The new Kessler TLS Slider combines rigidity, portability and a modular design into a professional time-lapse tool.
Kessler certainly know a thing or two about tools for creating motion in your shots. Their track record include the mighty CineDrive motion control system, the CineSlider, the Pocket Dolly and, of course, their eponymous product: the Kessler Crane. So what is the new addition to their family of sliders all about?
The new Kessler TLS is by no means the only motorized slider by the company. It is, however, designed specifically with professional time-lapse in mind and focuses on overcoming the challenges inherent to this kind of photography.
It certainly looks like a very solid piece of gear, adhering to the 80/20 aluminium system for structural framing. There are buildings and cars made out of the stuff so we can hopefully expect no bowing or vibrating along the track.
Rail lengths are available in either 3, 4, 5 or 6 feet, or 91 to 182cm for us metric folk. Alternatively, you can procure your own #1030 80/20 rail and knock 100 bucks off the final price. Ka-ching!
The T-Rails along the rail allow for easy installation of quick-release plates or light-stand adaptors. This means you have completely moveable mounting points anywhere along the length of the slider, as opposed to fixed threaded holes at either end and in the middle. However, each of these mounting accessories will cost you extra.
The Kessler TLS has small rubber feet for when used on the ground. Optional leg accessories come in the form of Outrigger Feet as well as 15mm Adjustable Legs. You can extend these with standard threaded 15mm rods, and can be used to create an incline for the cart. In short: plenty of options to handle the uneven terrain you might encounter during your shoots.
The Kessler Second Shooter motion control system is the actual brains of the TLS. Thus, you will need the controller unit to program and operate the slider, and a proprietary MagPak battery to power the system. However, their Magnalink solution ensures both the controller and battery stay neatly in place.
Other design features include the Kessler TLS motor being built into the cart, reducing the amount of loose cables. Additionally, the drive belt mechanism seems quite easy to install. The result? A sleek, elegant product that doesn’t look like it wants to kill you. (I’m looking at you, CineDrive…)
The optional Second Shooter Pan and Tilt Head adds two more axis of programmable, repeatable motion to your slider shot. Kessler’s modular design idea goes down to the head itself, as the tilt and pan axis can be purchased and used individually. This allows for more practical transportation and a lighter, faster setup.
Kessler’s kOS software allows for programming more complex 3-axis movement than with the controller unit alone. A “lite” but still very capable version is available for free download if you don’t want to pay for the full version.
While the cost of getting a Kessler TLS up and running may seem quite high to some, it is actually not a lot more than many of the other available options out there that offer this level of professionalism. Granted, the cost of the rail, controller, head, mounting points, support and perhaps the app may seem a bit much. But don’t forget, you will be buying into the Kessler ecosystem, not just a standalone one-size-fits-all product. And as such, it certainly has a lot to offer for the professional time-lapse shooter. Check out the Kessler site for more information. We will post links to B&H as soon as the Kessler TLS becomes available.
Do you shoot motion-controlled time-lapse? Do you think the result is worth the cost? Or will you stick to PVC pipe, a piece of string and a kitchen timer?