View Full Version : Tripod on wheels
2007 November 7th, 12:05
i keep having this idea that i can make the perfect dolly shots if i just
add some wheels to a tripod....and for smooth rolling, get some metal sheets.
the only problem i think that i think could occur is the rolling sound, and maybe a slight vibration in the shots.....
look at this video
i will try to make my own this week
and let you know how it works out!
2007 November 7th, 12:24
Check out this thread (http://www.hv20.com/showthread.php?t=3007): small swivel casters are handy for moving a loaded tripod from one place to another, but really aren't an effective substitute for a dolly.
You'd probably be better off building something like this (http://www.hv20.com/showthread.php?t=3492), or maybe this style (http://www.homebuiltstabilizers.com/MembersRigs/dollies/davidkeelersdolly/index.htm).
The pros normally use 3/4" plywood covered with 1/4" Masonite (hardboard) to make a "dance floor" for trackless dolly moves: it doesn't get as hot or slippery as metal and won't conduct electricity.
2007 November 7th, 12:42
I agree with what Erik has posted, though I will mention that the second style he linked to isn't nearly as stable as the larger platform style. The small track dolly that is designed around the triangle made by the feet of the tripod can produce decent footage, but when you're controlling the dolly move by pushing on the tripod it will never be as stable as pushing the platform itself to make the move.
They may be easier to use as a single shooter, but if you have an extra person that can act as a dolly grip, so you can ride along and focus just on the camera work you'll get much better shots. So long as you properly choreograph the movements, and the grip understands the difference between a gradual start/stop and sudden start/stop. ;)
2007 November 7th, 22:58
well i went to lowes and bought all my stuff.....every single guy i talked to there was asking what i was doing, and telling me that my ideas makes no sense....haha perhaps they are right, but i have to give it a shot.
the guy who cut up the wood pieces did however admire my "creativity"....so maybe there is hope after all!
2007 November 8th, 11:57
i use them all the time. check out the nom de guerre video on my homepage. it was shot by dp david grehn but it was my decision as a director to use wheels. :-)
the only problem i've had as long as the surface is smooth is that it's very hard to track in straight lines. even if you lock the wheels you're always rotating or turning just a bit and it does show in the image.
2007 November 8th, 12:19
If you're going for a professional looking shot that's kind of a big problem...
2007 November 8th, 13:22
in many shots you're panning and following something anyway, so then it's not a problem. but "locked down" dolly shots are indeed close to impossible to achieve.
for what it's worth, we've been over this before, but if you really need professional results it's often cheaper to rent. you can rent a panther with track for a couple of days for less than a good diy dolly costs to make. i found my tripod spreader with wheels in a dumpster when a production company was changing offices, that's even cheaper. :-)
2007 November 8th, 13:34
for what it's worth, we've been over this before, but if you really need professional results it's often cheaper to rent. you can rent a panther with track for a couple of days for less than a good diy dolly costs to make.
In the short-term that's generally true, but in the long run it's less so. I built my track dolly for under $100. I've got 15' of track that I can easily add additional 5' sections to for about $6/section (that's for the extra 5' for both tracks) and that's a one time cost.
So while you may be able to rent a professional dolly and track for around that price for a couple days, after those couple days if you ever need it again you're spending more.. The only real bonus is that with the rental systems you can get curved track, which is more difficult to make (though not impossible)
2007 November 8th, 15:10
i agree. it's just that i think you often get what you pay for. i love lo-fi, that's why i also love diy. when i need professional results i rent professional gear. usually i only "need" pro results when somebody else is paying too, so even then it's very cheap. :-)
2007 November 8th, 15:23
A lot of DIY solutions are just as good (and sometimes better) than pro solutions though too. ;) Ultimately it's all about using the right tool for the job. If the tripod dolly (wheels on a tripod) works for you.. more power to you, but I've never liked the look, because as it's been stated before it's not meant to be used while shooting, but rather to make moving the camera (between shots) a bit more convenient.
That said, I think a lot of the instability problem comes from a lack of weight. If you were to stack 20lbs or more of weight on the base the results would probably be a bit better. Weight = stability.
2007 November 8th, 16:24
i get perfectly stable shots with them, no problem, and so does the guy who started this thread as far as i can tell. it's just that it's hard to track in straight lines, as i said. the same is true with steadicams too for example and they are also used professionally. ;-)
my spreader with wheels weighs 20 pounds btw.
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