Glide Gear DEV-1000 Camera Slider

Glide Gear DEV-1000 Camera Slider

David Salahi Gear 2 Comments

Glide Gear DEV-1000 Camera Slider

Glide Gear DEV-1000 Camera Slider

I was looking recently for an inexpensive slider and I settled on the Glide Gear DEV-1000. I had read and watched a number of reviews and the DEV-1000 looked like a decent option. At a price point of only $89 I knew I wasn’t going to get top quality or special features. But, in this case, I was more interested in low price than top quality. I wanted something that would allow me to get some experience using sliders and then later, if needed, I can get a longer slider or one with more features.


At this point, I’ve done some testing and can report that I’m reasonably happy with it. There are a few problems but I’ve mostly been able to work around them. The most serious problem is that the carrier can wobble. Here’s a clip showing the extent of the wobbling:

As you can see, the amount of wobbling can be substantial, more than enough to ruin a shot. Even so, I’ve found that I can work around the problem simply by not exerting any force in the axis that would cause it to wobble. Here’s a shot of the carrier sliding smoothly without wobbling:

There’s also a shot below showing some footage taken using the DEV-1000 and, as you’ll see, there’s no wobbling (forward and backward). Still, the wobbling is a problem and not the sort of thing that most people would accept in a piece of professional gear.

Tensioner Screw: Either On or Off

One thing that occurred to me to try to stop the wobbling was to tighten the tensioner screw on the carriage. That didn’t work. By the time I tightened the screw enough to prevent wobbling it was impossible to move the carriage, at least, with any smoothness. This speaks to a problem with the tensioner screw itself.

The only the thing the screw is good for is to lock down the carriage completely. At times, that’s both necessary and useful but it means you can’t adjust the tension to fine tune the amount of force needed to move the carriage. As soon as you tighten the tensioner the carriage sticks. There’s really no usable amount of tension greater than none.

Mounting Hardware

Glide Gear Slider Carriage with Mounting Hardware

Glide Gear Slider Carriage with Mounting Hardware

The final problem I’ve encountered is with the mounting hardware. As provided, there’s a ¼" bolt that you can use to attach a camera directly to the carriage. Of course, that’s not very useful. Usually, you’ll want to attach some kind of tripod head to the carriage and then mount the camera on the head.

Since most heads are built to screw onto a 3/8" stud the DEV-1000 slider comes with a bushing that can be screwed onto the ¼" stud. This does work—until the time you remove the head to switch to a different one or to use the head on some other piece of gear. What happens is that the bushing comes off the slider stud and is instead screwed into the head. And, if you had securely screwed the head onto the slider the bushing ends up being screwed pretty tightly into the head.

Ball head with 3/8" bushing

Ball head with 3/8″ bushing (click image to see larger)

This is a particular problem because the bushing is then difficult to remove from the head. As you can see in the photo, the bushing has a slot that allows it to be unscrewed in a situation like this. But the problem is in finding a tool that will fit that slot. I have a pretty good collection of screwdrivers but none has a blade that is both wide enough to span the width of the slot and thin enough to fit into the slot.

Without a good tool it is impossible to remove the bushing so I started to look around for something other than a screwdriver. There’s probably some tool that’s designed for situations just like these but I don’t know what it is and I don’t have one. What I do have is an ancient metal shoehorn. The narrow end of the shoehorn is both wide enough to span most of the width of the bushing’s slot while also being thin enough to fit into it. That shoehorn was my ball head’s salvation—I was able to extract the bushing so that I could once again use that head on my tripod or monopod.

But if you don’t have an old metal shoehorn or a proper purpose-built tool you may have a problem with this slider. So, beware before tightening your tripod head onto this slider.

Another Glide Gear DEV-1000 Slider Workaround

1/4" to 3/8" adapter

1/4″ to 3/8″ adapter

This time my workaround was to order a little kit which contains a threaded screw adapter. The item that did the trick for me is the ¼" to 3/8" adapter. After screwing the adapter into the carriage I could then screw a ball head or fluid head onto the slider—and still be able to remove the adapter later.

I did have a bit of a problem screwing the adapter into the carriage. When I first tried, I met with substantial resistance after the first couple of turns. That was puzzling because if the threads had been mismatched I shouldn’t have been able to get as far as I did. In a case of mismatched threads you can usually tell pretty quickly that there’s a problem. But in this case, I was able to screw the adapter in a ways before encountering resistance.

In the end, I grabbed a pair of pliers and worked right through the resistance. Later, when I removed the adapter a couple of metal shavings came out. As far as I can tell, I haven’t actually damaged any threads. It seems to have been a case of poor machine work with either the adapter or the slider. I can’t say which.

The Proof of the Pudding

So, I now have a workable slider setup and have done a few practice shots. Here’s an example:

There’s some obvious lens distortion in this sequence that I would normally want to avoid but it shows the movement well enough. I still need to practice my technique some more but the motion looks good enough to me that I’ll be able to use the DEV-1000 slider for a while before needing something more expensive.

I do have another problem with clearance for my Manfrotto ball head’s knobs. My pan lock knob can’t be rotated all the way around without hitting the slider. Fortunately, the knob can be pulled out and rotated to clear the slider and then released in to continue tightening or loosening. But it’s a slow and tedious process. These are the kinds of things you only discover in actual practice and the type of thing I was expecting to learn with this inexpensive slider. Now, I have one more thing to look for when contemplating the purchase of my next slider.

Removing Unwanted Sounds with Adobe Audition

David Salahi Audio, Video Editing Leave a Comment

On a recent video shoot I had an audio problem with my monopod. What’s that you say? How does a monopod affect the audio? In my case, the problem was a sort of creaking noise it made when tilting or rolling from side to side. The problem was caused by friction in the ball at the foot of the monopod. Each time I moved it would make a small thumping noise as the motion started.

Video Monopod

It’s a new monopod and I was aware of the problem before the shoot. I had tried loosening the tension on the ball and I thought I’d loosened it enough that it wouldn’t be a problem. But, as I later discovered, I was wrong. It was an avoidable blunder which I could have prevented.

If I had been using an off-camera mike it wouldn’t have been a problem but I was shooting on location at the Camino Real Playhouse again and I needed the mobility.

When I got home and listened to the audio I found these fairly obtrusive creaking sounds in the soundtrack wherever I had made a rotating motion with the tripod. At first, I was worried that the noise was going to ruin the footage. Fortunately, I was able to remove the sound using the healing brush in Adobe Audition.

I’m a longtime Photoshop user and I make frequent use of its healing brush tool. But I was surprised a while back to learn that Audition also has a healing brush. And, like the Photoshop tool, the Audition healing brush is almost magical.

Removing Noise with Adobe Audition CC’s Spot Healing Brush Tool

By simply brushing with the spot healing brush you can often easily remove unwanted noise but there is a catch or two. First, you have to be able to identify the noise visually in Audition’s Spectral Frequency Display. In many cases, that’s not very hard. With this display it’s often easy to identify sounds that are different from the ambient sound and dialog. For example, a typical phone ringtone will usually show up quite clearly. But if your noise includes a broad spectrum of frequencies then it’s going to be harder.

In my case, the squeaking, creaking sound was easy to spot. One way to find the noise in the spectral frequency display is to look for an obvious visual pattern at the times where you hear the noise. Another way to home in on the noise is to take a guess at the frequencies it includes and look closely at those frequency bands.

In the video tutorial below I demonstrate the process I used to find and remove the noise.

After “fixing it in post” I went back to adjust the monopod to prevent any future repetitions of this noise. I fiddled with the tension/drag on the ball quite a bit but couldn’t get it to a point where the noise was gone without loosening it way too much. In the end, a squirt of WD40 was all that it needed. After that, I could tension the ball to get just the right amount of drag and still be rid of the offending noise.

Failed Kingston SSD

Kingston SSDs Down for the Count

David Salahi PC Leave a Comment

Failed Kingston SSD

Earlier this week my PC locked up hard again—another Kingston SSD failure. I’ve written before about my recent problems with Kingston SSDs (read about my first crash; and my second crash). I had hoped such crashes were behind me but, alas, on Monday this week the Kingston SSDNOW 300 that was my Windows system disk died. Like the first failure, this time the failure was complete. There was no reformatting and reinstalling. It’s as dead as a doornail.

I have a total of seven Kingston SSDs in two PCs that I’ve purchased over the past few years and, ironically, the earlier ones have always worked great. But I’ve now experienced three crashes with the newer Kingston SSDs within two months. I’m sorry, Kingston, but you’re now down for the count as far as I’m concerned.

On Monday, while I was waiting for my Carbonite restore to complete (more on Carbonite below) I posted a review of the Kingston SSD on Amazon. When a product works well I’m happy to post a positive review but when it fails I don’t pull my punches. I wrote a harsh, but fair, review on Amazon and the next day the review received a comment from a Kingston employee urging me to contact their tech support department. So, I did that. I called and spoke with someone who sounded very concerned. He asked me a number of questions, told me he would investigate the problem and get back to me. Two days later I haven’t heard anything back.

I have received approval of my RMA and an email just now says that my replacement SSD is on its way. Hopefully, this one will last longer than the previous one (which was just about five weeks).

Restoring my Failed SSD Using Carbonite

Since this is the third failure of my Windows system drive within two months I’m getting pretty good at restoring my drive. I’ve been using Carbonite’s Mirror Image feature to make automatic daily backups of my C: drive so that when a drive fails I can get right back to work with a minimum amount of distraction.

Carbonite has been working pretty well for me although it’s had its own issues (see my post Carbonite Pros and Cons). And this time around I discovered another problem with my Mirror Image backup. After my last failure & restore I had some trouble getting the Mirror Image backup process restarted so I called Carbonite tech support and they walked me through a procedure to get it going. Or so I thought.

It turns out that it wasn’t going at all. During the Carbonite restore process the most recent Mirror Image backup was from March 26—right before my last SSD failure. The Mirror Image process hadn’t done a single backup since then.

This situation was far from ideal but, admittedly, it was a lot better than having to reinstall Windows and all my software (which is a lot of software). And I guess I’ve been remiss in not checking up on Carbonite to see what it’s been up to (or not up to as the case may be). I’m sure checking it now and it claims it’s making daily snapshots of my Windows drive as expected. Even so, with Carbonite, I’m never quite sure. I’ve written previously about its balky user interface and that continues to be a source of irritation. Even so, it’s come through for me when I’ve really needed it. Switching to another solution would involve extra work and open my system up to new and unknown risks. So, I’ll stick with Carbonite for now. But I’m done with Kingston SSDs.

Panasonic Lumix GH4 Constant Preview

Lumix GH4 WYSIWIG Mode

David Salahi Gear Leave a Comment


One of the things I like about my Panasonic Lumix GH4 is the fact that the EVF display reflects my settings for ISO, aperture and shutter speed. I like to think of this as WYSIWIG mode (what you see is what you get). There was just one problem—it was only working that way when shooting video. When shooting stills the display was always about right regardless of how over or underexposed my settings might have been. Similarly, the histogram always showed the dynamic range to be more or less centered. It was never totally pushed to the left or right like you would expect if the settings were way off.

After repeatedly searching through all the menus I finally discovered the problem. My setting for Constant Preview was OFF. Switching it to ON made the EVF reflect the combination of exposure settings as I expect. Similarly, the histogram will now go off the chart if the exposure is wrong.

It’s nice to have the option to choose which behavior you prefer. However, I can’t think why Panasonic decided to call this feature Constant Preview. I think WYSIWIG mode is more apt. And I’m not sure why this is only an option for stills and not for video. But it’s fine with me since this is the behavior I prefer anyway.

choosing transitions while editing video

Style Serves Story

David Salahi Video Editing 2 Comments

choosing transitions while editing video

A common bit of advice to new filmmakers is to eschew dissolves, wipes and other fancy transitions. Instead, experts recommend using the simple jump cut for most purposes. I don’t wish to dispute this advice. I think that, in general, it’s sound advice. Inappropriate or excessive use of elaborate transitions can distract and detract from the story. Still, I think the answer to the question of whether to use creative transitions on a particular piece is: it depends.

It’s certainly true that if you watch top quality films and shows produced by professionals what you see is mostly straight jump cuts. But I do think there are times when the use of other transitions can be appropriate and can work better. Recently, while working on a series of videos for the Camino Real Playhouse I’ve often had creative ideas that initially seemed like good ones.  But sometimes, upon reflection, I’ve realized these ideas would not be right for the project.

Using Dissolves for The Diary of Anne Frank

For example, while working on some videos for the playhouse’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank I had several ideas about the use of transitions and other showy visual techniques. I had thought that certain of these techniques might help to heighten the drama. But, after thinking about it, I decided that this material about the Holocaust required a more sober, respectful treatment.

Even so, I did decide to use dissolves rather than jump cuts. There were two reasons for this choice. First, I was assembling several sequences to be used as promotional trailers. This was not a situation where one scene immediately follows the previous one as in a traditional narrative story. These were disconnected scenes, often out of time order, that I was trying to combine into a theme. I wanted to insert a beat between each pair of scenes to allow the viewer to mentally leave the previous scene and enter the next one.

The other reason I chose to use the film dissolve transition is that it was frequently impossible to find an appropriate point to abruptly begin or end a clip. While shooting the performances I had no control over takes. I was just capturing live whatever the actors were doing. So, the action frequently flows directly from one line to another without a pause where I might need one. The dissolve enabled me to more gracefully transition between clips.

Using Wacky Transitions for a Farce

By contrast, in my videos for the comedy Happy Birthday I chose to use some very loud and in-your-face transitions. Being a farce, the play is inherently wacky and over the top. In this instance, I felt that using playful transitions with a lot of movement would help communicate the frenetic feel of the play while also conveying a bit of humor.

So, as with most rules, I don’t think we want to follow the jump cut rule slavishly. Style serves story and we want all of our creative choices working together to produce the desired effect. We just need to be thoughtful and make sure that our choices really do make for a better portrayal of our stories.

audio tracks in Adobe Audition

SmartSound Sonicfire Pro Royalty-Free Music

David Salahi Audio, Resources, Video Leave a Comment

audio tracks in Adobe Audition

Any experienced filmmaker will tell you how important high quality audio is to a film or video. And an important part of the soundtrack is the feeling that music can add. Big budget movies can afford a composer to create a custom soundtrack but most indie filmmakers have to make do with off-the-shelf music.

Fortunately, there are some excellent royalty-free music options available but one problem with most of them is that the tracks are a fixed length. If a track is 2:30 but you only need 30 seconds worth you have to try to find 30 seconds that will work and fade in/out just that part. This can lead to a lot of time spent trying to find the right part of a piece so you can extract just what you need. Or, it can lead to giving up and just using something that’s close but not quite right for the shot.

Some music services, like Premium Beat, offer snippets of 15, 30 and 60 second lengths in addition to the full tune which might be two or three minutes long. This can help but it’s still not ideal. In some cases, the editor may even have to adjust the length of a sequence to match the music.

What I’ve found to be a better alternative is the highly customizable music available from SmartSound. With the SmartSound Express Track software you can choose the exact length needed to match your shot or sequence. Here’s a screenshot showing a clip I created with a duration of 35 sec. and 12 frames:

custom music track length

The track is adjusted to exactly fit the specified time and it works automatically and seamlessly. As soon as you type in the time you can click the play button to preview the clip.

This custom length feature is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of customization. Note the Variation drop-down in the screenshot. This particular track has seven other variations on the theme. Just click to try the others. If you find one that’s close but doesn’t quite work for your sequence try the Mood drop-down. Here’s a screenshot showing the 11 different moods that are available for the selected track and variation.

choosing mood music

If you still can’t find a combination that’s just right for your needs there’s also a Mix button that allows you to customize the mix.

custom mix of the instruments on a music track

It gets better. Each tune is divided into multiple segments comprising the beginning, middle and ending parts. But it’s not just beginning, middle and end. There can be multiple middle parts which can be included or not depending on the specific length desired.

If that’s still not good enough you can fine-tune the parts manually. I’ve turned on manual timing control for the track below so you can see the various named parts: eerie, light, pulsating, etc. (Click on the image to pop up a larger version that’s easier to read.)

music arranging

You can adjust the start point of any section by clicking and dragging. This level of control goes beyond just fine-tuning the duration and allows for creative control of the parts of a track.

Oh, and did I mention that there’s a Tempo drop-down that allows you to change the tempo?

Finally, to add musical beats that sync to your action you can add hits using the Sonicfire Pro software. Choose the exact spot on your timeline where you want a cymbal swell, a drum beat, a whoosh or any of several other hit types.

customizing music with a hit track

Using these features and the Ambient Drama album I was able to generate a pretty highly customized soundtrack for my video. SmartSound music is not the same as having a composer but it provides an amazing degree of customizability for the price.


On Finding Passion

David Salahi My Journey Leave a Comment


Passion is elusive. At least, it can be in my experience. I had a grand passion once—it was sailing. One of the things I loved about it was the richness of the experience. I’ve never felt more alive than on the deck of a small sailboat.

Another thing I loved was the variety of things to learn. You start, of course, with sail & boat handling. By itself, that covers a lot of territory. And then one thing leads to another and many things overlap. For example, if you’re going learn boat handling in a sailboat you probably need to learn about handling under power as well as sail. Which means that it’s good to know something about boat engines. And if you’re going to go somewhere you need to know how to read a chart and navigate. There’s a wealth of information about navigation to learn (and I learned back before GPS; anyone remember dead reckoning?). If you have a thirst for knowledge you keep going: anchoring, weather, marlinespike seamanship, safety, first aid, boat maintenance, destinations & local conditions; the list goes on. You could go on learning for a lifetime and not cover everything. But eventually my interest wandered and my passion for sailing ran its course.

Off Santa Rosa Island

Last year when I semi-retired I had intended to pursue photography as a second career. I had been an amateur photographer for many years (there are some great photo ops out on the water) and I thought I would enjoy it as a new vocation. But an odd thing happened. Last summer as I worked my daily photo practice I kept looking for a genre of photography that really captivated me, something that I had a passion for. I had heard that you have to be passionate about your subject if you want to succeed. That made sense so as I was shooting a variety of subjects I kept my eyes open for something that really grabbed me.

And, oddly, I was having a hard time finding something. It’s not that I wasn’t having fun shooting and processing photos—I was. But I was on the lookout for some niche that particularly excited me, some special discipline or approach that I wanted to dive into deeply. But I was coming up short.


I was caught in the doldrums and felt a bit lost. Then, I discovered video & filmmaking. Like sailing, it’s a subject that is both wide and deep. First, there’s a great deal to learn about shooting video even if you’re already a competent photographer. Much is the same but much is also different. Beyond the technical questions film also has its own language, its own grammar.

The addition of time and motion greatly increases the complexity of shooting in the same way that the addition of altitude increases the difficulty of flying when compared with driving. With video the post-production process expands. Now, there is the business of arranging shots into sequences, titling, color grading and effects. There is audio, both voice and music. You work with others to a greater degree than in still photography; the list goes on.

As I’ve discovered these layers of complexity I’ve been drawn more and more into the world of filmmaking. There’s a wonderful opportunity for creativity and self-expression, things that I was looking for in photography and have found in spades within video.

It may be a bit early to declare that I’ve found a new grand passion. It’s possible that filmmaking is just a passing fancy. Passion can be elusive and only time will tell whether passion will be sustained. In the meantime, I’ll see where the winds will carry me.

Frame from the video: The Diary of Anne Frank

Videos from The Diary of Anne Frank

David Salahi Video Leave a Comment

This week I’ve been editing some footage I shot at the Camino Real Playhouse during the previous two weeks. The footage is from rehearsals of their upcoming production of The Diary of Anne Frank. I’ve started a YouTube playlist for the play; the playlist currently contains four short videos. Each of the videos features a theme such as “Irrepressible Anne,” or “Developing a Scene.”

I’ll be shooting the dress rehearsal on Thursday evening this week and will create some new videos to add to the playlist.

Technology and Unemployment

My New Video, “100% Unemployment,” is now on Vimeo

David Salahi Video 4 Comments

My new opinion/documentary video, 100% Unemployment, is now online at Vimeo. This 7-minute video looks at the increasing trend of displacement of workers by robots and smart machines. This trend is also leading to increased income inequality. But some people see the potential for a new renaissance in a world where no one needs to work. Could this be a real possibility? What would need to happen in order to make this a reality?

Watch the video. Then, learn more at

Crashed SSD Redux

David Salahi PC 1 Comment

For the second time in a month I’ve had an SSD failure. Both times the bad drive was a Kingston 240 GB SSD. The first time  the SSD was completely dead. I returned it to Kingston and received a warranty replacement.

With yesterday’s failure the drive was trashed but still functional. I tried booting from my Windows 7 disc and doing a repair but Windows repair didn’t recognize my system disc (the bad SSD).

So, I went back to my Carbonite Mirror Image backup to restore my system. The last time I had an SSD failure I was unable to boot from the Carbonite rescue disc (CD) and yesterday I had the same problem again. Fortunately, the last time, I was able to boot from the Mirror Image disk which is an external hard drive. This time around I tried booting from the external Mirror Image disk but was unable to make that work.

So, I got on the phone with Carbonite tech support. As before, I was quickly connected and after about 15 minutes with the tech support person she figured out a way to successfully boot the restore disc. It turns out that if you unplug the external Mirror Image hard disk when booting from the CD that allows the CD to boot. I’m not sure why that should be necessary but it makes all the difference.

At that point, I was able to take over the restore process. Three hours later my system was up and running. That’s not exactly speedy but I’ll take reliability over speed. It’s great having the security of a full system image to protect against failures like this one. It’s also great getting through to Carbonite tech support in less than five minutes. What’s not so great is Carbonite’s quirkiness. Booting into the restore software whether from CD or hard drive should not be something that requires a call to tech support. (I’m a knowledgeable PC user. I built this system from components.)

Another thing that’s not great is the flakiness of Carbonite’s InfoCenter. The InfoCenter is the dialog where you change your backup settings and monitor its status. As it happens, I tried to check my Mirror Image status yesterday morning. With all my recent problems I’ve been especially careful that way lately. But the InfoCenter was blank in the area where it’s supposed to display the Mirror Image status. I wrote about a similar problem previously. Happily, today, after yesterday’s restore, it’s displaying correctly. But the blank area yesterday made me a little nervous. I must have known an SSD failure was imminent.


One other thing that’s not great is two Kingston SSD failures in one month. Makes me feel like I’m walking on eggshells.