When Tokyo-based Australian freelance Director of Photography Matt Allard reviews a moviemaking product and rates it high, take his opinion seriously – he knows his stuff. The Al Jazeera news shooter and News | Shooter Technical Editor wrote about his experiences with Redrock Micro’s One Man Crew parabolic slider recently.
Parabolics are not an entirely new form of slider – there are several currently on the market – but Redrock Micro’s is self-contained and that makes it attractive to one-person news, documentary or indie movie shooters. And me. Gone are the days of hoping for budgets big enough for crew or camera assistant. Now the need to DIY, alone, is paramount.
For Matt’s needs, the One Man Crew looks like it is the perfect interview tool. I am currently planning my kit for a feature documentary and Redrock Micro’s award-winning parabolic slider is a serious contender while other gear I am considering right now includes Edelkrone’s SliderPlus and SliderPlus Pro with accessory modules, and EyeDirect’s Folding Mark E.
For me, direct eye contact with my interview subjects is even more essential than great, automatic B camera solutions and EyeDirect’s portable answer to documentary genius Errol Morris’ Interrotron looks very attractive indeed.
What one-person-band hardware do you consider essential for the perfect interview?
Redrock Micro One Man Crew Parabolic Slider – The Perfect Interview Tool?
From Matt Allard:
I almost always work in a one-man-band situation and that requires equipment that is easy to set up and use. As far as motion control devices go, the Redrockmicro one man crew is about as simple to operate as it gets. It is an all-in-one motorised parabolic slider – this might sound complicated, but it is essentially a slider with a curved rail that allows your camera to move back and forth while keeping your subject at the same position in the frame.
The One Man Crew can only be used as a parabolic slider – there is no way to make a straight slide with it. A motor moves the camera in one direction along the track and when it reaches the end it reverses and goes back in the opposite direction. This action is repeated for as long as you want and the idea of the setup is that you can leave your second camera running unattended for the entire duration of an interview, giving you a beautiful slow-moving cutaway shot. Better still, because the subject is kept in the same distance from the camera, it will stay in focus.
Setting up is super quick. You take it out of the bag, screw the included tripod head on, plug it into mains electricity and you are practically ready to go. All that remains to be done is to use the built-in laser guides to line up your subject – moving it closer or further away until the red dots vertically align. Normally this is fine, but the subject must be placed in a particular spot and the distance from the subject must be approximately 6 feet away for the effect to work. Occasionally I found that if I placed and framed up my ‘A’ interview camera first, it forced me to put the One Man Crew in a less than ideal position. Like everything this is a compromise and just something to be aware of when you are planning your shots. I found you could cheat a little and use the system without necessarily having the red dots line up – but it produced mixed results, working best when the range of the parabolic move was limited.
Read Matt's full writeup on News Shooter's post “Redrock Micro One Man Crew Parabolic Slider – The Perfect Interview Tool?”
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(cover photo credit: snap from News Shooter)