up, tear down, pack up, and go.
A while back, RigWheels came out with their dolly wheels that were geared at cutting down cost, upping portability and flexibility, and allowing users to add different components to their systems easily. Their PortaRail system is no different. Here's a bit from the product description:
Our new PortaRail collapsible camera slider rail now available. Sections are 40″ (1 meter) long and can be screwed together seamlessly via the threaded connectors. These rails are constructed from high grade 6061 aluminum which is much stronger than the architectural aluminum that is sometimes used for similar applications. The stronger material provides much more rigidity which means a more solid system with very little flex. At 80″ the camera slider rails have less than 1/8″ of flex with a 40 pound load placed at the center.
The most attractive thing about the PortaRail is that it's collapsible, allowing for easy transport. As stated above, each rail is 40" (3.3') long, which is means that these things could easily fit inside your car if you're traveling, or inside a closet (or wherever) for storage along with the rest of your gear. But, if you're concerned about getting that long tracking shot, you can add as many PortaRails as you need for the job by using RigWheel connectors. You can even use RigWheel rail brackets for a suspended dolly system.
Check out this video to find out how PortaRail works.
Here's a video that demonstrates the rail brackets.
RigWheel offers their PortaRail system with several kit combinations. The least expensive is a 4-rail system with 2 connectors that will cost you $499, but if you've got more cash to invest, $1099 will get you an 8-rail system with 6 connectors and 18" rail brackets (that's a 13' suspended dolly system). If you want to add just a little bit more length, you can buy each component à la carte as well (a single rail costs $125, connectors are $30).
Links: PortaRail Kits -- RigWheels
Disclosure: RigWheels is a No Film School advertiser.