Being a one-man band has a lot of advantages. It also has a ton of disadvantages. Filmmaking is generally considered to be a collaborative medium and if you have ever done any shooting with a crew you know how helpful an extra set of hands can be.
Unfortunately, sometimes you are stuck doing things on your own and getting something like camera movement can be a problem unless you are planning on just faking it in post.
Or, you can get some tools to help be that extra set of hands. Filmmaker Jussi Alexander figured this out for himself and found what he thinks is the best tool for getting camera movement while shooting yourself: the Moza Slypod Pro.
The “pod” in the name might imply that this is some sort of monopod, which isn’t exactly wrong but isn’t quite right either. The SlyPod is closer to a boom pole or arm that has a motor for extending and retracting.
Moza has made a few of these devices already and the SlyPod Pro being discussed here is the latest and best version. It can extend up to 20” and is a bit faster than its predecessors. It can also be controlled by a mobile app for remote operation.
Demo shots here were actually done with the Moza app for setting everything up and starting it. Being able to position yourself and then trigger things without running back and forth should be a huge help.
The movement is a simple extension or retraction, but that can be used for so many classic camera moves.
Examples demoed in the video include the slide to reveal, overhead scan, and push in/out. All looked nice and smooth. An included mini tripod for the base of the SlyPod permits you to get easy pedestal shots as well.
You will need to prepare to get this set up properly. You’ll need a decent stand/tripod and in some cases, a counterweight will be necessary for preventing it from tipping over. You’ll need to be careful with the size of the rig you use too.
It isn’t perfect though so you will need to be careful with how you use it. In at least one shot there was some noticeable shake when it reached the maximum extension which could ruin a take.
There’s a lot more potential for this type of device and you can position it in ways to get shots you might not have been able to with normal tools. Mimicking some basic jib shots is theoretically possible with this type of device and you can add a gimbal to it as well.
Have you ever seen or tried the SlyPod? What do you think after seeing this demo?
[source: Jussi Alexander]
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