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Video_production_cincinnati_49 Posted on January 6, 2012

Adding camera movement to interviews

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The Kessler Cineslider and Revolution Head is a very versatile system.  Most people use this system for timelapses, but I’ve been using them mostly for live movements, and ever since I started using this motorized system, I never want to do any camera movements without it. Motorized movements are so much smoother and more precise than anything you can do by hand.  Dolly shots have become way overused in the last few years, in my opinion, but what is very difficult is a subtle dolly.  It amazes me how easy it is to create the perfect slow dolly move with this system.

One of the biggest reasons why I bought this system is to use during interviews.  Normally you wouldn’t add movement to an interview shot, as it would be distracting, but since this system can move so subtly, it really adds a unique flare to interviews.  I program the Cineslider to slowly dolly left and right, and as it dollys left, the Revolution Head pans right creating a parallax, almost 3-dimensional movement. It looks as if the background is slowly moving around the subject.  If used properly, it really grips your attention, and almost seems to emphasize everything the person is saying.  It can also be used faster, to create a more dramatic effect. I’ve seen this done on dramatic documentaries and it works quite well.

This system is actually very easy to set up.  You can program the entire move with only one Oracle Controller.  You will need a Crossover Cable to be able to use the pan function on the Revolution Head. Also, I recommend using the 100 series motor for the Cineslider, as it is the perfect speed for this application and is also very quiet. I can program the moves at home, and once I arrive for the interview, it only takes me less than 10 minutes to get setup. All I have to do is measure out the distance from the camera to the subject to stay consistent with the recorded move, return the camera to the starting position, and then press go.  Its really that easy!

UPDATE: A few people have asked me if this system would work with the Pocket Dolly, so I gave it a shot. I used the same system, including the same camera rig, which is about 11 pounds. Including the 10 pound revolution head, its definitely past the recommended weight limit of the Pocket Dolly, but I was very impressed with how well it worked! There was very little flex in the pocket dolly when center mounted using the Kessler 100mm ball mount. HOWEVER, I definitely recommend using the Cineslider over the pocket dolly for this much weight. Also, I don’t have a motor mount for the Pocket Dolly, and I know that the motors respond differently for different sliders, so I’m not sure what motor I would recommend for the Pocket Dolly.

I plan to do a follow up video using the Kessler Turntable rather than the Revolution Head. The Turntable has a lower center of gravity, so it will be more stable, and more manageable. Also, you can then add a fluid head on top of the Turntable to help with reframing.

Feel free to leave comments or questions!