Itsy Bitsy Camera Slider (for Free!)
Late last year I was kicking around the idea of a camera slider with a very short rail. While sliders can have many uses, I was interested in a short one solely used for subtle movement on wide shots. It doesn't take much length and the results can add class and production value to your project.
My last attempt was with a macro slider rail and it was an epic fail. I attached a crank for consistent movement, but the gears were so coarse that all my shots looked choppy. After permanently retireing it to the parts bin, I moved on to other projects, figuring the time just wasn't right for a cheap, easy to make, minature slider solution.
When I reviewed the Glide Gear DEV 1000 camera slider, several people pointed out that it was a polished version of the Igus DryLin slider system. That may be true (okay it is), but there is nothing wrong with buying parts, making them look good and slapping your label on it for a profit.
What I found more intriguing was the option to order a free sample of the DryLin slider, which came with a full carriage and 10" inches of rail. With no mounting holes and such a short rail length, there wasn't anything practical we could do with a sample, right? Wrong!
With only drilling and tapping three holes (see full instructions in the video), I added parts that turned this sample into a working Itsy Bitsy Slider that I had wanted all along. Not only that, but there was no cost involved (not even shipping) for these high quality parts. It seemed like a no-brainer.
Sliding the IBS was pretty easy though not quite as smooth as if all four bearings had been used. I guess it all depends what you are going for. If you want the full four-bearing carriage, you can only slide for 6" on the provided rail. If you give up two bearings, you get at least two more inches of travel. It guess it depends how hard you want to squeeze the stone.
Another perk of the IBS (that I failed to mention in the video) is portability. This gizmo is small enough to fit into a large pocket or small bag. You will have no trouble hauling this anywhere on your back, though it does require a tripod to mount. Tripod not included.
Igus slider sample
2x 1/4-20" wing nuts
3x 1/4-20" screws (1" in length)
1/4" neoprene fender washer
Manfrotto Clone quick release system
13/64" drill bit
1/4-20 metal tap
Combination alan wrench
UPDATE: Igus contacted me and explained that they have been swamped with over 1,000 requests for their free sample toolkit, which they were unprepared for. At their request, I have removed the link so they can address the demand. I plan to work with them to see if there is still some way to get these parts, hopefully at a free or minimal cost to Frugal Filmmakers.