When it comes to purchasing camera equipment, you want to invest in the gear that will add the most value to your production. The best equipment will enable you to execute your ideas properly and efficiently.
Camera sliders and camera dollies both serve the same basic need: providing smooth camera movement. These platforms allow you to create dynamic camera movements which add interest and drama into any shot, but each system has it's own strengths. In this guide we will go over the differences and compare these indispensable film-making tools.
Smooth Tracking Shots- The slider and the dolly are equals here. They both provide smooth linear camera movement in a variety of configurations. The Revolve Slider and the Revolve Dolly can both achieve horizontal, vertical, incline, or decline camera moves. WINNER: TIE
Motorized Capability- Both of these systems are compatible with the Revolve Automated Motion motorized system. This adds precise and repeatable motorized movement to the platforms. An experienced operator may be able to perform perfectly steady movements by hand- but the motor system eliminates any user error, and makes perfect movements a reality every time. The motor system also allows ULTRA SLOW movement for timelapse! WINNER: TIE
Portability- Most of us don't shoot in a studio, meaning we need to move our gear for each and every new shoot. This makes portability an extremely important feature. The slider and the dolly are both very portable, and easy to carry on-the-go. Both platforms have a small size and light weight, and both include their own carry cases, making these system easy to bring with you whenever you need them most! WINNER: TIE
Track Length- The Revolve Dolly Wins this category due to it's versatility in track length. The Slider offers a 1 meter fixed length rail, which works wonderfully for 90% of all camera moves. But sometimes you just need an extra long camera move. The Revolve Dolly can run on a track of any length. The included rail clamps allow the user to create a track out of standard PVC or metal pipe (available at any hardware store). These pipes are generally sold in 10' lengths. The dolly was also designed alongside the Revolve Travel Tracks: an infinitely extendable aluminum track that breaks down into 2' lengths for easy travel. On top of that, the dolly can run an infinite length on any smooth surface! WINNER: DOLLY
Setup Time- Have you ever raced to a spot and set up your gear, only to miss that beautiful sunset or "golden hour" lighting by a few minutes.? We strive to make all our gear easy to set up and easy to use, but in this category, the slider has the edge. You can travel with a fully assembled camera slider. When you get to location, simply pull the slider out of the bag and start shooting. The slider includes adjustable feet so that you can set it directly on the ground at any location. It can also be quickly mounted onto a single tripod, getting you up and running in no time! The dolly and it's track are close behind, but do take a few minutes extra to set up. WINNER: SLIDER
Curved, Rotational, and 360 shots- This one's easy. The slider rail is straight, so you're not going to have any luck creating curved, rational, or 360' shots. The adjustable axles of the dolly allow it to achieve a wide range of curved or rotational shots from a slight curve, to a tight 360' circle. This works great for product shots, interview shots, and even rotational panning shots! WINNER: DOLLY
Tripod Mounting- This is a very important feature for both platforms. Tripods allow us to set up or shots an a wide variety of situations. Tripods allow us to shoot on uneven terrain, to elevate our camera to the desired height, and to create a stable footing for our shot. Both of these system have tripod mounting capability in a wide range of configurations. The slider rail has multiple mounting points all along the rail, allowing the use of 1 tripod at each end, or a single tripod at center. The dolly rail system has mounting points at both ends of the rail! WINNER: TIE (although the slider has more tripod mounting options)
We hope this guide has provided a clear comparison of Camera sliders vs Camera Dollies. Both of these platforms add magnitudes of capability to your film-making tool-set, and will help you attain the shots that would be impossible!