Ben from Toronto writes:
I'm getting into real estate videography and am trying to decide whether I should purchase a slider, a gimbal, or both? There seem to be a ton of options out there with a wide range of price differences. I was hoping you could help point me in the right direction?
Ben, you're at a stage that most photographers turned videographers have been through at one time or another. It can be daunting with so many options out there so being diligent in your research can help save you time and money. I started shooting video a few years ago and have trial and errored my share of gear so I'll share some of my own experiences.
I started with a 48" manual slider from Rhino Camera Gear. It was relatively inexpensive and had a quality build. The Rhino slider helped add smooth slides to my footage but I soon realized that I needed more variation in my footage, so I picked up an Emotimo TB3 which motorized the slider and made it three-axis which allowed for more creative shots.
I recently upgraded to the Edelkrone system. The Edelkrone motorized slider (with all available modules) is the most comprehensive slider system that I'm aware of (click here for a great review). It's not cheap, but the capabilities are amazing.
Since you are just starting out, an entry-level option worth considering is the ROV motorized slider from Rhino Camera Gear. This slider is designed to be used with a smartphone so with the quality of video that phones can capture these days combined with a good wide-angle lens from Moment you could be up and running for around $500.
Tip: If you are going to purchase a slider (manual or motorized), make sure you get a very solid tripod.
I have a ZhiYun Crane V2 and although I don't use it very often, it works well. It took a bit of getting used to, but I like how it allows me to move quickly and go places that I can't with the slider. I've also heard good things about the Ronin S but can't speak about it from personal experience.
I think using a combination of gimbal and slider movements will allow you to get the most creative and compelling footage. It really boils down to how much time and budget you have for each project.
I would love for some of the more seasoned videographers in the community to speak up and share your thoughts on this topic.