Cinematography Tutorial: How You Can Use a Slider to Achieve Smooth, Cinematic Jib Shots

Using a Slider to Mimic Jib Shots
Jib shots are great, and there's no doubt that they can add massive production value. However, they can also be a tremendous pain in the ass to set up and operate, especially as a one man crew. 

Luckily, like most technical aspects of filmmaking, jib shots can be hacked. In an excellent episode of PremiumBeat's newish tutorial series, aptly titled Awesome Cinematography, filmmaker Brent Pierce shows us just how simple it can be to use a slider to capture vertically and horizontally-moving shots that would otherwise require a small jib. Also, the results of this technique look absolutely fantastic.

The main caveat to producing this effect is that it requires two fluid tripod heads in order to pull it off correctly, one of which has to be able to handle a good deal of weight. As anyone who's ever gone shopping for a new fluid head can attest to, that's not an inexpensive proposition by any means. Luckily, only one of the fluid heads needs to be a higher quality one, or at least one rated to handle high weight. Depending on the combined weight of your slider, second fluid head, and camera, you can probably get away with a head rated for between 15-20 pounds, although that could be cutting it a bit close if you own a heavier slider.

If you're interested in the other possibilities of what can be accomplished with a slider and two fluid heads (it really is a versatile combination), Brent did another tutorial a few years back that explored the concept even further. Check it out:

Have you ever hacked a slider to achieve different types of camera moves other than a slide? If so, share your tips and tricks with us down in the comments!     

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Your Comment


I've sometimes tried: set slider vertically, then slide the second fluid head to get the "boom up" shot. Another option: lift up a steadicam. But both these leave a lot of room for operator error -- they depend on how smoothly you can execute the movement. Brent's technique looks a less open to operator dodge, and more efficient. Thanks for sharing, Robert.

Still trying to work out how he got the shot above the woman's face.

By the way, has to be said -- that was a beautiful reaction when he says hi to the dog.

May 29, 2015 at 3:22PM, Edited May 29, 3:29PM

Adrian Tan

Oh God, this is classic. Back in my days my tripod was my jib, slider, and my producer.

May 29, 2015 at 8:57PM, Edited May 29, 8:57PM

Edgar More

Theres also the method where you detach one of the spreaders on the legs and leverage the cam on the two front legs using the third leg to control. Gets a dolly in/out type of effect.

Always loved this trick. Blew a directors mind once who argued we needed an 8' jib when we had a huge slider on set already. After much noise and a little giant ladder the shot was achieved.

May 31, 2015 at 10:10AM

Chris Hackett
Director, Director of Photography, Writer

Great little trick for run-gun situations where a full size jib isn't an option. Thanks for sharing.

June 2, 2015 at 10:07AM, Edited June 2, 10:07AM

Tim Ryan

Just like your previous tutorial on slider moves, this one is very useful too! Huge thanks for the tips and tricks!

June 2, 2015 at 11:26AM

Adrian Mahovics
Videographer, Maker of Camera Sliders