GripGear – Compact and Modular Motorized Slider

March 7th, 2019

GripGear is a very compact, modular, and affordable motorized slider. It can carry lightweight cameras up to 1kg. During CP+ show in Japan, Johnnie Behiri talked with Hitotsuki-San, who now started distributing the GripGear system in Japan, about some of its features.

GripGear motorized slider has been on the market now for about half a year. It is suitable for filmmakers who travel very often and need a very portable motorized slider in their kit. The small size of course also means less payload. The slider can accommodate payloads of up to 1kg in a horizontal position and up to 750g in a vertical position. Yes, that’s right – the slider can operate at various angles and even in vertical position.

GripGear features a modular design, that means multiple tracks can be mounted together to create a longer setup if needed. The slider itself comes with 2 pieces of tracks, additional pieces can be purchased separately. Custom-made track connections enable track extensions over 1.5 meters without additional support, at an angle, thanks to reinforced joints.

The heart of GripGear is the motorised unit. It features 9 speeds ranging from 4mm/s to 1000mm/s and panorama speeds from 141mins per 360 turn to 0.57min/360. Just a side note – their website really claims speed can reach 1000mm/s, but that does not sound right to me. In my opinion, it is a mistake and there is an extra zero. 100mm/s sounds achievable and usable as a maximum speed.

The slider can be controlled wirelessly with an infrared remote control or directly via buttons on the main body. The motor can either stop when it reaches the end of the track, or there is a continuous mode, which auto rebounds the motorized unit in the other direction when the end of the track is reached. GripGear comes with two physical stoppers, which can be clamped on the tracks and define stop points for the motor. The slider includes an internal rechargeable battery. For extended shooting time, the USB connector can be used with most standard power banks.

GripGear can be also used in a dolly mode. The simple dolly cart comes in the package – the motorized unit can be inserted in it and act as a portable dolly. For dolly mode, any of the 9-speeds can be used in automatic mode. Alternatively, flipping the ring upwards when using the Micro Dolly, or releasing the motor clip in other modes allows for manual usage. The wheels of the dolly can be set straight or at a certain angle to allow for curved ride.Last but not least, GripGear’s motor can also function as a 360 panoramic unit. Again, any of the 9-speeds can be used to film 360 panoramic footage. The motor inserts in the 360 mount and the device is ready to use.

GripGear is available for a very interesting price. The complete set (called directors set) is selling for $130 USD, the moviemaker set 2 (without dolly cart) sells for $100 USD and the extra piece of track costs $25 USD.

What do you think of GripGear? Do you use some kind of portable slider when traveling light? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

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 Brian DeViteri
Brian DeViteri
Member
March 8th, 2019

Took the gamble and picked this up with three extra track pieces for 5 lengths of track total.

At speed 9 (fastest it can go) with an iPhone 7 to just quickly test, video is unusable. It’s basically warble jello. It’s barely acceptable using timelapse mode. Overall, the motor just feels too jittery on the tracks.

They do print a chart on the back side of the track connector that states…

Speed Setting:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
Millimeter per Minute:
4 / 8 / 16 / 32 / 64 / 125 / 250 / 500 / 1000

Speed Setting:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
Min to Travel 2x Tracks:
146 / 73.1 / 36.6 / 18.3 / 9.14 / 4.68 / 2.34 / 1.17 / 0.59

This thing can break down to fit into even the smallest of backpacks. Can easily see throwing a GoPro onto it and letting it do a quick/cheap/dirty timelapse while capturing other footage on a “real” camera.

Does not really work for video at speed 9 setting. Personally think it’s way too slow at other settings for straight video use. (Timelapse is an entirely different story.)

Video on the skateboard dolly setup is MUCH MUCH smoother at speed 9, but that is not why I purchased this thing. I’m sure there are better skateboard motors out there with more versatile speed options, possibly even more compact on their own. Maybe even one that can be set to “auto bounce” and avoid the track all together on a smooth surface?

Did not test 360º panoramic, but assume it would be fine like the skateboard dolly.

Undecided if I’m going to keep it or not. Was $159 for the entire kit (Director Set + 3 Extra Track) on Amazon. Leaning towards thinking it’s a cool toy if I’m ever really traveling for pleasure and want to take some “gear” with me… but even then I’m not sure this is the “gear” I’d want.

 Brian DeViteri
Brian DeViteri
Member
March 8th, 2019
Reply to  Jakub Han

Absolutely does NOT ramp to what I would consider 1000mm/s (per second) speed.

Just tested with two pieces of track…

Speed 6 is a good slow speed for live video use, but it really depends on your standards and needs. I personally still see warble and jello with iPhone 7 quick tests. It’s almost certainly from the motor shaking as it travels, which vibrates the mount and micro ball head.

Speed 5 is jerky and did not record any test.

Speed 3 and 4 is where the warble and jello is not easily detectable, but I believe it is way too slow for any live video purposes. It’s snail-like movement.

Bounce works at lower speeds, but bounce itself is not as “smooth” as faster speeds if that makes sense. It kind of ends, pauses, then begins. Bounce at faster speeds almost feel as if it ramps with bezier keyframes (even though it clearly does not).

Personally would only consider this a timelapse tool when on the track, and only if you can shoot interval timelapse at speeds above 4.

It’s not a useable live video motorized slider for my needs or standards. Not even as a C/D cam with the expectation of “we’ll use whatever we can get” in a multicam interview. (Personally would rather cut to a clean production shot or overproduced live video on video monitor type of shot.)

The added functions of motorized skateboard dolly and 360º panoramic may be beneficial to some, but at this price I’m positive there are better options for that.

rhys
rhys
Guest
March 22nd, 2019
Reply to  Brian DeViteri

It is awesome, I tested iPhone 5,6 X GoPro, Samsung S8+, Rx100M4, Canon m5 & m6, Sony A6300 on many lenses from 16mm to 210mm, Connected intervalometer and ND filters packs. This unit works a charm and is worth every penny!! Not for DSLR it is light weight.(All iphones above 7 tested have the same issue, the IOS system that is not reliable unless in static, they do work very well on the dolly and Panorama mode)

 Brian DeViteri
Brian DeViteri
Member
March 11th, 2019
Reply to  Brian DeViteri

Followup: Ran longer timelapse tests from GoPro on the tracks over the weekend and was unimpressed. Seeing shifts from the motor vibration on more footage than is acceptable to me. This thing is getting returned.

rhys
rhys
Guest
March 22nd, 2019
Reply to  Brian DeViteri

Can you share details what setting you were using on a GoPro, only Frame rates and speeds ? there’s amazing footage appearing on Instagram a& youtube share by “Timelapse newbies” on GoPro’s + this system. Also some wild Insta360 stuff on the system.

rhys
rhys
Guest
March 27th, 2019
Reply to  Brian DeViteri

Join the discusshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U4LjcoxjV0&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0gLJAu4r1gDp-5-QzPeL0MHxhV86QbfcQvHjNAFi881PvcwnO0eTWMd0wion…

Rhys
Rhys
Guest
March 22nd, 2019
Reply to  Brian DeViteri

The GripGear instructions are clear, they state upfront on Amazon that as the iPhone operates off IOS system that can not be disabled, thus Jell-O effect on slider , I believe you should learn more about your camera. The iPhone is not a great camera, try a SAMSUNG/GoPro or Mirrorless for stunning results. (I am a drummer, the iPhone can not manage the base= Jello “.

Ricky B. Kennethson
Guest
March 7th, 2019

Very portable

Big7 Media
Guest
March 7th, 2019

I’ve had that for awhile, works great until it tracks over the connected area (crack), then you get that jolt. Otherwise it’s awesome. Used it for my RX100IV

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