Although not everyone may remember it, there was a time when if you wanted to make a professional-looking film, you needed either a 16mm movie camera or something along the lines of a BetaCam. Compact professional video cameras and video-capable DSLRs have changed that, although slick-looking videos still require more than just a good camera – it helps if you have a way of performing nice camera movements, too. The Red Rocket Slider is designed to get you some of those moves, without requiring a big gear truck or a big budget.
The slider is the creation of Oregon-based film-maker Zeke Kamm, who previously brought us the Aviator Travel Jib. Like the Aviator, the Red Rocket packs down small – when disassembled, it fits in a padded bag that’s about the size of a shoebox.
As with other sliders, the device allows the camera to be pushed along while recording, for obtaining butter-smooth tracking shots. The camera (and a monitor, if desired) is mounted on a platform known as the Rocket Sled, that rolls along a set of parallel bars via four wheels made from a proprietary soft polymer.
Those bars are held in place by a set of bar ends, and a center support (if needed). The bar ends each feature bubble levels, and foldable legs to get the whole apparatus up off the ground. Users can also mount the bar ends on two tripods, if they really want some elevation.
The bars can take the form of two lengths of user-supplied electrical metallic tubing, which Kamm suggests that traveling film-makers could simply purchase in a hardware store at their destination. He does, however, offer a set of carbon fiber bars – they’re six feet (1.8 meters) long when in use, but pull apart into 24-inch (61-cm) lengths for transport. They support loads of up to 45 pounds (20.4 kg).
As he did with the successful Aviator jib (which the slider is designed to work with, incidentally), Zeke is now raising production funds for the Red Rocket on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$425 will get you the 3.5-pound (1.6-kg) Base Kit, which doesn’t include bars, when and if the funding goal is met – the estimated retail price with shipping is $525. If you want a kit with the carbon fiber bars, you’ll need to pledge $799.
Footage shot with the Red Rocket Slider can be seen in the pitch video below.