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lightweight dolly

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falk eggertlightweight dolly
by on Oct 3, 2009 at 4:53:13 pm

Hi All,
I am doing quite a bit of corporate work and am looking for a portable dolly system that is lightweight and durable. I need to do vibration free shots to enhance the value of my production. I have seen a few systems on the web, but would appreciate any input about a cost effective solution.


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Bill DavisRe: lightweight dolly
by on Oct 4, 2009 at 7:44:20 am

Personally, I've never owned a track and dolly system, and likely never will.

In the time it typically takes to assemble, level light and capture a single dolly shot, I can get two to four traditional shots.

Dolly shots are, in my experience, more typically seen in commercials where long set-ups per short shot is the standard.

That said I have ALL my gear - including my key lights, video village, and the primary camera tripod on wheels which makes for efficient moves between locations. Those wheels are OK for some basic limited dolly type moves.

Also effective and super cheap is to use a shopping cart. (selected carefully for a rare lack wobbly wheels!) Particularly a shopping cart with a cushion and a kneeling junior videographer inside. You can get some very nice tracking shots that way and it takes a fraction of the time to set up a shot like that than it does for laying traditional track.

In short, track and dolly systems are a costly luxury that most programs don't really need. For the exceptions- rent the gear and pay someone who works with them regularly - you'll get MUCH better results that way than trying to own and operate something like this yourself.

My 2 cents worth anyway.

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falk eggertRe: lightweight dolly
by on Oct 4, 2009 at 10:58:28 am

Thanks Bill,

I couldnt agree more about the waste of time that one spends setting up and levelling dollies that need a huge crew to operate.

I saw one on a site called , which promises a setup of five minutes or less. Now that sounds interesting, although I'd love to hear from someone who has actually used one. (Are you familiar with this brand?)

Thanks for your input, its much appreciated.


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Mike CohenRe: lightweight dolly
by on Oct 4, 2009 at 8:13:55 pm

Get a wheelchair. You can use it to carry your gear, it folds up and has really big wheels. You need two people, one person to hold the camera and one person to push or pull the chair, but it works.

What kinds of shots would you use this cheap dolly system for?

Mike Cohen

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Mark SuszkoRe: lightweight dolly
by on Oct 5, 2009 at 2:52:51 pm

I would just rent a dolly for the specific times I needed it. If there are no rentals like that available where you are, I suggest the Cinekinetic dolly products line. You can get the whole rig, or just the wheels and trucks, and build the rest from local materials.

Lots of of folks these days have dropped dollies in favor of steadicams of one flavor or another, because they are more flexible in use. Trick there is not everybody is good at using them, and they tend to OVER-use them, and cheap is no bargain if it doesn't really work.

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falk eggertRe: lightweight dolly
by on Oct 7, 2009 at 9:26:30 am

Thanks Mark,

I need to setup pretty quickly and be ready to shoot, so i need a system that doesnt involve too much tweaking to level, it needs to pack down for travel, be light for the plane etc.... the traditional skateboard dolly is really not a success in my opinion, it takes too much time and always has a bump at the joins.

Renting is not that economical, I do a lot of TV lifestyle shows (also travel) so I need the thing every second day.

I like some of the glidetrack style systems, but because ii also work with full size cameras, i am starting to lean more and more to the type of system.

I appreciate your inputs, thanks again

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Bill DavisRe: lightweight dolly
by on Oct 8, 2009 at 5:01:54 am

Well, if you're bound and determined...

At most of the trade shows some years back, the Microdolly Hollywood guys seemed to have a reasonable system. Used chrome rods on bungee cords kinda like camping tent staves as the "track" and a small dolly on specialized wheels.

Haven't seen them advertised in a long time - and I have no personal experience with the system. But a web search might find them.

Good luck.

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falk eggertI finally bought my lightweight dolly
by on Jan 28, 2010 at 7:43:58 am

I have taken quite some time to commit to a dolly. I am in South Africa, so I had a limitation in terms of choice... imported equipment immediately costs anywhere from 20-50% more.

My requuirement has been a system which is light, for travel, easy to set up, requires no assistance, and durability.

I found a locally manufactured system, which comes packed into a single bag, is nice and robust and will handle anything from a 790 down to a Z1. I ended up buying a fly-dolly which is locally made. it cost about $1600, and so far has been worth every penny.

the shots are super steady, even with a large load on the track.

I can really recommend it to all fellow dolly users (admitedly its not a grips final choice, but if you are doing doc and corporate films or music videos, you will love it)


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falk eggertRe: lightweight dolly
by on Oct 7, 2009 at 9:20:27 am

mostly doc and corporate films....

the wheelchair is unfortunately not an option, I need to be able to fly with it, and arriving at a client with a wheelchair, may not go down too well. Unfortunately appearances do matter.

I like the fly-dolly, because it can accomodate any size camera and packs into a relatively small case.

thanks for your input


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Nick GriffinRe: lightweight dolly
by on Oct 11, 2009 at 9:56:26 pm

Sorry I'm late to this thread, but been out of town working.

We recently bought a Losmandy Spider Dolly and love it. Doing a 180 (or more) around a product (or person) is a really cool look.

First, it's track is a 40 foot long 2.5" thick piece of solid rubber. When configured as a "U" it gives roughly a 17+ ft run. And because it's rubber it can easily be shaped into a curve instead of a straight run. If a longer, say 40 ft run was needed, just buy a second rubber track. Your regular tripod sits on top of the "Spider" and is secured to it with tie downs. The front two wheel assemblies roll along the track and the back wheel assembly floats on its own pivot so setting the track distance doesn't need to be that exact -- a huge timesaver.

I really like the fact that curves can be configured on location and we're not carrying around a variety of tracks in order to have that option. The Spider dolly easily fits in a car along with other gear and can be carried and set up by one person. That's oh so much easier than renting a conventional dolly like a Fisher with its accompanying lift-gate truck full of tracks and leveling shims. (A Fisher booms using compressed air and the Spider Dolly, by itself, doesn't so that is one compromise.)

Initially I thought I would want to sand bag the tripod to make the shots more stable. Oddly enough, the Spider dolly seems smoother WITHOUT the sand bags.

And, saving the best for last, while I bought ours on eBay, brand new from the manufacturer the Losmandy Spider dolly is something like $1,200 -- this low cost of entry made it almost a no-brainer.

I'm a fan and shots that move greatly increase production value.

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Paul LykeRe: lightweight dolly
by on Nov 13, 2009 at 4:44:36 pm

I was in the same situation...wanted a dolly but couldn't stand the setup, bulk, cost, etc., so I designed my own this past year.

Been using it on my shoots and my clients love what it does for their footage. <a href=""></a>

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Gavin StroudRe: lightweight dolly
by on Jan 16, 2011 at 8:57:47 am

There is a lightweight dolly The build quality is by professionals and for professionals. This is new to market right now and we will be updating the site when we get more pics/vids for it

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