With the amount of resources and technology that goes into the development of motorized camera controls systems, it’s no wonder that not that long ago these devices used to be predominantly reserved for high-budget productions and filmmakers with deep pockets.
Fortunately, those days are gone now as camera accessory manufacturers continue to deliver high-quality and easy to use belt-driven sliders at a more and more affordable price. Rhino, for instance, aims to bring motorized camera gear to the consumer market with the introduction of their ROV line of products: a series of motorized video sliders designed to make capturing dolly shots a much easier endeavor for filmmakers.
Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter will give us a quick rundown of the Rhino ROV Pro’s functionality and features while explaining why it’s the easiest to use motorized video slider one can currently get.
The ROV Motorized Slider comes in multiple versions to suit different filmmakers’ needs. There’s the ROV Mobile for smartphones and the ROV Pro for cameras weighing up to four pounds. In addition, there are two different slider lengths available: an 8-inch model which costs $400, and the 16-inch which is available for an additional $50. As you already might figure it out, the video above features the 8-inch ROV Pro.
The unit itself is built primarily of a sturdy piece of aluminum, accented with a few plastic components and a belt system for the slider. This harmonious blend of materials provides the user with confidence as the device is clearly meant to last hours and hours on set.
On the slider belt, you can find the camera mounting platform, which has a ball head with a proprietary quickrelease (using a ¼”-20 screw). You can, however, use your own ball head mount if you wish, however, you will need a couple screw adapters and threads to attach your own system.
The side of the slider features a power button which when tapped will indicate the amount of charge stored in the unit’s built-in battery. There’s also a USB charging port located near the power button, as well as a control cable port to adjust camera settings when shooting timelapse sequences.
One of the slider’s standout features is its incredibly simple setup procedure. To start using the ROV Pro, you’ll need to download the ROV App on your iOS device and turn on its Bluetooth function. You’ll also have to turn on the slider and access the software on your smart device. After a few seconds, the app will automatically connect with the ROV Pro, allowing you to start shooting almost instantly.
Inside of the ROV app users have access to simple features such as the duration of the camera move, the amount of ramping, and loop toggle on and off. Keep in mind, however, that if you want to manually adjust the position of your slider, you will need to use the app to control the motors – you can’t change this by hand.
As Caleb points out, the biggest issue with the ROV Pro, is its limitation to only moving left to right or vice-versa. There are no fancy features included such as the use of keyframes to pre-map camera moves, advanced timelapse modes, timeline control, etc.
Despite its limited feature set, however, the ROV Pro still performs extremely well for what little it can do. The seamless setup process, in addition to the well-crafted hardware, makes the ROV Pro a valuable asset for filmmakers who want to use a portable camera slider that’s extremely easy to operate right off the bat.