Hands-On Review: ProMediaGear PMG-DUO Slider

video slider

While the market for portable video sliders may be crowded, few units are as well designed and well engineered as the ProMediaGear PMG-DUO slider. CNC-machined from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum, the three members of the PMG-DUO product line (24”, 36” and 48”) offer a curved track on one side of the unit and a straight track on the other, eliminating the need to bring multiple sliders on a location shoot.

I shot extensively with the PGM-DUO 48”, the four-foot version of the DUO, which offers a parabolic track with a total run of 60 feet. A parabolic curve is crucial because it maintains the same focal length across the run of the travel so focus can stay locked while the camera slides through the curve.

Place the PMG-DUO on the ground, and the built-in feet keep the unit stable and level, and that fold against the body when they’re not needed. Each side has two independently adjusted feet, which makes it a snap to set up the slider on a non-level surface. For higher shots, the unit has stand mounting threads in the middle and on each end. Connecting the rail to dual supports provides a rock-solid platform for shooting, and the spirit level on the head makes it easy to get the system set up for truly horizontal operation.

video slider

video slider

The camera carriage runs on aluminum wheels that are built around roller bearings, and the sliding action is incredibly smooth. It’s easy to move even heavy camera setups, but the optional VSMDC1 Motor Control really makes the PGM-DUO a super solution, controlling the butter-smooth sliding of the head unit. The unit attaches easily to a bracket on the slider and can be moved with a thumb latch to engage or disengage the unit.

The system’s controls allow the slider to be used for time-lapses, loops (the carriage changes direction when it meets resistance) and standard video mode. You can see the smoothness of the mechanism in action in our review of the Fujifilm X100F camera (check it out below). An optional shutter-release cable attaches to the 2.5mm jack on the top of the unit, and will trigger a camera’s shutter after the motor has moved the unit.

For the time-lapse mode, it’s possible to set the distance in millimeters up to 999mm (that’s about 40 inches) and time between shots up to 300 seconds (that’s about five minutes). Ideally, to use this as a real-time lapse rig I’d like to see the time between movement occur in larger intervals, though with the ability to set the motion between shots as small as 0.2 of a millimeter (yes, really two-tenths of a millimeter), one could simply set the camera to move an incredibly small amount and take a shot every five minutes to achieve the same results as waiting a longer time and taking fewer shots.

With a price of $700 for the 24” slider and $900 for the 48” unit, the ProMediaGear PMG-DUO isn’t the lowest-priced slider on the market, but it’s certainly one of the most durable and customizable. The optional motorized unit ($550) makes the PMG-DUO even more useful and allows videographers to create stable, smooth slides without complexity, from a system that’s durable enough to outlive just about any other gear in your kit.

Visit the ProMediaGear website.

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