Robotic panning tools are nothing new, but Italian company ShooTools says they’ve designed an automated panning tool that has something a bit different: it’s compatible with any slider.
The AutoPan attaches to a slider in just two places. The bulk of the gadget connects via a universal 3/8″ hole, with the camera on top. A wire that extends up to ten feet then connects to one end of the slider. With the two universal connection points, AutoPan should (theoretically) work with any slider on the market to add consistent movement to video and time lapses.
Autopan can be used in two ways: hands-free with the software and wire controlling the motion, or manually sliding the camera in Async Mode while the computer takes on the task of keeping the subject in the frame.
While the hands-free option might be handy in a few less typical scenarios, the wired modes give the software complete control over the camera’s movement after the user sets the starting and stopping points. The Target Mode moves the camera along the slider while keeping the subject in focus and in the same portion of the composition, and, of course, there’s a panorama mode for capturing sweeping footage all calculated at the same pace. ShooTools also tossed in a spin mode that has a more unusual panning effect.
Using the AutoPan app or the buttons on the side of the AutoPan allows the user to set the different points — such as where to stop and start and where the subject is for Target Mode. By measuring that retractable cord hooked on one end of the slider, the Autopan software can determine how far it has moved.
Most motorized panning tools are pretty expensive, but if the universal aspect allows the AutoPan to sell for a lower price to that wider audience, ShooTool’s option could be a pretty enticing one. The official list price hasn’t been released yet, but a ShooTool representative said they expect to start shipping the AutoPan in September.