Filmmaker Shows How to Add a DIY Motor to a Basic Camera Slider

Videographers use a variety of camera movement techniques to capture dynamic motion. Underpinning many of the most visually interesting camera movements are dollies and sliders.

Sliders are available in various formats and sizes and offer a wide array of features. Depending on the build quality, size, and operability of sliders, they vary significantly in price.

Over at Instructables, Belgian creator and builder Michel, who goes by Handy Bear, explains how he took a basic, affordable, yet high-quality slider and added an Arduino controller to make it motorized.

DIY camera slider

“I found this basic slider from Amazon for 40€ — that’s a bargain considering the rails are made out of carbon fiber and the other pieces are aluminum. The build quality is top-notch and there was no way I could have made anything even closely as efficient with the tools and resources I have – that’s why I decided to go the buy route instead of the DIY for the slider part,” Michel explains.

“However, there is one incredibly useful feature that this slider doesn’t have, and that is motorization,” he continues, explaining that motorization is important for ensuring smooth camera movements.

DIY camera slider

When moving a camera on rails by hand, even with a high-quality rail system, there are small inconsistencies in the camera movement due to the human input. These issues can make the footage look less professional.

Another benefit for a motorized slider system is that it can be set up to create timelapse videos with very consistent camera movements and intervals.

PetaPixel featured a similar Arduino-powered camera slider earlier this year. That project, created by Giovanni Aggiustatutto, relied upon 3D-printed parts, wood, and aluminum alongside the Arduino computer.

In Handy Bear’s video outlining the project, he shows how he took the manual camera slider system from Amazon and added an Arduino nano, stepper motor, enclosure, vibration dampener, motor driver, battery, timing belt, pulleys, an LED, and more to the slider, upgrading it from a basic manual slider to an affordable, easy-to-use motorized slider.

DIY camera slider

Alongside the video featured above, Michel’s article on Instructables includes detailed directions and a step-by-step guide that will help amateur video creators build their own affordable motorized slider. The article also includes the necessary code for the Arduino.

Photographers who enjoy useful DIY projects may also be interested in Handy Bear’s project for managing camera batteries.

DIY camera slider

With high-end motorized sliders, especially those with timelapse capabilities, costing anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, a DIY motorized camera slider is a great way for amateurs on a budget to achieve professional results.

Image credits: Michel (Handy Bear)