Last week we took delivery of our third Cinevate Atlas 10 35″ slider dolly, ordered from CVP. Over the past few years we have tried out many different sliders including the Glidetrack HD and the Kessler Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly. The Cinevate is my favourite as it is light (the FLT version at least), simple, reliable and well-engineered.
As a small business owner, I always look for kit which is not going to require a lot of special nursing or repairs. Our gear gets used by lots of different crew, so it has to be straightforward to operate without any unnecessary features. Its important too that it can be easily transported and set-up on location. Therefore to accompany the new slider we invested in the Kwik Release plate system from Kessler and some Arrow Cases from Miller that can fit the slider and a tripod in together.
Our cinematographer Tom had the pleasure of Christening the new slider on a wedding last Friday at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. Our set up (as you can see from the picture above) was to have the slider centre mounted on our Miller Compass 12 tripod with the Kessler Kwik Release system. The slider has a Manfrotto 701 head on it, again with the Kessler Kwik Release system. For establishing shots (externals), we tend to use a Canon 5D Mkiii with a Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 prime lens and a Zacuto EVF.
Its taken us a while to configure our gear like this for maximum efficiency. Our set-up needed to be flexible for the different projects we do as well as individual crew’s style of working. I am happy to say that we have got there and this third slider reflects our confidence. I think in our business you always need to try stuff out before committing to it, but in reality that often means buying it before you are absolutely sure. I take the view that you can always sell a piece of kit again if its not ideal – and I shall be doing just that with the standard Atlas 10 (non FLT) we have, which I find too heavy.
Overall I’d say bang for your ‘screen’ buck, this slider dolly is the best piece of grip equipment we’ve ever bought. It gets used every Cinematic style film we make and adds definite production value to any wedding film. In the example below it is used 9 times in the opening 10 shots. Just a word of caution though – it is much easier to use the slider on static subjects like the church interiors than moving subjects like the bride getting out of her car! There again if it wasn’t a challenge, it wouldn’t be interesting!
Andrew Cussens is the Director of Bloomsbury Films. For more information about wedding & event filming skills, please check out the Bloomsbury Films Academy.