The Aviator Rocket Travel Slider is an innovative camera support system that was created through a Kickstarter campaign in May 2013. As one of many projects created by users for users, we were anxious to try it out.
With the base kit you receive the Rocket slider carriage, two ends with fold out feet, a carry bag and a selection of hardware. You can also opt to purchase the Aviator Hi-Hat, for easy use with a ball mount tripod head. Now you might be wondering why it doesn’t come with any rails, that’s actually one of the best features about this kit and we’ll get to that later.
At first impression it’s easy to feel the high quality of the kit. The included case is semi-hard, custom molded to fit the Aviator Slider and works well when transporting. The slider and hardware are constructed of a mixture of different high grade plastics and metal which contribute to the smooth operation of this unit; the metal is also anodized in a beautiful red finish. It’s easy to assemble and requires no additional tools other than the included allen wrenches which are used for finite adjustment of the wheels. The centerpiece of the kit is the central carriage unit, which you attach a flat base tripod to, or use the Aviator Hi-Hat. A rubber ring is attached around the tripod screw to ensure a tight fit between your camera and the carriage. This unit also has a ball level so you can achieve proper orientation for your camera. The carriage has four custom made wheels which roll smoothly and are grooved to fit 1-inch EMT conduit pipe. The carriage is made of aluminum and has six threaded accessory mounts for attaching additional hardware.
So how about those rails? The Aviator Travel Slider is designed as a modular system, which means you can either purchase the Aviator Carbon Travel Tracks, or you can purchase up to 10 feet of 1-inch metal EMT conduit pipe from your local hardware store. This modular design allows you to change the length of your slider very affordably, it also means you can pack up your slider in the compact case, take it on the plane with you and then purchase low cost EMT pipe at your final destination, making this far more compact than traditional sliders for air travel situations in which you don’t want to check a lot of extra baggage. PVC pipe would technically work, but the weight of the camera would bow the pipe and it would not be as effective.
We purchased a 10-foot conduit pipe and cut it in half to produce two 5-foot sections. Each pipe secures to the feet with the plastic set screw handles and the carriage then sits on the pipe. The construction grade pipe rolls quite smoothly and the creative opportunities for such a long slider are endless. The end pieces each have two fold out feet which lock down with rosettes, securely holding them into place. Each foot also has rubberized pads so they will grip more securely on a smooth surface and minimize damage to soft floors such as wood.
The Aviator Rocket Travel Slider is well built and can serve a number of various needs at your next film shoot.
We attached an EOS 5D Mark II and Manfrotto 501 tripod head to the slider and tested out some moves with the slider on the ground. The carriage rolls very smoothly and produces excellent results. We flipped the carriage upside down so that the camera mount was facing the floor, this way the camera and tripod go through the rails, allowing the weight of the camera to hold the carriage onto the rails. This produced even better results and allows camera moves typically not seen with traditional sliders and dolly systems. Note that in order to achieve this you must have each end of the slider attached to a tripod or light stand; this slider cannot be mounted on a single tripod. Even with this limitation, the Rocket Travel Slider gives you the functionality of a traditional dolly plus the compact size of a smaller camera slider.
If your subject is lying on the ground, the Rocket Travel Slider is a perfect solution for shooting overhead and is great for shooting products. The extended length would produce impressive results if combined with a motor assembly for astronomy time-lapses.
Overall, the Aviator Rocket Travel Slider is well built and can serve a number of various needs at your next film shoot.
Aviator Camera Gear
- Material: Anodized metal & plastic
- Load Capacity: 45lb. (20.4kg)
- Attachment: 3/8″-16 and 1/4”-20 mounts
- Case Size: 16″ x 9.5″ x 2.5″ (40.6cm x 24.1cm x 6.4cm)
- Leveling Bubble: Yes
- Highly adaptable with affordable conduit pipe
- High Quality Construction
- Must have two tripods or light stands to mount off ground
Paul Hildebrandt is a documentary, wedding, and narrative filmmaker from Chico, CA.