Every year I faithfully attend the NAB convention in Las Vegas. that's the best way to keep informed on new equipment and new trend in this business. This year I name the event the year of the slider. I have never seen so many companies making sliders of any kind.
We've been using small dollies and sliders before they became fashionable but for the most they were made for heavy cameras. The introductions of small and lightweight cameras has created an entire new way of shooting. Keep it moving seems to be the name of the game today.
Below is the flex track available from VariZoom for about $500. We bought one after seeing it at NAB about 4 years ago and it's getting a lot of use. Basically it's a 50' long 2" rubber round that can be shaped to move in many directions. Caution it require a special modified dolly also available from VaryZoom. Because the tracks is flexible and will not stay at the same distance the dolly has a small pivoting arm that swings over the track automatically adjust the rollers to the tracks separation. We modified one of our portable dolly rather than buying a new one.
The other advantage of the flex track beside making dolly moves is to reposition the camera in a different angle to give the shoot the impression that many cameras were used. It's cheating but producers love the idea. This only work if two camera are used leaving one to maintain continuity.
Another gadget we use frequently, and producers love it, is the trolley available from The Camera Turret Company. The two picture below show our that we modified so we can mount the power hear with the camera above the tracks for standard moves or below to give the fly over effect. The tracks are 3' long sections and can be added to form any length as there's a support every 3'. For flying overhead 9' or 12' is the maximum length I would use as the only support is t both ends, depending of course on the weight of the camera. The trolley is full powered including the camera head for tilting and panning. Camera Turret will have available soon a computerized control that can be programmed to perform every desired moves. This is also ideal for doing time lapses as the motor on the trolley can be adjusted to move extremely slow.
The photos below represent a small selection of the sliders shown this year at NAB.