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DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Dolly and Track System    

One of my tools for production is a dolly and track system I built from scratch. The design was inspired by a design by Hollywood Cinematographer and Director Ron Dexter.

A dolly holds a tripod and either runs on the floor or runs on track. The track dolly has the advantage of all-terrain use. A non-track dolly needs very smooth ground to insure vibrations aren't introduced into the camera's image (camera instability). By using a track, you can create a smooth running surface, such as in a gravel road, thereby allowing the filmmaker to accomplish nice tracking shots in all terrain.

Another flaw of many commercial dollies, such as the popular D-10 model shown here by Velbon, is that they use casters as wheels. This means that if you wish to do a track to the left, followed by a track to the right, the wheels usually catch as the change direction. Anyone that's ever used a grocery store's shopping cart and moved it forward and then backward knows what this issue is.

The next sections will describe how I constructed my track and dolly system. If you choose to build any thing you have seen on this site, be sure to take all necessary safety precautions including the use of safety glasses.




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