Kessler Second Shooter Test

November 13, 2014  •  1 Comment

So this is my Kessler Second Shooter test, done just minutes after I received the box.  A little background...I had been reading about the Second Shooter since the product was announced.  I was intrigued by the idea of it...a small motion control system that doesn't require any programming, can be set up in minutes, and can basically function as a, well, second shooter on interviews.  It can also serve double duty as a timelapse system. I waited for the first batch to go out and have since read some good reviews.  So when I learned they were releasing the second batch, I was one of the first to buy it.  I got the 3-axis version, so I could pan/tilt/slide when doing interviews from a second camera position.  I realized in hind sight that I could have also really used it on a broll shoot I did yesterday where I painstakingly did moves on artwork hanging in a customer's home.  2 out of three of my "hand" moves were busts, and this would have allowed me to set up a move and nail it the first I would have been better able to solely focus on the focus, which is tricky when you're using a 100mm macro and other close focus lensing.  Anyway, I digress.

I just received mine yesterday, and literally 20 minutes after opening the box I was up and running.  Seriously.  Not complicated at all.  I wanted to do some quick tests, much to the admonishment of my wife who was just about ready to have us sit down for dinner.  So I decided to shoot dinner.  I apologize in advance of the poor subject matter.  But it ended up being a good test.

Here's the setup (took like 20 minutes to unpack and get to this point).  It takes 3 network for each function (pan/tilt/slide, provided).  I have the Philip Bloom slider, and they provided the proper motor mount.  That was really easy to use.

I powered up the controller and was immediately comfortable with the menu and options.  I quickly found myself doing manual moves back and forth on the track.

I did think the sound of the motor was a little loud, but I decided to press on thinking that I would never be moving down the slider at such break neck speed.  After adjusting the speed to a much lower percentage (rpm), it was indeed quieter, but there was still a whirring sound that I thought might be picked up on mics that were in a near proximity.  Then I remembered that they send a "high torque" gear.  So I switched the standard one out with that one, and that did the trick (that's the one pictured).  Essentially, it's able to spin at a lower rpm while still accomplishing the same slider speed.  Noise problem solved.

Video moves were easy to set up and loop.  Once you figure out the ramp percentages, it's pretty easy to decide what to do for your shot.  I chose 1 minute and 10 seconds on the move, with a 20% ramp up/down.  Here's the one I did while we ate.  I apologize for the artsy B&W, but I forgot to turn off AWB on the 5D and that was even uglier.


And here's the timlapse using the same move, but with an 8 minute or so duration of 1 sec shutters, every 3 seconds.  Or something like that.  ;)  Like another reviewer said, I wish the timelapse function allowed you to not have to do so much math.  But then again, half of the fun is trying to figure that stuff out.  I was happy that they included a trigger cable for my 5D Mark III for this function.

All in all, I couldn't be happier with the price/features of the Kessler Second Shooter, and how easy it was to setup and use.  I'll give it a proper video test next week when I'm scheduled to do a two camera interview.  Two thumbs up so far!  As my wife said, "You're like a kid in a candy store with this stuff".


Interesting. Thanks. But I wonder if the noise of teh system is OK specially for shooting concerts for example. Do you have a small video-sample of the running second shooter - maybe in a more faster mode? - I don't find anything in the web. Thanks in advance.
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