Since the time I have gotten my hands on the Revolve motorized camera slider I have never been more serious about shooting timelapses. Motion adds a whole other dimension to a timelapse. The slider has been used with my Sony A6000 and my Alpine Labs Radian motion device.
In the Box
- 36″ Camera Slider
- RAM motor controller
- Standard 5rpm motor w/ pulley
- RAM universal slider mounts
- 6′ of timing belt
- ‘AA’ Battery pack (fits inside controller)
- Necessary cables, tools, and hardware.
- Padded carry bag
I have the RAM Motorized Slider bundle and two extra motors. You absolutely have to get a ball head to use it. Thankfully, it comes with a few 1/4″ to 3/8″ adapters for tripods or tripod heads. The instructions were easy to follow and it was up and running within fifteen minutes. It takes five minutes to assemble once you have gotten a hang of it. I usually leave it assembled and carry it in a light stand bag. It is a hassle to completely disassemble it just to fit the parts into the included bags.
It is a solid hunk of aluminum. There is no way that the slider will get damaged, even with a lot of abuse. I really appreciate the number of tripod mounts on the slider. It has three 3/8″ threads (center and ends) and nine 1/4″ threads (center, mid-sections, and ends). Four of the 1/4″ threads are used for the adjustable feet and the timing belt clamps.
The dolly is pretty smooth, but has a lot of slack. It uses plastic sleeves instead of ball-bearings to slide across the rail. Tightening the friction knobs eliminates the slack in the dolly, but do not over tighten it because the motor will have a hard time. You can mount a tripod head directly on the dolly and manually slide it for video. The same mount is used to attach the motor system.
The Other Parts
The timing belt is made out of high-quality rubber. The rubber has not been damaged even after all the times I left the motor running past the slider’s limits. The timing belt clamps screw onto each end of the slider. They should have made the clamping piece steel because the aluminum bends when you tighten the belt on. The slider’s feet are adjustable and are made out of aluminum. I was surprised that the kit included adjustable feet at this price. They are sturdy and are perfect for getting low-angles shots. The parts for the motor are made out of aluminum and do what they are supposed to well.
The Motor Controller
The controller houses a battery compartment and the controller for the motor. It is very simple to use; the knob controls the motor speed and the switch controls the direction. This is however not a shoot-move-shoot controller. The motor moves continuously throughout the timelapse. This will make long shutter speeds more problematic to work with. A continuous controller increases the affordability and simplicity of the system. I was very disappointed with the quality of the wire coming from the battery compartment. The rubber casing was cut short and the remaining wire was wrapped with electrical tape. This probably does not matter much, but really bothered me. The compartment holds eight ‘AA’ batteries and will last a pretty decent amount of time. I used the slider for at least ten shots and the batteries were barely drained!
Spend some time to find a good composition! I have done many shots with the slider where I thought it would be cool to have movement, but ended up having bad compositions. The Revolve slider is simply awesome to use for timelapses. You kind of have to guess the speed the motor will go at with the set knob position, but after a few times, you will remember the speeds. Pay close attention to the speed of the motor and the shutter speed of the camera. The motor will be moving the camera continuously throughout the whole timelapse. The standard motor is my go to motor for all my daytime timelapses. It can move across the slider as fast as 4 minutes or as slow as 18 minutes. At half speed I can set my camera’s shutter speed up to a fourth of a second. The slow motor works great for night timelapses. Take a test shot to see if there is any motion blur. The fast motor works great for video work, but I wish it was just a bit faster.
I recommend using two tripods if you want to elevate the slider. The motors will carry a good load, even with vertical setups. The timing belt should have little slack because you do not want the pulley to skip gears and ruin your timelapse (I already made that mistake). Make sure you lock everything tight because the slider will put more stress on the tripod than your normal setup. The first time I used the slider, I only used one tripod. I didn’t lock my ball head tight enough and as a result, the slider tilted as the camera moved to the other side. Lugging the slider along with all my other gear around for a mile was not fun. Get a proper bag if you are going to carry it long distances.
The Revolve Motorized Camera slider is an affordable and easy way to add another dimension to your timelapses. I love this thing and think it is the best option for the price! It has its quirks, but nothing that reduces its ability to create stunning timelapses.