In the words of Fast Company magazine, CineSkates "pull off sophisticated-looking camera moves with the nudge of a finger."
Developed at the M.I.T. Media Lab with cutting-edge skateboard technology, the Cinetics CineSkates Camera Dolly Wheels for GorillaPod Focus Tripod are a set of three wheels that attach to a Joby GorillaPod to achieve an amazingly abundant variety of very highly-effective fluid motion shots that give life to scenes.
CineSkates were from inception made in mind with expansion into a host of accessories, but in their current state are compatible specifically with the Joby GorillaPod Focus mini tripods. The combination of the two results in so many possibilities, that possibly both Cinetics and Joby were surprised at what morphed out, something no less than a thousand rabbits in a small hat.
CineSkates attach onto the GorillaPod and then move around fluidly in a variety of sophisticated ways. So what's a GorillaPod? Well, first off, it doesn't come included; and second -- it's a very small tripod that has legs which can bend at every point along them to thereby adapt to pretty much any environment and truly close in on a subject. It's what Tom was missing when looking for Jerry in his mouse hole. The GorillaPod would've bent in such a way, that the camera atop it would've been flipped upside-down and focused directly into the hole. That's why it's called a GorillaPod Focus. Now imagine it on wheels. The GorillaPod requires a ballhead, and if you have one, you're fine, but otherwise, Joby also makes the BallHead X. As regards CineSkates, small, lightweight ballheads with a large range of motion, like the BallHead X, work best.
So what kind of shots are we talking about? Well, first, very importantly -- CineSkates can move freely or can be aligned to make a desired camera movement. A light push will glide the CineSkates into motion along that alignment. And the alignment will not lose its setting until reset. And as for the shots, CineSkates achieve arcing shots that rotate around objects, sliding shots that push or pull a subject into focus, rolling shots that glide over the subject, time-lapse shots that move the camera slowly and smoothly -- more about this shortly, and panning shots that scan a wide area, and "worm's eye view" shots that slide just above the floor. And each of these can be done in so many different ways considering how many various combinations of positions the GorillaPod can bend into. The audience should love it. A little practice will be necessary, however, to develop a feel for achieving precision with the possibilities.
In terms of weight, CineSkates work best with rigs under 5 lbs. A DSLR, a lens, and a mic -- that'll work just fine.
Now, about the time-lapse shots -- the CineSkates wheels have a ruler system marked on them, and a tic mark on the bracket of the wheels. This is for shooting incrementally, at chosen tic distances, and moving the wheel one tic after every shot.
And about the expansion mentioned up above, expansion to other tripods is in the works. A frame for heavier cameras and a motorized wheel are just some future Cinetics products, and they will all be compatible with CineSkates. A mini ballhead and a Glif iPhone 4/4S tripod mount are already available to be used in combination with CineSkates and the GorillaPod.
How are CineSkates made, by the way? The brackets are made from an injection molded plastic that's lightweight and durable. The wheels are molded from soft urethane, and the bearings are made from hardened chromium steel. A steel adjustable handle, low profile black-oxide steel hardware, and a portable neoprene case complete the set. There are 44 parts in each set of CineSkates, and the parts are mostly made in the USA, and are assembled entirely in Austin, Texas.
CineSkates were launched as a Kickstarter project, and they are one of the highest funded projects in the history of Kickstarter.
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