Glidetrack as a Sidetrack for flyover shots

Love my Glidetrack. But is tracking past something as powerful as gliding over it? I often find myself wanting to aim the camera parallel with the track rather than at right angles. Can’t do it, though, because the end of the track gets into frame when the camera is angled more than about 45 degrees (with any wideish lens).

I tried mounting the camera on a Manfrotto magic arm, and quickly learned that balance really matters with these lightweight rigs: as soon as you move the camera off center of the Glidetrack, smooth moves become impossible. However, with a few parts and attention to balance, I’ve found a way to turn my Glidetrack into a Sidetrack.

To illustrate the difference, here’s two short clips filmed on my desk using Canon 60D (above) and Glidetrack. The first is shot with the camera mounted on the track conventionally, at a 45 degree angle. The second was made using my sidetrack rig, shown in the stills below.

There’s probably a simpler way to do this, and if some third party made it (affordably), I’d probably buy it. I love this kind of flyover shot.

(Note: the metal piece in middle is a speed ring for a soft box).

7 thoughts on “Glidetrack as a Sidetrack for flyover shots

  1. Steven Bradford

    Nice. This is a shot we usually reach for our jib arms first, — if we have one. But I can see a way to make a simple long piece of rail with drilled mounting holes. mount the camera on a ball head at one end of the rail on a hole, mount the center hole of the rail on the tripod, and mount the weight equivalent to the camera on a hole exactly opposite? Time get out the drill press!

  2. Dan McComb

    Totally agree – but even if you have one – jib arms are a pain to carry around and set up. A simple arm like the one you describe would be super easy to pack around with the Glidetrack for fast and easy flyovers.

    Hey if you have a drill press, let’s get together and make two of them. I want one too!

  3. Anastasios Ketsios

    Really pretty killer, Dan. True to the DIY spirit and offers alot of possibilities. Thanks for the post.

  4. filmmaker blog

    Magic arm… great idea. I just found your blog and I must say that it’s one of the best indie filmmaker blogs I’ve seen in a long time. I didn’t know that glidetrack was so affordable. Great footage by the way.

  5. Mike

    What a good idea. Magic Arms are the best, aren’t they?

    I laughed when I realized that the counterbalance arm was made out of umbrella adapter studs, I have so many of those things floating around and find them in the most random places around my house. Now I can use them! Hilarious.


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