If you are a regular follower of MacSources, you will know that I’ve been carefully adding to my photography equipment. I like to get the best that is available because I don’t want parts to fail on me when I use and reuse them. That said, I also really appreciate cost-effective alternatives to the pricier brand name products. Over the past year, I’ve really enjoyed using a slider to add some variety and flair to the shots I use in my videos. I have an amazing professional-grade slider, but it’s a little bulky and not great for grabbing a ‘quick’ shot. So, I started looking for a more cost-effective, portable option and I found it with the Movie Maker Set from GripGear.
The Movie Maker Set is just what it sounds like — a portable, mobile movie set. It’s an electric slider that is made up of two high-grade aluminum rails, a motor assembly, which GripGear refers to as the Movie Maker, and two different mounting accessories — the 360º Mount and the Head Mount, which will accommodate smartphones. The mount will even fit larger smartphones like the iPhone 7 Plus. The electric motor runs off of 2 AAA batteries, which are included in the kit. You can also run the motor off of a USB power pack. It has 8 different speeds, but even at its highest speed it still crawls along. The Movie Maker can hold up to 550 grams of weight, but it’s meant to be used with smartphones and action cams. You can use the Movie Maker like you would any slider — vertically or horizontally — and you can even mount it to tripods using the 1/4-inch threads on the bottom of the rails.
Assembly is required, but it’s pretty straightforward. GripGear included a pretty detailed instruction page that shows not only the assembly instructions but also the details about the different pieces and parts of the kit. After using professional-grade video and photo equipment I had to remind myself that the Movie Maker Set from GripGear was not going to be what I was used to using. That said, it’s not a kid’s toy either even though it sort of looks like one when you open the box and look at the device in its plastic mold. It’s so lightweight that even handling the different pieces of the slider felt like I was putting together a kid’s toy.
Even though it feels cheap, it’s not. It’s cost efficient at $129, which is well-below professional-grade sliders. This little slider is super light weight and it works. I used it with an iPhone 7 Plus and a GoPro Hero 5 and I got decent results from it. I feel as though the variable speeds that are available aren’t very quick. Even at level 8, the slider still moves along at a snail’s pace. Now, I understand that when you are incorporating a slider shot, you don’t want to move at light speed, but something that is a little faster would be nice. You can always combat this with speeding up your shot in your video editor, but I sometimes prefer a shot to be organic and not doctored in post-production.
When I looked up others’ reviews of the Movie Maker Set, I saw that some people were complaining of a jitter or a jerk that would occur when the camera would move across the center where the rails meet. I’m not sure if they had defective units or if they somehow put it together incorrectly, but I didn’t run into an issue with the middle being jumpy at all. I captured video on two primary surfaces when I was testing it out — a smooth tabletop and my driveway, which is outdoors and a little rocky. Being that the Movie Maker is a motorized slider, you will be able to get a smooth shot when using it. You don’t have to worry about human error making a jerky movement or a shot being unsteady because the person running the slider was consistent enough with their movements. There is no way to go faster slower or jerk when using a motor unlike the times while using a manual slider.
Even though I didn’t experience the jerky movement on the rail break, but I did have an issue where I got a really wavy video that was unusable when I shot outside. It was like someone dropped an effect onto the video clip but I can assure you that wasn’t the case. When I used the GoPro Hero 5 I didn’t seem to have the same shake or wave I had when using the iPhone 7 Plus. This could be due to the size of the GoPro and how much lighter and smaller it is compared to the iPhone. Then again, this issue didn’t occur every time I shot with the iPhone.
One very important note, because the Movie Maker is designed for small phones and GoPro-style cameras you won’t be able to use your big body DSLR on this device. When I want to switch off to my Canon D70, I also switch to my Shark Slider S1. Even though I have the larger slider available for use, I do still see a use for the Movie Maker Set from GripGear. It’s great being able to quickly use my GoPro to get a shot on my desk where the bigger slider won’t fit or that trip to the zoo where you want to do something more than just handheld but don’t want to backpack a massive slider and gear.
The GripGear Movie Maker Set is a good cost-effective alternative to larger professional-grade sliders. I love that it’s motorized and that it comes with a remote control. You can place it on a tripod and let it do its thing. If you are creative, you can make some wonderful shots using it. You should just be aware that it’s not the same as the heavy duty gear you might be used to.
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