The prize for winning Stillmotion’soverlooked’ contest was an Atlas 10 from Cinevate. You can read more about Cinevate where we reviewed their Core Rig a while back.

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Hardware

The Atlas 10 is Cinevate‘s first foray into the centre mount ‘slider’ market. As with all things Cinevate, the Atlas 10 is built like a tank and has the heft to back it up. Aside from the polyurethane micro adjustable ‘feet’ and the brake, everything on the Atlas 10 is CNC milled or Steel. This definitely adds to its durability and makes me completely confident it can handle a 40lbs payload as advertised. Dressed in all black, it definitely doesn’t attract attention to itself; not nearly as much as other sliders we have, which is a nice option when filming events. I’m happy to report the Atlas 10 has all the ear marks of a Cinevate product.

The standard Atlas 10 comes with a bearing carriage with a standard 3/8” stud, brake and the micro adjustable feet on the end plates. Optional upgrades include a 35” length (instead of 26”), All Terrain Legs, Counter Balance, Vert kit and a couple of ball head variations. We have most of these additions, so I’ll go over each one in greater detail.

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The Length

We ordered the smaller 26” length as opposed to the 35” for various reasons. As we’ve acquired several sliders over the past year or so (about 5) we’ve been progressively wanting them shorter and shorter. Not only are they lighter, they’re also easier to maneuver around events or smaller sets. Even with longer sliders (up to a meter long) we noticed we’d only use a portion of its entire length to get the shot we needed, so the extra length wasn’t necessary in all cases (of course sometimes it does come in handy).

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The All Terrain Legs

All Terrain Legs are simply the best ‘legs’ on the market; bar none. They’re extremely durable, very fast to setup, extremely solid once you lock them down and even include an additional set of polyurethane micro adjustable balls making them extremely adjustable. I couldn’t imagine ordering the Atlas 10 without them. Also a little tip, if you order the legs with the Atlas 10, Cinevate only charges $150 for the upgrade where as if you buy them after the fact it’ll set you back around $225.

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Vert Kit

The vert kit comprises of an additional rail, carriage, pulley, rope and all the hardware to attach it to the Atlas 10. The vert kit is a bit of a toss up for me, while the ability to turn the Atlas 10 into a bit of a crane is extremely beneficial (not having to lug a crane around the entire day for a couple of shots), it does so at the cost of of the centre mount. This would be less of an issue if you’re on set with a luxury of time and not shooting events. Switching between the two modes does take a bit of time. Another small issue I’ve found was that the rope that attaches both carriages isn’t capped on the end and can be a bit tricky to thread through (nothing a little plastic cap wouldn’t resolve). An interesting find was that the bottom rail seems to be the same one used to make Cinevate’s Atlas FLT system, the smaller brother of the Atlas 10. So, in a way, when you’re ordering the Vert Kit, you’re getting two Atlas sliders. I would love to see a kit to come out that could turn it into an additional slider when you’re not using it in vert mode (adding the ends).

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The Counter Balance

The counter balance is Cinevate’s standard one, which is nothing to scoff at. All black, CNC milled aluminum fillable counter balance. It’s hollowed out so to keep the weight down during travel (huge bonus). The other nice thing is that, as with most Cinevate products, is that it can be used in conjunction with other Cinevate gear you have, such as their Core Rig among many others.

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Practical Use

We’ve had quite a bit of time to use the Atlas 10 in the field. We used one whilst attending Stillmotion’s Evo, as well on a few commercial shoots of our own. This slider is one smooth piece of gear. The Atlas 10 is just as smooth as any of the better sliders we’ve used to date. Being bearing based I expect no less; the advantages over IGUS are paramount.

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The extruded rail is tough as nails and can be placed virtually on any surface without thinking twice. Using the Atlas 10 with the vert kit attached definitely adds some bulk and heft. However when you do have the option to go vertical with the same rig, the benefit is definitely worth lugging it around. As are uses for the legs, being easily adjustable and done in seconds. Carrying around the Atlas 10, you’ll notice just how heavy it really is, however the additional weight is trumped by knowing its going to work no matter what when dealing with events.

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The Competition

The bearing based slider market has exploded this past year having IGUS based systems disappear except for the introductory market. You can read more about the IGUS based systems on the market on a previous review. The other ‘mid-range’ bearing sliders include offerings from Kessler Crane and DP Slider.

Kessler Crane offers a PocketDolly basic in the similar price bracket as well as the more premium Philip Bloom PocketDolly. DP Slider has their Standard and Vertical series as well, though in our experience, the DP Slider isn’t quite in the same league as the Atlas 10 or PocketDolly. I would say that both the PocketDolly and Atlas 10 are very comparable, with the exception being the All Terrain Legs are far better on the Atlas 10.

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Upgradability

At NAB 2011, Cinevate had mentioned they have wireless motion control system coming out for the Atlas 10 sometime this summer. While there isn’t more details on this at the time my assumption would be that its something similar to what Kessler Crane offers with their Elecktra drive and upcoming ‘MotionPlus’ line of products. I’m very curious to see what Cinevate has in store and am very happy to see they were thinking ahead when they built this product.

**Update**

We’ve just been given the low down on the motion control system for the Atlas 10 and without giving anything away, I would definitely say to hold out for a few weeks before buying another slider system(or go ahead and get an Atlas)! Dennis and his team have been pretty quiet lately (if you consider they just released the Simplis, Atlas 10, Atlas FLT and their Grip Sticks) I was curious to see what they were up to: planning a competing against the Kessler Oracle system. I’m told Cinevate will be posting a ‘sneak peak’ of the new system in a few weeks to stay glued to their Facebook and Twitter feeds!

**Recent Update**

And it’s here… The Atlas 10 Motion Control Kit, powered by Moco. Cinevate brings motion control to their family of camera sliders, which of course includes the Atlas 10. Moco is a sophisticated system that gives experienced shooters and timelapse rookies the ability to perform advanced camera movements across real-time, timelapse and stop motion modes. – See more at: http://www.cinevate.com/blog/moco-cinevate-motion-control-sliders/

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Wrap Up

The Atlas 10 is definitely a welcome addition to the CinevateLinear Tracking System’ family. Starting at a very competitive $625 USD, well equipped with the All Terrain Legs for $770 USD (strongly recommended) and $1364 USD as tested, there definitely is a price to meet most budgets. With its robust ‘tank’ like build of CNC’d aluminum & steel, smooth operation, future upgradeability (especially the up coming motion control system) and most excellent legs I can’t recommend the Atlas 10 enough, it’s one of the best additions to our gear arsenal to date and will be our go to ‘slider’ for years to come.

  • stuart

    is there any place that we can see the video associated with this test?

  • Hey Stuart, we don’t have a video to go with this review just yet… however keep your eyes peeled later on.

  • Jim

    Thanks Stephen for the review. I am looking at getting the Atlas 10 particularly because of the quality and the vert kit. Actually going to Masters in Motion Seminar next week so I will be able to test Kessler’s stuff too. Have your thoughts changed at all since this post?

  • Hi Jim, definitely check out what Kessler has and try it for yourself. I hold my opinion, even well after writing this review and using it in the field quite a bit. It’s a little heavy, which is about the only thing that gets in the way on smaller sets but it’s built very well. I can probably run my car over it and it’d be just fine. The vert kit gives you plenty of options and we’ve used it instead of our crane for venues that wouldn’t allow a crane’s footprint for set up.

  • Jim

    Thanks Stephen for the info. Are you still using a 701 head with it? Also what kind of sticks are you using? I think I will probably get it in the next day or two. Also any other attachments needed besides the legs and head?

  • I’ve been using the 701 head on all of our sliders. My latest set up is the Manfrotto 504HD Head w/535 2-Stage Carbon Fiber Tripod System. The 504 head takes the usual 701 manfrotto plates, but also has an extended plate size which helps stabilize the Atlas in vertical mode. It’s super solid. Highly recommended, though it’s not a light set up by any means. So in the end, I’ll have two heads with the slider on the tripod – but that’s just to keep it so I can quickly detach and attach other kits to the tripod without spinning it off of the tripod.

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