The best budget motorised camera dolly?
Lets not pretend that you are here by accident. You’ve landed on this article because you are a cheapskate like me. Perhaps you are not ready to admit that that’s the case, but Google knows it and decided to serve you up a great tech bargain. If you are still in the closet about loving a bargain don’t leave, just turn the volume down, your secret is safe with me!! As we take a look at a bargain of a motorised Dolly, THE PIXAPRO SLIDEBOT!
Aj recently challenged me to get a motorised slider for under £400. I clearly won hands down. If someone told you that you could get a buttery smooth motorised slider for a hundred pounds you would think they are mental. The PiXAPRO SlideBot is a pocket-sized motorised dolly. Not exactly the slider you might have dreamed of but it enables you to achieve smooth linear shots just like a slider, but better than that, it can also arc your subject a full 360 degrees making your footage look pro especially when mixed up with a bit of speed ramping.
There is one massive compromise to The SlideBot compared to the traditional slider. It can ONLY be used on a smooth and level surface such as your table or across the floor. For me that’s no issue as I really want this as a compact solution for table top B-roll and that is where it really is perfect.
In the Box you get:
- The SlideBot Motorised Dolly
- 1x 1/4inch and 3/8inch thread adapter
- The Remote Control with battery included
- 1x Micro USB to USB Type-A Cable
- An Allen Key
- And a instruction manual
The Good Bits
This self titled “pocket friendly” slider is actually more “camera bag friendly”, you wouldn’t really want it in your pocket. The legs fold out with guides that help you set the path for the slider. With ease you can set it up for a linear slide or varying sizes of arcs depending on what you need to circle around. The tighter the legs are to the body of the slider the tighter the rotation. When placing a heavy DSLR on the slide bot you will need to adjust the legs to counterbalance the weight. This is a really easy adjustment using the allen key which you get in the box.
The remote control is simple to use from a distance of up to 6 metres. With 3 buttons, it enables you to access the 3 speed functions. You can also stop-start and change the direction of travel. The remote has a removable 20mm 3volt battery from Panasonic known as the CR20-32 which are easy to source as they are used in watches, many car key fobs and toys. The slide bot can operate for up to 6 hours on a full charge and carry a payload of 3kg. The device itself has an integral battery which is charged by USB to USB Type-A. When fully charged it will operate for up to 6 hours. Once emptied it will take 3 hours to refill. The SlideBot features a reversible 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch thread, allowing you to either mount your camera directly on to the dolly or to mount a ball-head which is pretty essential.
The Bad Bits
It’s not all good news though. There are very similar dollys available from Chinese manufacturers at a lesser spend if you are prepared to take a chance. The SlideBot does not come with a phone clamp so if you are trying to shoot with your mobile you will need to order a clamp separately. It definitely won’t replace a traditional slider, it’s no good for interview styled talking head shots as you can’t mount it on a tripod.
I appreciate most people will look at a piece of filmmaking equipment like this and think that it is for mobile phone film makers. But with a payload of up to 3kg this slider will smoothly glide a huge range of DSLR cameras.
The footage looks great when speed rammed, its so smooth there is no need for image stabilisation in post. If you are looking for an affordable way to increase the production value of your videos The PiXAPRO SlideBot is something you really must check out.