Founded in New Zealand, Syrp became a household name for filmmakers with its innovative Syrp Genie motion control system. It was made to be compatible with any slider, but Syrp also released a barebones slider - the original Magic Carpet - designed specifically to work with the Genie.
The original Magic Carpet was a perfectly fine standalone slider, but the new Magic Carpet Pro is on an entirely different level. Built to accept camera loads up to 70 lbs, with an integrated flywheel, infinately extendable track, and with native support of Syrp’s motion control systems, this is a slider that can handle a vast variety of filmmaking scenarios.
For our review, we tested the Syrp Magic Carpet Pro Short + Medium Combo Kit. We found it to be an innovative and highly durable slider system, with many little details that were designed by people who seem to know intuitively the pain points that many of us video producers come across daily when using sliders.
There are quite a few sliders on the market today, some that also have adjustable track lengths, flywheels, and motorized accessories. Rhino, Cinevate, and the iFootage Shark Slider have nearly perfected the slider system for DSLR, mirrorless, and cinema camera shooters. So Syrp is up against some heavy competition from the get go.
But what Syrp is providing with the Magic Carpet Pro is a long-term, customizable slider system that joins a larger ecosystem of Syrp creative filmmaking tools. And it’s a welcome treat when you know a gear purchase is a long-term investment that will allow you to expand your filmmaking arsenal long after you buy a slider.
Syrp Magic Carpet Pro Combo Kit: 3 sliders in one
The Syrp Magic Carpet Pro comes in a variety of track lengths, but if you get the Short + Medium Combo Kit, you really get 3 sliders in one.
The carriage can be used on the 2-foot track, 3-foot track, or combined into a 5-foot slider. The end caps are quickly removeable without tools, allowing you to switch tracks on the spot.
That versatility makes it very attractive for video producers who come across different shooting needs during the course of their filmmaking projects. For us, there are times when a 3-foot slider is the perfect length, but sometimes we want a 2-foot portable slider to stick on top of a tripod. Or to be able to pack into a small suitcase.
The carriage has a built-in flywheel that works equally well in any track length. And if you desire an even longer track - for timelapses or wide master shots - you can add more track extensions.
The flywheel can also easily be pushed to the off position when you want to conduct long timelapse shots, or execute a fast slide during slow motion recording. That will give you a noticeable slider motion even when your footage is slowed down.
The flywheel has a weight resistance that smooths out the sliding motion for any camera weight. Normally, the heavier the camera, the more smooth a slide becomes, but that also requires more support to alleviate horizon flex. With the flywheel, you can use just about any light or heavy DSLR, mirrorless, or cinema camera and get a steady slide from end to end.
Syrp Magic Carpet Pro Slider Test
In a brief test, we went out to the local university and shot a variety of slide shots with the 2-foot track on top of a lightweight Gitzo flat base tripod.
We used a Manfrotto 394 Quick Release between the tripod and the slider, and basic Manfrotto 701HDV fluid heads. It’s not an ideal setup, since the quick release plate and lightweight fluid heads cause flex and a shifting horizon, but it worked in a pinch.
For most cases, we like to use a dedicated, cheap video tripod that goes in the slider kit. A half ball sits at the bottom of the slider, so the leveler handle can quickly screw into the half ball. That creates the least amount of slider horizon flex if you’re just using one tripod in the center of the slider.
For this short test, however, we just went out with what we had on hand, and the Magic Carpet Pro worked brilliantly. We were able to take the slider off the tripod quickly and adjust the legs to sit on the ground. We could rotate the tripod head using the Syrp quick release plate, rather than unlock the fluid head pan on top of the slider (more on that in a bit), for forward-backward motion
And we were able to add the additional track extensions and get 5-foot slides - with a flywheel for smooth motion - without much fuss. To use the 5-foot slider you either need to place it on the ground or attach two tripods or light stands to either end. We used it on the ground for this video.
Syrp Magic Carpet Pro 5 Foot Slider
By connecting the 2-foot and 3-foot tracks together, you get a 5-foot slider that has all the properties of a small camera slider, with some of the benefits that come with traditional dollies.
For example, you could use the 5-foot track to shoot a long, slow slide during a narrative or directed docu-style scene, for a nice wide master shot that extends long past the typical few seconds we’re accustomed to with short sliders.
The benefit of a traditional dolly track is that you can use a single tripod that rolls along the track, so your camera can sit as high as you need it. With the Magic Carpet long track, you would need to set it on two tripods or two light stands, or shoot the scene from ground level or on a table top.
And although the flywheel does make a 5-foot slide much more do-able than ever before, it’s not guaranteed that your shot speed and smoothness will stay totally consistent from one end to another. It takes a bit for the flywheel to “catch,” and the moment where the flywheel is activated, the slider motion changes speed, so you can’t use any of the shot beforehand.
Still, the fact that we were able to walk around with just a camera and a 5-foot dolly, with just one person carrying everything, setup quickly and take a long shot without fuss, is really amazing considering even short sliders were a pain to use a couple years ago.
We think where the 5-foot track really comes in handy is for motorized timelapses, which is precisely what Syrp is known for. With motionlapse, the longer the track the more of the timelapse you have to work with. And the more dramatic the movement through the timelapse space, the more dynamic the shot becomes.
Compared to our smallest motion timelapse kit, the Edelkrone SliderOne Pro, you can imagine how much more engaging a motorized timelapse will become.
The Syrp endcaps have very easy to use and adjust legs if you’re setting up the track on the ground or on a surface. The feet also rotate for precision leveling.
Alternatively, you can get away with using a couple portable lightstands on each end, or you can add a third lightstand in the middle if you want more stability. We used the Manfrotto Nanostand on either end of the slider, and they work brilliantly since they have 3/8 and 1/4-20 threads built into them.
Syrp Magic Carpet Pro Build Quality
One of the first things we noticed about the Syrp Magic Carpet Pro is the pristine build quality. The slider tracks are made out of high-strength aluminum alloy, everything is adjustable without requiring tools, and the components all feel like they are durable enough to withstand harsh temperatures and conditions.
We shot our test slides in sub freezing temperatures with rain and snow coming down, and didn’t notice any slippage or wear.
The one thing to note is the Magic Carpet Pro is not a super lightweight slider. The 2 foot track is 3.7 lbs, and the 3 foot track with the carriage is 5.5 lbs, in addition to the carriage which is 1.2 lbs. The short track will fit into most standard luggage, but you can’t break it down into rods and connector plates like you might be used to with other sliders.
Along the lines of build quality, the most noticable part of the whole Magic Carpet Pro system is the attention to detail when it comes to design and execution.
Syrp strives to manufacture filmmaking tools that bridge the gap between design and utility. And we can only assume they have a few working filmmakers on their team, since much of the design speaks to what we filmmakers want, rather than simply nice-looking components.
First, the Quick Release plate in the center of the carriage is a thing of beauty. Like all Syrp products, the top of it is made of cork, which enables more solid connection and easier release than a metal-to-metal plate.
When the QR plate is removed, with the push of a button, you can also adjust some of the slider tension, if over the span of use you find the carriage needs a slight adjustment.
Inside the QR plate, there is a removable 1/4-20 thread to go into your camera or your custom quick release system. But if you need a 3/8 system, you can swap it out quickly with the push of a button. Syrp includes both the 1/4-20 and 3/8 QR connections, which they conveniently screw into one of the end caps.
But what is most genius about this QR system is the ability to lock and unlock the round QR plate, and rotate the camera. How many times have you wanted to switch from sliding side to side, to shooting a back to front slide, but you either had to unscrew the camera or figure out how to unlock and re-lock the fluid head?
Honestly, this little piece of design won us over big time. In our slider test, we were able to move from side-to-side to back-to-front slider shots incredibly quickly, without having to mess with the fluid head or camera connection. It was as simple as unlocking the Syrp QR plate, rotating it 45 degrees, locking it, and then beginning the shot.
Another design feature is the inclusion of a little counterbalance wheel. If you are using the slider on one tripod, you can attach weights to either end of the slider and wrap a string around the counterbalance wheel. How cool is that?
For timelapse and motionlapse, the Syrp Magic Carpet Pro has built-in connections for you to thread the Syrp Genie string through, which makes it very easy to transition from a video slide to a photo timelapse.
But to us the most notable feature of this whole system is the fact that all the parts are tool-less. Adjusting the feet, track extensions, threads, QR plate, counterbalance, and so on. In the field, it’s inevitable that you can never remember where you left your screw drivers, or allen wrenches. With the Magic Carpet Pro, you don’t need to worry about that.
Syrp Magic Carpet Case and Packaging
The Syrp Magic Carpet Pro Kit comes with a carrying case for both the 2 foot and 3 foot tracks. They have soft padding, velcro track holders, and handles as well as straps when you need to carry them on your shoulder.
And although we don’t usually comment on packaging design, which is a nice feature but doesn’t influence our take on the gear itself, we were very impressed with the way in which Syrp packages all their products.
From the slider, to the Genie and Genie Mini, to the Syrp Turntable, each piece comes in a very nicely designed cardboard package that hints that Syrp cares about their products from delivery to use. A few university graphic design students even went out of their way to comment on how impressive the Syrp packaging is.
Additionally, all Syrp products come with nicely designed, printed instruction manuals. We usually throw these kinds of printouts away, but in the case of Syrp’s manuals, including the Magic Carpet Pro, they are so well thought-of that we ended up keeping them around for reference and for training new users on the system.
Using the Syrp Magic Carpet Pro
We’ve used the Syrp Magic Carpet Pro Combo Kit for a few months now, and we’ve loaned it out to others to try as well, for both video slides as well as motion timelapse.
The feedback from everyone is that this is a highly impressive slider system that is really easy to use, and versatile for a variety of needs. It’s only when you use a slider a few dozen times, screwing in the camera support and fluid head, unlocking the break and executing slides, that you really get to know how filmmaker-friendly a slider really is.
For us and the folks who have been using the Magic Carpet Pro, we’re all very pleased and have no complaints. It does take a few minutes to learn how all the pieces come together, including the QR plate, track extensions, end caps, and the Syrp Genie and Genie Mini, but Syrp has very simple how-to videos on their Youtube channel that make the learning curve quick and easy.
Motion Control Timelapse with Syrp Genie and Mini
Although the Syrp Magic Carpet Pro is an excellent camera slider on its own, we would be remiss to say how useful it is in conjunction with Syrp’s Genie, Genie Mini, and their brand new Genie 2 motion control system.
The parts all work so fluidly together that it makes investing in the Magic Carpet slider just one step in the natural direction of buying into the Syrp ecosystem. It can be a little costly to buy everything all at once, but you can add pieces individually as you come across projects that require different components.
For us, we find we need a 2-foot slider several times a week, and a 3-foot slider for more commercial or delibrate shoots. Then, when we need a motion control timelapse, we can choose either track or combine them into a 5-foot long motorized timelapse.
When we are traveling or hiking, we can use the Genie Mini for simple panning timelapses. And back in the studio, we can use the Syrp Turntable for product shots in regular or slow motion.
And if we want it all, we can put two Genie Mini’s together for a 3-axis movement on top of the original Genie, or we could invest in the Syrp Genie 2 for those advanced movements, along with their new smartphone app.
That’s the beauty of buying into a slider system that is part of a larger ecosystem - you’re not just getting a slider. You’re getting a base for an infinate amount of shots, especially now that you can extend the Magic Carpet Pro track to whatever length you desire.
Syrp Magic Carpet Pro Short + Medium Combo Kit - Check price at B&H Photo Video