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Andy Lockwood

Glidetrack on a budget

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Quote Originally Posted by Andy Lockwood View Post
So - the Glidetrack is all very lovely - but what if you can't afford the three hundred quid plus they want for the HD version (1mtr long)

I looked into what the product is and was surprised at its simplicity. Essentialy it's a track with linear bearings on. Admittedly they've refined it with fancy feet and a tripod mount etc - but I just wanted a basic slider that'd take my Z1E with no hassle.

So - onto eBay and for less than a hundred quid I got 2 x 20mm induction hardened rails 1.2 metres long, four mounting brackets and four linear bearing blocks. Turns out I way over estimated what I'd need as the kit is way heavier than I actually needed. 12mm rails would have been more than sufficient.

Anyhoo, I bolted the mounts down to some bits of aluminium I'd got lying around, added a flat plate to the linear bearing blocks, added an old Manfrotto mount I'd long forgotton about and hey presto - results below.

The glide is silky smooth. It's a tad heavy and would need two tripods to mount it on if I don't want to use it on the ground but It's a good start I think.

Attachment 1101Attachment 1102 Attachment 1103

Again I think It proves that with just a little bit of thought you can get those 'cinematic' shots you lust after without shelling out fantastical amounts of cash on sexy gear...

As this is written - you can source the rails that I bought HERE. But I'd do a search and get maybe 12mm rails if you can.... unless you like humping heavy kit around. (The upside of mine is that is absolutely rigid - no twist at all).

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Comments

  1. vidmanners's Avatar
    Picture looks good to me, but you must have some engineering bkgnd and facilities - most folk don't and need the kit "tomorrow" - not next week.

    In most professions their Kit is expensive, because that's the only way supplierrs make a living -

    Also, I agree the 20mm is too strong/heavy, I even wonder if you nered linear bearings - sure I've seen pro-tracks that have cushioned wheels?
    I'm working on a somewhat-similar project (mine. like your is low-level), using skateboard wheels (slightly rubbery) with pairs of ballraces each. I anticipate the "trolley" being 12" sq, but it will use "universal" trolley style castors, so it can dolly in all directions, as the subject moves (well, that's the master Plan).
    I anticipate my camera will be under 1kg, = a lot less than yr Z1 all-up.

    The floor is smooth, indoors + relying on sunlight maybe some fill-in LEDs via NiCd battery pack - I will be "grip" - yea that's about it so far.....I've got the wheels and Sony Vegas Edit Suite......

    Pro-gear is Universal, so it would work in a park outdoors/ on heathland - that's when 20mm will help - but I still do wonder at linear bearings -just "how smooth" the action needs to be? Using linear bearings dictates hardened-steel of precise dimensions (=expensive) - but how much action will this see? Once the shot is done, it all goes back in the bag, doesn't it?
    A short bit of 5" railway track would do....?
    Updated 04-02-2011 at 01:05 PM by vidmanners
  2. Andy Lockwood's Avatar
    20mm is over engineered I agree - but the availability of the linear bearings and rails at the time dictated it. 10mm would possibly be ok, but then there will be some bend in it too which I really didn't want. It does increase the weight somewhat - but I've just sold one to a company that saw mine so all is good.
  3. vidmanners's Avatar
    Thanks for those details.
    I wonder, now you've used it a few times....
    Are you tracking something moving parallel to the rails, or are you "going round" a stationary object . . . as I'd like to know if/when a semi-circular track would be better.
    I know the pro-track sells curve sections for those shoots, but presumably they are wasted when parallel-tracking.
    How long is the straight travel you achieve?
    Do you think 20mm tube would suit, as it would be much lighter. I'm thinking ali, or stainless?
    Finally, if I may? I heard that a short-linear track is useful, mounted on a robust tripod, with nom. equal overhangs - what minimum tracked length is acceptable?
    (I guess "it depends" but I'm thinking 300mm either side would hardly show, -even for something as small as a cat, let's say?)
  4. Mammoth's Avatar
    I giving this a go with a very simular idea good to see that i am on the right TRACK... bom bom !!