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Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

Old 04-07-09, 08:23 PM
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Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

I was looking into constructing a camcorder dolly and was wondering if you people had any suggestions. I've seen plenty of designs online but I want to hear from people who've actually built one. Most of the ones I've seen are pvc pipe and skate wheels which seems like a pretty affordable solution. I'd even be willing to buy one if somebody has one they don't use anymore.
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Old 04-07-09, 08:47 PM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

No I haven't, and stop calling me Dolly.
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Old 04-07-09, 09:24 PM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

I'm interested in this.
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Old 04-07-09, 10:40 PM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

No. But what are you using it for? Any special needs? After selling parts, rigging my own equipment, etc. for six-or-so years, I'm good with that stuff.

You could probably use surplus parts (eBay, etc.) and make a nicer one than you think. Not to, erm, plug my own business - but I stock several thousand replacement parts (from threaded steel rods to advanced logic controls). Could probably put something together with some effort.

Sounds like a fun job.
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Old 04-07-09, 10:51 PM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

Oh, and what's your expected cost? It looks like people sell them on eBay for relatively cheap. But, like I said before, I bet that you could spend a day building a much better unit for around the same price.
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Old 04-07-09, 10:58 PM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

Jean-Luc Goddard pushed his cinematographer around in a wheelchair to film a few scenes of Breathless.
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Old 04-07-09, 11:28 PM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

Originally Posted by dogmatica View Post
Jean-Luc Goddard pushed his cinematographer around in a wheelchair to film a few scenes of Breathless.
Never knew that about Goddard but I was gonna mention the same method.

A few years ago a co-worker/friend and I had been talking about making a movie and I suggested using a wheelchair for some shots we were planning. He went to the swap meet and found one for $20. We did some experimenting in Balboa Park and down some streets in Hillcrest... with me pushing . While not perfect, it did do a decent job.
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Old 04-07-09, 11:46 PM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

Originally Posted by dogmatica View Post
Jean-Luc Goddard pushed his cinematographer around in a wheelchair to film a few scenes of Breathless.
You just reminded me of a movie, but I can't think of what it is, and I know I'm gonna kick myself when I'm reminded. What's the movie where someone is having their wedding filmed, and the camera person starts coming down the aisle in a squeaky shopping cart?
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Old 04-08-09, 01:18 AM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

Originally Posted by troystiffler View Post
No. But what are you using it for? Any special needs? After selling parts, rigging my own equipment, etc. for six-or-so years, I'm good with that stuff.

You could probably use surplus parts (eBay, etc.) and make a nicer one than you think. Not to, erm, plug my own business - but I stock several thousand replacement parts (from threaded steel rods to advanced logic controls). Could probably put something together with some effort.

Sounds like a fun job.
I was hoping to keep it under $100. I didn't really see any on ebay, only professional setups. What is it that you do? Maybe I could bribe you to build me one?
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Old 04-08-09, 06:54 AM
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The Indy Mogul podcast is a great resource for doing anything like this on the cheap.

Here's the two dolly build episodes I could find:
http://www.indymogul.com/backyard-fx...e/BFX_20080324
http://www.indymogul.com/backyard-fx...e/BFX_20080623
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Old 04-08-09, 11:00 AM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

I actually made a camera dolly as a science fair project my senior year in high school... Best part? somehow made it all the way to internationals with it

ww w.jorenclark.com/studentfilms/dolly/dolly.html (remove space)

Used this site as a guide, everything worked extremely well and was relatively cheap (getting wheels being the most difficult part). Only downside is you can't make a curve in the track without doing some major adjustments to the wheels.
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Old 04-08-09, 11:19 AM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

Filmshoots I've worked on have used wheelchairs with great success. I've used a shopping cart once, but you need a good chunk of preroll because it takes a little bit to get up to speed.

But last weekend, I worked on a shoot that used basically a rectangle of wood with four wheel bases underneath. The wheel bases were composed of two wheels at 90 degree angle which snugly sat on thick hollow metal pipes. The two metal pipes had rigid bars screwed in and running between them to keep them constantly at the same distance from each other. Of course, the wood was large enough for tripod and camera plus DP. Very easy to build. Don't know how much wheels are, but I imagine the whole thing is very cheap.

Best part is... if you build a real quality rig, you can rent it out to independent film shoots.
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Old 04-08-09, 11:36 AM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

Originally Posted by TLwizard View Post
But last weekend, I worked on a shoot that used basically a rectangle of wood with four wheel bases underneath. The wheel bases were composed of two wheels at 90 degree angle which snugly sat on thick hollow metal pipes. The two metal pipes had rigid bars screwed in and running between them to keep them constantly at the same distance from each other. Of course, the wood was large enough for tripod and camera plus DP. Very easy to build. Don't know how much wheels are, but I imagine the whole thing is very cheap.
This but with PVC Pipe and broom sticks to connect the pipes together.
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Old 04-08-09, 10:41 PM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

http://www.softweigh.com/video/diy.html
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Old 04-09-09, 04:52 AM
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Re: Anyone ever build their own camcorder dolly?

Originally Posted by RyoHazuki View Post
I was hoping to keep it under $100. I didn't really see any on ebay, only professional setups. What is it that you do? Maybe I could bribe you to build me one?
Sure. You don't have to bribe me. I'll gladly contribute. So what are you doing with it? Just something with friends? School?

I have a 'surplus sales' company in Chandler. As for what I do, I do everything.

You can email me at [email protected]. I check my emails there once-or-twice a day.
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