Archives For SmallHD

DW in snow with slider

David shooting lynx tracks for the BBC series “Secrets of Our Living Planet” using his homemade camera dolly and ladder for track

There are a lot of camera sliders and dollies on the market but we were happy to try out a new offering from  www.trostmotion.com

Before our Trost review, I must say I was a little skeptical when I first saw the units. I have been using a small camera dolly running on a ladder or plastic pipes (2″ white poly pipe) and have enjoyed the flexibility and ease of setting such a system in unusual places. It also lends itself to long runs (6′-16′)

The smaller size of the two Trost units seemed less useful at either one metre or 1/2 metre lenghts. Then I got to try them out in the field and my opinion changed dramatically.

Rather than retasking skate board wheels like many sliders / dollies manufacturers, Trost have decided to go with a soild rail that can either mounted on a hihat, straight onto a tripod head, or even vertically.

The rails are on the heavy side, but this is required in order to make them sturdy enough and also means camera moves are smooth and positive. The cart that travels down the rail wraps around the unit, meaning that you can tilt and pan the fluid head as usual and don’t get any unwanted motion in the slider, other that the required left/right motion used to create great reveal shots. Systems that rely on a cart running on rails, and based on a wheel system, mostly have to be kept level.

David shooting in Wales Alaska

David shooting in Wales Alaska

We have tested the units in far north Alaska in the early spring when temperatures only reach minus 20 degrees C, as well as in the tropics of Brazil while shooting a recent music video with recording artist Luisa Maita, represented by Cumbancha Music.

David and Cotton working with recording artist Luisa Maita

David and Cotton working with recording artist Luisa Maita

We both love the versatility of having a short slider directly mounted on the fluid head. Not only can you do great reveal shots by combining a pan with a slider move to come out from behind an object to reveal a subject, but if an actor / performer does not quite hit their mark, you can subtly slide the camera to make sure framing works well. Then being able to add a tilt without fear of any unwanted movement or the system falling off the rails, is the a great way to keep the camera moving. The rig can then be picked up and thrown over the shoulder, in order to move to the next location.

Cotton and David working at Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Cotton and David working at Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

There are still times when I will definitely use the long rail system I have but the new Trost sliders are a very welcome addition the travel kit. We have already strapped one to my backpack and dragged it on a 6400 mile journey through South America and are departing today with it for the Antarctic. We both agree that we are VERY impressed with the build quality and reliability, ease of transport and we are still discovering exciting new ways to use a slider that can be combined with a fluid head to create three axis of camera movement. We would recommend it to anyone in the business or anyone just shooting for fun.

Can’t wait to see what other new products Trost come up with in the future!

Now off to the airport, first stop the Falklands, then South Georgia and the Antarctic on board the NG / Lindblad Explorer to teach another digital storytelling workshop.

Here is a better view of the 100cm version for our Trost review.

trost-bottom trost-side trost-top

Technical specs for the sliders

1 rail (100cm)
1 carriage with folding 3/8″ stud
Adjustable drag speed control
2 rotating baseplates
3 quick release collars
total dimensions     40.3 x 3 x 1″
024 x 76 x 25 mm
max carriage travel     31″
79cm
weight    15 lbs     6.8kg
temperature of operation    -31°F-212°F     -35°C-100C°
head compatibility     carries any tripod head with female 3/8″ hole or another Trost slider with Trost quick release collar
support compatibility     mounts on top of any 3/8″ or 1/4″ male screw or C-Stand end, or on tabletop.

It’s an auspicious day as the National Geographic Explorer crosses the Antarctic Circle on its trip south and the National Geographic Society celebrates 125years since its creation. What better way to mark the anniversary of such a great organization.

Last night’s update from the ship via the satellite link as Cotton shoots with the help of the SmallHD DP4 viewfinder

“We are sailing through the Lemaire Channel heading for Booth Island. So happy to be on top deck shooting with my Sony A99, 16-35mm Carl Zeiss lens, with my SmallHD DP4 veiwfinder- super bright clarity, makes manual focusing a breeze. The best part of the morning was cruising through “iceberg graveyard” since once the bergs float into this area, they can no longer leave. Nice soft overcast light, really pulling out the bright blue colors. Now heading for the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station famous for collecting meteoric and ionospheric data used in ozone research.”

Photo Credit: Sisse Brimberg

For more information about SmallHD’s great product line, go to their website….

They have an exciting new range of monitors that truly allow you to see exactly what your camera is shooting as you work including the AC7

A special thanks also goes to Helly Hansen for helping the team keep warm and dry in even the most challenging of conditions!

Just back from shooting a story on walrus. Our first location was St Lawrence Island in the Bering Straits, Alaska. Its only 35miles from the Siberian coast, so you truly can see Russia from there. An amazing location and enjoyed the hospitality of the folks in the two native villages of Gambell and Savoonga.

We were accompanying biologist Holley Muraco who is the guardian of three walrus that now live in a wildlife park in CA, but originally came from Gambell as orphans. Holley was on a mission to better understand wild walrus to help take care of the three she cares for.

The team at SmallHD sent me a DP6 monitor to test while working in the harsh conditions of St Lawrence. With temperatures around 25 F and 40 mph winds, it was far from ideal shooting weather, but the DP6 never missed a beat. I was also using their own battery pack, which gave great service. I normally travel with an 8″ HD Panasonic monitor, but with the smaller form factor & superior picture quality, the SmallHD was a vast improvement. I would defintely recommend the SmallHD line to anyone from the keen amateur to professional. They have a wide range of projects that cover shooting with your DSLR or a full blown feature film camera, all at very competitive pricing.

After Alaska we spent two days shooting with the captive walrus down in CA. It turns out they are quite the film stars. They appeared in the movie ’50 First Dates’ with their co-stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, but most impressive…. provided the roaring sound of the T-Rex in ‘Jurassic Park’.

The walrus were fascinated by the camera and the image on the monitor…. it seems even they were impressed by the DP6.

The even better news is that SmallHD have just brought out two improved versions, the AC7 & the DP7 Pro, hard to believe, but with an even greater contrast range and better color reproduction, I look forward to trying the new models.

Follow SmallHD’s news stories at their Facebook feed or at their website

Contributor- David Wright