I have long wanted to work on some motion-controlled camera rigs, for time lapse and moving video shot purposes. The longest-brewing idea I have had is for a motion-controlled cable camera rig for setting up some elaborate mountain bike shots, but there are a lot of engineering hurdles for that project and I just haven’t been able to put together the time to make significant progress on it.
I was asked to help out on a mountain bike video project by some friends, and I decided this would be a good time to get a simpler project started – a simple camera slider rig. A camera slider is a track with a motorized carriage which can be set up to move at a fixed rate. By mounting a camera on the carriage, a smooth-moving video shot can be obtained, or interesting time lapse shots with motion can be created.
Rather than re-invent the wheel, I decided to get a jump start on the project by using some off-the-shelf components. In particular, I discovered the OpenBuilds site, where they sell an open-source friendly linear slide rail system meant to bolt onto commercially-available aluminum extrusion products like those from 8020, Inc.
This week I received the parts from both companies and assembled the basic slide rail and carriage assembly, which you can see in the video below. I am just starting to design the mechanical components for the motor control portion, which is the next critical task.