A few months ago I got an email from Rhino Camera Gear asking if I would like to beta test their new slider. I didn't really know anything about this product and I quickly forgot about it until it showed up at our office a few days ago. I had no idea that this would be one of the most impressive products I've tested in years.
I have way too many sliders. Some are too small, some are too long, some are too heavy, but most of them simply aren't smooth after a few months of use. I got my hands on the standard steel Rhino Slider a year or so ago and it quickly became my favorite. It is super small (but not too short), super light (because it's a rail system), and super smooth. In fact, I complained that it may actually be too smooth. Sliding a heavy camera feels totally frictionless.
Before I opened the new Rhino Slider Evo beta unit that they sent me, I did a quick Google search and learned that this new slider has a mount for an electric motor. Automated movement is something that I am fairly accustom to being that I own a Red Rock One Man Crew and I've used many belt-driven sliders. I don't use the automated sliders very often though because they tend to be larger, heavier, and extremely complicated.
I opened the slider first which was made of carbon fiber and was incredibly light compared to my steel slider by Rhino. The second box had just three things in it: a motor, a controller, and a power adapter. The motor slid into place and tightened with two screws and a single cable ran from the motor to the controller. Both the controller and motor were extremely robust. Some people (like me) will appreciate the incredible build quality of these parts while others will probably complain that they are way too heavy.
The controller has a scroll wheel on the front that spins with a sensation that feels like "quality." This scroll wheel is also a button itself and can be pressed in to "select" or "OK" things in the menu. There is only one other button on the controller that takes you "back" to the previous screen in the menu. The controller is magnetic and snaps perfectly to the side of the motor when not in use.
I powered on the controller, and without reading the manual I had figured out how to manually control the slider within a few seconds. Before each automated move the slider will calibrate itself, meaning that it will find the "end" of the rails. Once it does this, the carriage will never ram itself into the sides of the slider like so many other automated sliders do.
While testing it out, I noticed a battery symbol in the upper right corner of the controller similar to the one on your smartphone. I unplugged the power cable and realized that the controller itself has a battery in it! This whole system can be used without AC power! I was impressed already but after realizing that this incredibly small package was completely self-sufficient, I realized how amazing it actually was.
Obviously it has all of the standard time-lapse settings, but it presents them in such a simple and understandable way. Once you begin the time-lapse the controller will tell you what percentage complete the sequence is, how far it has moved, how much longer it has, etc.
The two features that I was most excited to see were the "loop" and "ramp" options that have made my One Man Crew obsolete.
Every year or two I am introduced to a product that is so well made that it makes an instant and lasting impression on me. The DJI Phantom was a game changer. The CamRanger worked so well it made me not want to actually use my camera. And the Rhino Slider Evo is so simple, so well made, so portable, and so powerful, I know it will completely change the way I shoot video.
If you're in the market for a motorized slider, or maybe even if your not (I wasn't), you may seriously want to consider this product. Kyle Hart, the owner of Rhino, started this company from nothing just a couple of years ago via Kickstarter and I can't believe they have come this far. They've created a product so good that I honestly can't imagine what the competition will create to try to compete with it. Head over to their Kickstarter campaign now to get early access and help bring this killer product to market.