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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Smooth Operator

Try sliders to add interest to your videos

The key to making a short slider work for you is to use a wide-angle lens and put something close in the foreground. The relationship between the foreground object where the move is exaggerated and the background where the slide is barely noticeable is what gives the feeling of movement. This can be pushed even further with a reveal shot, where you slide out from something, say, a fence post, to reveal the landscape beyond.

Keeping your slider level is a must, so a good sturdy tripod leveler and panhead is a must. I like to put a small bubble level in my DSLR hot-shoe to double-check.

Using the smallest, lightest camera that will do the job also will make the job of the compact slider/tripod combination easier, because when the weight of the camera is out on one end or the other of the slider, it can exert a lot of downward pressure. I use my Nikon D5100 or Sony NEX-5N on my slider.

If you have a broad, flat surface like a table or the ground, most sliders have feet that attach at either end and can be leveled, too. This is a solid way to use a slider, but I confess, I think I've only had the opportunity to do it once or twice since wading into the video realm. Usually, my slider is on a tripod.

Another key for slides to work is to keep the movement smooth and constant. Some shooters like to pull the carriage of the slider along with a rubber band because the taut, stretched elastic absorbs the little variations in movement speed and helps you get those silky, effortless moves. Even a two-foot slide move, well composed and well executed, will make a huge difference in the production value of your final project.

So once you've learned how not to move the camera in your video storytelling, take the next step and learn to move your camera and make your movies sing.

For a schedule of Bob Krist's workshops and seminars, check his website, www.bobkrist.com, under the "Teach and Talk" heading.


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