Where to start with a do it yourself homemade project – especially one like dolly for DSLR camera – that everyone will be able to judge at the end, not only as a tool but also through videos it helps create?
As many out there, I’m also impressed with timelapses made by smooth moving DSLR cameras eider capturing high quality photos or high definition videos. Camera sliders and dollies are used as a tool to move camera while shooting photos or video, often having the WOW effect as result. Once you see one of great videos out there obvious way to go is to choose among models made by dolly manufacturers, some of who I’ll list bellow. Numerous models are available to choose from, suitable for probably any situation you may want to work in. That’s the easiest way to go.
Other option is to do it yourself, assuming that you have a solid selection of tools and a material that can be transformed into useful components. Of course, handyman in the house would be also good to have. For my first dolly with manual slider I decided to look around my garage and see if I can give another life to whatever I find. In this case to an aluminum pipe, PC power supply, roller skate bearings etc.
Since this dolly/slider was (still is) a home project, I though that if I need to spend money on material or tools it would be easier to buy, lower end, less expensive, manual dolly. Also, important factors, as with anything else, are time and patience. Remember, this is a home project and there is no need to rush. Dolly you are reading about is, so far, month long project that I go back to once a week for an hour here and there.
As with anything else, it’s important to plan ahead, as much as you can. Draw a plan that is integrating available material. Draw assembly plans, count number of individual pieces you need and write numbers down, take notes of your ideas, measure and remeasure. Think about different ways you could implement ideas, how will different parts interact, how will you use it, what else you could add in the future, what are pros and cons by doing things one way or another. When you think you went through it all draw a final – hopefully bug free – concept and start building.
Since this dolly with manual slider is still ongoing project I will get back to it, if there is any interest, in the near future, explaining in detail how I did it and what would I do differently second time around. In that case, I’ll list all the material I have used. Price? As already explained, material cost was close to nothing except for some screws and with good planing time consumed did not make me regret starting this project.
Short test HD video shoot with DSLR camera on a half done slider/dolly;
This dolly has been used to shoot few scenes in Blueberry Lake Resort video but keep in mind that temperature was -17 degrees Celsius.
Dolly / slider manufacturers;
Did you make a dolly / slider? Share it in the comments. Thanks!