A Compact, Portable Pantograph Camera Slider

Ho, hum, another camera slider, right? Wrong — here’s a camera slider with a literal twist.

What sets [Schijvenaars]’ slider apart from the pack is that it’s not a slider, at least not in the usual sense. A slider is a mechanical contrivance that allows a camera to pan smoothly during a shot. Given that the object is to get a camera from point A to point B as smoothly as possible, and that sliders are often used for long exposures or time-lapse shots, the natural foundation for them is a ball-bearing linear slide, often powered by a stepper motor on a lead screw. [Schijvenaars] wanted his slider to be more compact and therefore more portable, so he designed and 3D-printed a 3-axis pantograph mechanism. The video below shows the slider panning the camera through a silky smooth 60 centimeters; a bonus of the arrangement is that it can transition from panning in one direction to the other without any jerking. Try that with a linear slider.

Granted, this slider is not powered, but given that the axes are synced with timing belts, it wouldn’t be difficult to add a motor. We’ve seen a lot of sliders before, from simple wooden units to complicated overhead cranes, but this one seems like a great design with a lot of possibilities.



14 thoughts on “A Compact, Portable Pantograph Camera Slider

  1. That does look look like a nice and smooth system.
    Incidently: that’s called “dollying” (moving the whole camera relative to the scenery, usually on a thing on tracks called a “dolly”), panning is when the camera is rotated around an axis (usually the centre of the film/sensor plane) and the view sweeps across the scene.

    1. In cinematography and photography panning means swiveling a still or video camera horizontally from a fixed position.
      Panning should never be confused with tracking or “travelling,” in which the camera is not just swivelled but is physically displaced left or right, generally by being rolled parallel to its subject.

      In video technology, panning refers to the horizontal scrolling of an image wider than the display.

      For 3D modeling in computer graphics, panning means moving parallel to the current view plane. In other words, the camera moves perpendicular to the direction it is pointed.

      source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panning_%28camera%29

      1. P.S. since he’s using a video camera the question is if you include that in the descriptor ‘video technology’. Which I would not since it’s a physical camera not a video effect.
        But I think the lines have blurred a lot and now they often call it panning regardless of the circumstances.

      1. He’ll have to shell out €450 though, and it’s ‘out of stock’
        But then, the project of the original article links to a part that is also out of stock and has a projected delivery time of 5 weeks.

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