Review: Glidetrack Shooter

Two weeks ago I got myself the Glidetrack Shooter, a camera slider for small camcorders and video DSLR. As additional bonus the Glidetrack Shooter can also be used as a shoulder support. It ships as SD and HD version at 0.5m to 1m lengths. Compared to SD, the HD version has a wider support feet so that it can support larger cameras or long lenses. I chose the smallest 0.5m SD version as I am mostly using short lenses on my D300S and my HD camcorder is also very compact. The 0.5m also seemed to be most suitable for traveling.

Glidetrack Shooter

The Glidetrack allows you to make smooth dolly or truck moves. In contrast to pans, tilts or zoom, the camera is actually moving, which is like taking the viewer on a physical ride and give the video are more natural and organic feeling. The dolly move is a movement towards or away from the subject without changing the focal length of the lens (combining a dolly move with a zoom is of course also possible). A move in can be used to combine a wide shot of a scene with a tighter shot and to focus the viewer’s attention to the subject in dynamic way. The truck move (also referred to as a tracking shot) is a sideways (left or right) movement. By changing the viewpoint it can give the viewer a better experience of the three-dimensional space of the scene or slowly reveal new information. The truck move is most effective with foreground objects.

Pi in Almere City from Harald Walker on Vimeo.

For my short test video I went to the parking garage in the center of Almere. Next to the parking garage the number PI has been painted in large white characters on the ground. I brought my Nikon D300S as well as the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM lenses. As video head I used the Manfrotto 700RC2 mini video fluid head. In order to transport the Glidetrack Shooter with the rest of the equipment per bicycle I had to dismantle it again, so you have to watch those screws and bring tools to put it together.

After a few tryouts I quickly got a feel for it for the Glidetrack and the movement of the carriage. It is important to push the carriage, not the camera. When the load is not shared evenly across the bearings, it can result in uneven running. You can see it the video at 00:52. In this scene the camera was titled down to film the sign.
As I was using my regular DSLR camera I had a silly practical problem with the straps, which often got in the way when moving the camera. Nothing to worry about, I just have to pay more attention. I didn’t use this Glidetrack as shoulder support yet but am very pleased so far with the build quality and the first video result. I am certainly looking forward to using it more often.

Update:
Regarding Frank’s question from the comment. Yes, the pan lock lever of the Manfrotto 700RC2 mini video fluid head hits the carriage but it can be adjusted.

Manfrotto 700RC2 on the Glidetrack carriage

An additional quick release adapter might solve this problem and an adapter like the Manfrotto 357PL with its 80mm sliding travel of the plate might even help to get the camera with lens better balanced.

2 thoughts

  1. Hi Harald,

    I’m planning to get the same fluid head (700rc2) for my glidetrack. Wouldn’t the Pan Lock lever hit the carriage surface when you tighten it? Or is the lever repositionable by pulling first? I know the QR lever lock is…Not sure about the bottom lever though. Nice demo video btw!

  2. Actually guys, you will find that the little leaver you show, CAN be re-positioned to anywhere on the clock face by simply lifting and turning the lever part (it is on a spring). Make sure it is tight, then pull it outwards and you will find you can have it positioned anywhere you like. Hope this helps.

    Everbody seems to miss this important detail on Manfrotto kit.

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