Back in 2011 I remember seeing a lot of my twitter friends mentioning a product called CineSkates.  It was an interesting idea taking a Joby Gorilla Pod and adding skateboard wheels to it making for a highly adjustable moving dolly for DSLR’s and light weight cameras.  The kickstarter campaign was highly successful and they exceeding their funding goal on the very first day.  This showed that there was clearly a market for such products and the company grew to offer other related products.

I met with Justin Jensen of Cinetics in Austin, TX where the company is based.  I was there for Masters In Motion where I was presenting High-Speed cameras for one of the workshops.  Each of the presenters was given a Cinetics CineSkates system which was a very nice gesture.  Looking at the system online does not do it any justice in comparison to actually getting it into your hands and putting a camera on it.  I will testify that it is a lot stronger than it looks and I was able to put a C300 camera on the system with confidence although I am sure it was originally intended for DSLRs.

A great feature of the system is the quickly removable feet options.  You can go from Suction cup feet (CineSquid feet), to CineSkate wheels, to CineVise feet in seconds.  Each has its own application and extends the Gorilla Pod’s original design with the various application feet. I mounted all three CineSquid suction cup feet and stuck it to my counter top expecting that they would not hold very well.  A good of force is required for this to fail.  I was unable to dislodge the system by pulling on it from almost every direction which says a lot.  Now mind you, I did not mount this system to a windshield or on a car hood, but I am considering trying it with a DSLR. The CineSquids are rated at 5lbs each but this is grossly underrated based on my tests, especially on clean flat glass.  Applying a small amount of moisture on the suction cups also completed a well bonded seal on most non porous surfaces.

Normally on auto spots we use a hostess tray for driver or passenger door shots.  For hood shots its usually a custom rig involving industrial 6-10″ suction mounts with a lot of webbing tethers, etc.  I have been using Kessler CineSlider’s with Manfrotto or FilmTools suction cup mounts for the past two years for moco hood shots however I can see a few applications for using the CineSquid system with some braided tethers for simple easy last minute shots, etc.  I will do a few tests this spring but It looks like it will work fine.

The CineVise claps are a prototype but after testing them I can’t imagine they will change much if at all on the release version.  The benefit of extending the feet as mounting options instead of using the legs of the Gorilla Pod to wrap around an object you can use the CineVise clamps or CineSquid suction cups and keep all the articulation you need. They feature kip levers so tightening them to the Gorilla pod is quick and easy. The vise surfaces feature a rubber on all contact points so you will not mar or ruin whatever you are clamping too.  This is a nice feature and I am glad they did this rather than just notching.  These also have a bit more than 2.5″ of clamping surface to work with so you can mount them to almost anything like a railing, countertop, 2×4’s, etc.

The Cinetics SkatePlate is a small compact folding micro dolly that has allows you to mount the CineSkate system to it to basically give you a mini tripod and dolly.  This is great for counter-top shots and low angle ground shots if the terrain is applicable.  Personally I have not found a product like it in the price range.  Normally a skate type dolly is at least a thousand dollars so this is a great option for anyone who likes to travel light and is on a budget.  There is indexing marks on the wheel connections that show you which way the wheels need to be aligned to get a rotation, left to right and forward to back shots.  Nice an simple.  There is also a 1/4-20″ mount in the middle of the SkatePlate allowing for the mounting of the Joby ball head or other third party accessories like quick release or cheese-plate.

Top of the CineSkate micro dolly

Bottom view showing adjust / fold-ability options

Overall I think the Cinetics system is pretty fantastic for low budget shooting and problem solving.  You really can’t find anything close to it for the money and its a fairly complete system for an unheard of price.  They have a few different bundles for your needs but I would definitely consider looking at the CineSystem bundle as it gives you the most for your dollar.  Here is what it contains.

Cine System is the whole Cinetics package for your camera mounting and dollying needs in one ready-to-roll kit. The system can support cameras up to 5kg (11 lbs) and includes: CineSkates, CineSquid, SkatePlate, GorillaPod Focus, Ballhead X

  • CineSkates™ are a set of three wheels that quickly attach to a tripod and enable filmmakers to capture fluid, moving video footage without lugging heavy gear. CineSkates with Focus can support cameras up to 2.3kg (5 lbs). SkatePlate attaches to increase the weight capacity to 5kg (11 lbs).
  • CineSquid™ suction cups attach to contoured, multi-level surfaces, and can be manipulated after the suction cups are mounted. The triple suction cup design ensures CineSquid will not lose its grip. CineSquid can support cameras up to 2.3kg (5 lbs).
  • SkatePlate is a frame for products with Cinetics Connect, like CineSkates and CineSquid. It has a retractable quick-set-up design that can support the heaviest cameras.
  • GorillaPod Focus is a flexible tripod with aluminum construction. It supports camera weighing up to 5kg (11 lbs).
  • Ballhead X is a solid ball mount with an Arca style quick-release plate. It supports camera weighing up to 5kg (11 lbs).

You get all this for $469.95 on the Cinetics store and its a great value, especially for if you are just starting out.

If you have any questions on the system or would like to see any tests for an application you might have feel free to email me ( mike at MNS1974 dot com ) or catch me on twitter

Michael Sutton @MNS1974

Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.