GripGear Movie Maker, The Directors Set - Electronic Camera Slider & Micro Dolly & 360° Panoramic Time Lapse System.
|Compatible Devices||Camera, Cellphone|
|Item Weight||0.91 Kilograms|
About this item
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- Read Before You Buy: Is this a toy for video geeks or a professionals tool for all Videographers. ? Super small light weight remote controlled Electronic camera slider, fits your day pack, converts to 360° Panoramic and Micro Dolly.
- For smartphone, mirrorless & action cameras up to 1.2lbs NOTE: iPhone 7, 8, and X users the main cameras Optical Image Stabilization can not be disabled, simply use the front camera when in slider mode.
- Basic camera knowledge is requiredDO NOT BUY if you do not want to learn or do not know how frame rates effect playback, great for all product shots, works horizontally, vertically and upside downy, Dolly mode or Panorama mode with remote
- Runs 2 hours on rechargeable batteries or use with USB power pack, has reinforced plastic coverings but hi tensile alloy in weight bearing joins.
- Has multiple 1/4 " threads for connecting to suction cups or tripods, Remote is directional so pointy at "glass Eye"
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READ BEFORE YOU BUY: Camera motion & time -lapse video is fun but a technical art . For Newbies a learning curve is needed .Is this an toy for video geeks or a tool used by National Geographic and other professional cameraman ? This super small, light weight, remote controlled ,electronic camera slider fits into your day pack. It converts to a 360° Panoramic mount and Dolly. Make beautiful 4k time-lapse videos with motion with any small camera. It's made of reinforced plastic but with high tensile aluminum in all critical weight bearing areas. Works with action cameras , mirrorless and smart phones. Lifts 1.2 lbs vertically. Super slow speeds are for time lapse with motion. Great for beginners who want to learn the art of camera motion motion and a fun tool for professionals. Setup and pack away is super quick. Includes 2,5 hours rechargeable battery - Operates in multiple positions including vertically or upside down. Has 1/4" threads to attach to tripod or suction cups. Track can be extended indefinitely. - No Apps or downloads arfe required. NOTE iPhone 7, 8,X users The Main camera has built-in optical stabilization that can NOT be disabled, so when in slider mode use the front camera. - This item is used by Nat Geo directors on leading productions, such as Dr.Pol. Pretty fun !! DO NOT BUY IF YOU ARE NOT SURE-WE DESTROY OUR RETURNS
Top reviews from the United States
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I'm a videographer who shoots a lot of documentary and news material for TV. I'm always looking for ways to simplify my kit without sacrificing quality, and this product was a fantastic happy medium. I could put a small mirrorless camera and lens on it and get some fantastic tracking shots with relative ease. Everything was great until one of the smallest parts on the motor broke during travel.
The motor has these two little buttons on either side that will reverse the motion of the motor, sending it back along the track once it's reached one of the keyframe clips at the end. This is a necessary function for interviews, live events, and other situations where you don't know how long you'll be shooting and need motion the entire time. Well, even when stored in a foam case, these little buttons are fragile enough to snap off with relative ease.
Big deal, right? The unit is so inexpensive compared to it's competition that I could easily just buy another motor unit from GripGear. HOWEVER, after months of trying to reach them and purchase a replacement part or replacement motor, I still haven't gotten a response from them. I've contacted them through various methods (contact form on website, Amazon seller's profile, googled their email address, etc.) and have yet to find a resolution to a VERY simple problem. The broken part is a tiny plastic peg the size of a pencil tip and a $0.01 replacement could get me back to work, but I'm completely willing to just buy another motor (I'd rather not buy the entire kit, as that would just give me a bunch of extra stuff I don't need). Either way, I would really like to see a resolution to this and hope to be able to update this review with a happy ending, but I'm not holding out much hope at this point.
Unless you need an extremely small form factor, I would make the jump to a Neewer motorized slider, or maybe something a little more robust from a company like Andoer in the same size. If you do buy this product, be extremely careful with the trigger pegs on the motor... like bubblewrap and a pelican case careful. Otherwise, be willing to buy another unit regardless of whether you're within the warranty or return window, as it's not likely you'll hear from GripGear with a solution.
Ok, so GripGear got in touch and sent me a few more motors and lengths of track free of charge, which is absolutely fantastic. They've been very helpful, but it did take a long time to get the situation rectified. They overcompensated, which was very nice, but I still do think the product needs improvement. Overall I really like this product for the form factor and power!
One caveat: When you go to use the remote... make sure you are pointing it directly at the micro USB port where the blue tooth receiver is... it is very directional... I was cussing up a storm thinking I was going to have to send it back - then they told me to do this... works like a charm... love it. And ya canna beat the price.
Top reviews from other countries
What impressed me the most is the table of speeds available,
- bearing in mind that the two connected tracks are 60cm (30cm each) or 600mm
- so looking at the slowest travel speed in slider mode (4mm/minute) that means it will complete the length (600mm) in 150 minutes, more if like me you ordered an extension (each extension is approx. 300mm).
- Of course there’s more scope with the other set-ups and speeds specially id one uses a power pack to prolong the timelapse.
- Combine all the above with an action camera that has built in time lapse shots of a good range (mine has: 2s / 3s / 5s / 10s / 20s / 30s / 60s) then the possibilities are immense
The tracks are well machined and fit together quickly without fuss. They break down into small sections that fit easily inside our small running backpacks.
The rest of the kit is made of heavy duty plastic and all fits inside a tiny 1 litre waterproof bag we use for electrical items when we're outdoors.
The motor is the key element for all three functions (tracks, 360 pano and dolly), and switching between involves no more than a few finger tightened screws. They even printed the motor speed vs track times on the sides of the track clips, so matching camera speed is super easy.
I tend to avoid complicated technical equipment - being a mountain runner I need gear that can be set up quickly to capture the moment, rather than waiting for the moment to happen. The GripGear motor couldn't be any easier or simpler to operate: +/- buttons to increase/decrease speed and </> buttons to change direction/stop/start. I can set the entire 3 tracks and motor up for a timelapse in under a minute.
The only negative we can find is the motor is a little noisy through our GoPro Hero7 Black. We tend to overdub music on nearly everything so it's not a problem for us, but for those wanting to capture audio I'd suggest maybe using an external microphone in conjunction.
The internal battery seems to perform well: takes around an hour or so to charge and runs for hours. Can be charged with USB power banks on location.
There's so much fun and creativity inside this simple kit, being able to create smooth moving video and motion timelapse at this price is 100% a game changer for all content creators.
The MM comes neatly packed in a box roughly 15 x 11 x 3". Inside all of the components (it's a modular system) are placed within a plastic moulding. It's not the best quality and, considering one of the bigger selling points of this system is its portability, it would've been nice if the box could have doubled as a carry case i.e. something along the lines of a moulded polystyrene case with a handle. That said, all pieces are neatly separated albeit a little fiddly to remove from the moulding.
The majority of the parts are made out of plastic - though it feels like a reasonably good quality plastic. The tracking rail is made from aluminium. All of the bits fit together nicely and you just attach the bits you want for the particular type of shot that you're after i.e. tracking, dolly or 360. It's great that a kit like this manages to incorporate three different types of shot, but unfortunately you can't combine them because of the way the system fits together, so it's a case of either/or i.e. you can't do a tracking shot with the 360 head attached.
I tested the tracking first (this was the function I had the problem with first time around). There are two bits of rail that connect seamlessly together using a metal joint and it feels pretty robust. The top of the track has plastic teeth onto which you slide the motor (you need to disengage the engine by pulling out a little button first). Once on you can either freely move the head back and forth on the rail using your hand or engage the motor and use one of the nine speeds. In testing the smoothness of the rail by hand I did find that the unit tended to meet friction when crossing the joint, so moving it by hand isn't really workable. However, when testing the motor at all speeds I encountered no issues with jittery footage as I had before. I was using exactly the same setup as last time - an iPhone XS Max using Filmic Pro with OIS disabled. So it looks as though the first version I had may have had a problem. This time everything worked as it should. The legs on the base of the track were still an issue though. They're made from plastic with little rubber washers in the joints which I guess are supposed to provide enough grip when you tighten the leg screws to hold the legs at an angle of your choosing. They don't work well and this part of the kit certainly needs correcting. Something with a ratchet mechanism to stop the legs from moving is required.
Next I tested the dolly, which comprises two small adjustable wheels and one big drive wheel. The same engine unit fits in the middle and connects to the big wheel. You then sit your camera on the top and can angle the small wheels to have the dolly go round tighter or wider circles. Worked a treat except for one issue - if you're filming something on a table top and angling your camera down to it the unit becomes unbalanced and tends to topple over. So it needs more counterweight. The solution is to raise whatever you're filming up a bit so that you don't need to tilt your phone. Not ideal. That said if you have a smaller phone it mightn't be so much of an issue.
The 360 head worked fine. Set your speed, set your direction and it steadily rotates your camera.
The kit comes with a remote and I have to say it's pretty poor. It only seems to work from one side of the motor and not over much distance so this is something that definitely needs improvement.
Since my original purchase I've bought another, much more expensive solution from another company. This was driven by a need for something that could also take the weight of my mirrorless camera, which the Movie Maker certainly couldn't cope with. For small cameras - GoPros and phones, it's fine though. Because there are some issues that need ironing out - the remote, the legs, the balance of the dolly - I've given the MM 3 stars which I think is fair. That said, for the price you pay and for what it can do there's really nothing much out there to compete with it, so if you need something for your lightweight camera / phone to provide smooth motion shots this is it.
I found it unstable at the top three speeds (jumpy footage). The plastic parts and the legs on the bottom of the slider wouldn't lock enough for me, so when I tried to level it or raise it slightly the weight from the camera (in my case an iphone xs max) made the legs slowly collapse. I returned my original unit.
After changing the motor unit I tried the panoramic head and the dolly. Both these require one of the two gearboxes to be mounted to the motor, one fast one slow, the rotation speed on the panoramic head was fine on both and I switched to the dolly.
I set this on a table and tried it firstly on a high speed, it worked fine and at this stage I tried the remote control. It did work but as others have said you need to hold the remote very close as it obviously as a limited receiver window for the IR signal, but really not a major concern to me.
I used the remote to slow the dolly down to speed 3, FYI 1 is the slowest 9 the highest, the unit didn't move! I had sat the unit on the box lid which was sitting a a slight incline but only about 10 degrees at the most. The motor was working but the wheel wasn't turning.
I took the dolly off and tried the motor itself, there was no resistance to turning on the outside wheel, so not sure why but as it was a brand new product which i had doubts about long term I decided to return it.
One of these wasn't there and had clearly snapped off so that when it got to the end of the track on that side it didn't know and the motor kept on turning.
Because of this I wasn't able to test the unit. I'd worry about how rugged these pins would be out in the field if one comes from the factory broken