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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old March 31st, 2008, 04:32 PM   #1
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Nice DIY Dolly Test Video

Hey everybody,
I don't post here much but I read the forums a lot and I thought it was time to contribute something and get some feedback.
This past week I built a dolly for some upcoming shoots and yesterday I got out to do my very first test footage. I only had 10' of track but I still got some interesting stuff. The XH-A1 really shines outside. I was amazed how well it captured the sky. This is an all stock A1 shooting in HDV 24f at a shutter speed of 48 and varying apertures. Depending on your tastes in music you may have to mute your speakers to watch this...

http://www.collisioncinema.com/austi...7;20Video.html

Things I've learned:
1.) Level the track or pick the flattest spot around, especially on grass. Large dips allow the track to bend and create bumps in footage.
2.) Don't operate the tripod (pan/tilt) while dollying unless you have somebody to push you. Too much to think about while moving and trying to frame a shot and you just end up with jerky pans/tilts or bad dolly moves.
3.) Dolly shots are awesome!
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Old March 31st, 2008, 10:29 PM   #2
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Beautifully done!

What did you make the dolly out of and what was the total cost?
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Old April 1st, 2008, 12:04 AM   #3
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would also liek to know how much the dolly cost! good footage
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Old April 1st, 2008, 01:58 AM   #4
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Thanks!
The total cost was about $90 including 10' of track. More than I wanted to spend by about $40 but I think its worth it.
I based my dolly off of the one discussed in this forum:
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread...t=dolly&page=2
Price breakdown:
$18 for the 16 roller skate wheels (.50 cents each plus $10 shipping)
$12 for 3/4" plywood
$12 for angle steel
$15 for hardware (bolts, washers and locknuts)
$5 for paint
$4 for extra wood to raise the angle steel away from the plywood deck
$8 for aluminum trim
$8 for closet rod holders (for tripod legs)
$8 for 10' of 1.5" ABS pipe for track

The amazing thing about this dolly is the wheels. I got them here: http://www.skates.com/Pacer-Children...pcltwhl-nl.htm but unfortunately they have got up in price. I got them for $3.99 per 8 pack. They come with ABEC 1 bearings which you would think is terrible. Every place I look everyone recommends ABEC 5 or even 7 for their dollies. But with the insane prices for raw building materials (at least in my area) I tried to cut costs where I could. And it turns out that with 16 wheels ABEC 1's work fine.
I painted the dolly black top and bottom and trimmed it with 3/4" aluminum used at the seams between carpet and hard floors. It looks really professional, especially running on black ABS pipe and with my tripod and camera on it. I'm really happy. I'll post some pictures tomorrow.
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Old April 1st, 2008, 08:18 PM   #5
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For cheaper wheels, you can go to your local Savers/Goodwill type of shop and grab a pair of rollerblades for $3-$5...the boots don't need to work, just the wheels.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 02:00 AM   #6
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That's great! Thanks for the green grass, too. (check where I live;-)

How are you planning on extending the track without couplings on the outside diameter of the ABS?
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 03:53 AM   #7
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Thats a good idea for cheap wheels if you are going with 8, but I think it would be hard to find two good sets of wheels that were the same size similar bearings. If they are different it may not be as smooth, I don't know.

Doug, to connect the 1.5" ABS together I plan on getting some 1.25" PVC and cutting it into 1' sections for each connection. The problem is 1.25" PVC is slightly too big so I will be cutting a (maybe) 1/2" wide cut down the pipe so that I may compress the pipe and fit it inside the ABS. The PVC's desire to resume its normal shape should create pressure on the inside wall of the ABS and create enough friction for a smooth junction. I have not done this yet so I don't know how wide exactly I'll have to make the cuts for the PVC to fit in the ABS.

I also plan on cutting my 10' sections down to 4 or 5' for easier transport.
Here are some pictures of my dolly:
Attached Thumbnails
Nice DIY Dolly Test Video-img_0138.jpg   Nice DIY Dolly Test Video-img_0139.jpg  

Nice DIY Dolly Test Video-img_0140.jpg   Nice DIY Dolly Test Video-img_0141.jpg  

Nice DIY Dolly Test Video-img_0142.jpg   Nice DIY Dolly Test Video-img_0143.jpg  

Nice DIY Dolly Test Video-img_0144.jpg  
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