How much would one need to spend to get a pro dolly? at DVinfo.net

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Old November 25th, 2008, 07:45 PM   #1
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How much would one need to spend to get a pro dolly?

Hi there. Just wondering what it would cost to get a pro dolly (one of those Jl fisher or chapman dollies etc). Does anyone know? I assume upwards of 10-15 k...most likely more.
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Old November 29th, 2008, 04:13 PM   #2
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Depends on which one. I've never known anybody to own one except the rental houses.
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Old November 29th, 2008, 04:29 PM   #3
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I have been told that the only pro dollies on the market for sale are made by Panther. What a pain...I wonder if I can make a diy rig that can give pro results...
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Old November 29th, 2008, 04:48 PM   #4
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Hi Spencer...........

Do you mean something like this?

HAGUE UNIVERSAL TRACKING DOLLY D5


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; November 29th, 2008 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Whoops!
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Old November 29th, 2008, 05:04 PM   #5
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The only one who makes a Fisher/Chapman type dolly is: Premier Studio Equipment

Price wise (all really depends on what features you want) range from $5,000 to $30,000.

The Panther makes very nice equipment, but all their dolly's are center column--which is great if that's how you want to operate. Personally, I'm a fairly big guy (6'4) so I like the design of a Fisher/Chapman dolly.

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Old November 30th, 2008, 11:33 AM   #6
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The big expensive dollies are nice, assuming you have a van to carry one in, plus a ramp and/or 4 very large muscular guys to pick it up. There are lots of cheaper options available that are more flexible and can give quality results when using lighter weight cameras...everything from the skateboard wheel tripod dollies on PVC pipe to flex track ride-on dollies. What you need will depend on the shooting situation, and no one dolly is great for all situations...that's what rental houses are for.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 02:56 PM   #7
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I am well aware of the fact that there isn't a dolly that works for every scenario. That being said, what I want initially is a dolly that can fit in a mini-van and gives my the smoothest possible shots. I am more than prepared to buy a bunch of tools and make my own dolly...but is it really possible to get professional results with a pvc dolly??
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 03:48 PM   #8
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Spencer, the pro grade dollies you mentioned (Chapman & Fletcher) are lease only and can be quite expensive. Rental houses basically pay a license fee to have these dollies in their inventory. A doorway dolly will run about 2 grand and I've had great success with them. Can't beat a chapman though when you can afford to rent it.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 04:17 PM   #9
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Has anyone used the dollys from MSE? I've liked a number of their designs.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 09:04 PM   #10
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I want to save money as much as the next guy, so if I can get great results with a $2000 dolly, friggin great! I'd rather buy one of those than build one. Anyone have more suggestions for a pro doorway dolly? I'd love to get one of these things as soon as possible.

Last edited by Spencer Dickson; December 3rd, 2008 at 10:13 PM.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 11:42 AM   #11
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Hello Spencer,

If you want smooth movements buy a smooth dolly with good accesoires. For making a good decision there are some considerations to make:

When you want to sit and operate from the dolly and have a good dollygrip:
* If you want to go on tracks only: Get a bunch of good tracks (no pvc, whatever the might say at this forum:-).) and get a scateboarddolly (maybe an assembly of wheels from willys widgets)
* If you want to go on streets and smooth undergrounds: get a doorwaydolly with camera risers and seat-support. Just realize that you spend a lot of money for half its job needed. When you want to go on track you will need to exchange wheels (get them from willyswidgets.com) and buy track.

When it is more an operating and dollying by 1 person:
* If you want to have the shorter tracking shots an slider could do the job.
* If you want just a dolly and use available facilities like steps the get the CamTram (abelcine.com)
* If you want more lenght and all ready available equipment and even some upgradefacilities get my TwinKit from solidgripsystems.eu.


For this far.

Onno Perdijk
KeyGrip and Manufacturer
Amsterdam, Holland
Solid Grip Systems Amsterdam
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Old December 4th, 2008, 11:52 AM   #12
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If you're going to get a doorway dolly, get one where you can easily attach track wheels too. That way you get the best of both worlds. Eagle Dolly Systems makes a decent one, and if you want to use it on tracks, you just buy the optional wheels and slide 'em on from the bottom.

The above post makes a good point about working by yourself. If you don't have a dolly grip, then a tripod dolly on tracks might be a better choice. Eazy Dolly is simple and cheap, and there's also the Losmandy Spyder dolly with their solid rubber hose flextrack, if you shoot on level surfaces. Varizoom has the same basic system of flex track and tripod dolly. The doorway dolly is only good when shooting on smooth surfaces, like in offices, schools, etc., so it's a good idea to have track wheels too. I've used a doorway dolly with track wheels on both PVC track as well as "real" dolly track. PVC is great on level surfaces but that's about it.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 02:17 PM   #13
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For some reason, I thought a doorway dolly operated on tracks...haha. Most of my shots are going to need tracks, so a dolly that can use them is essential. Are their any other dollies like the EagleII on the market? Does anyone know what manufacturer makes excellent track?

Really, all I want is smooth shots. I would hate to order a dolly system and use it and be like, "WTF?! There's jitter!".
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Old December 5th, 2008, 07:17 PM   #14
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You want inexpensive but smooth, check http://www.eazydolly.com/
Be sure to watch the skateboard video.

You want to spend more money, check http://indiedolly.com/htmlfolder/Ind...yFrameset.html

You want a flextrack system, check http://www.porta-jib.com/flex-trak.htm
or
http://www.varizoom.com/tripodsindex.html

You want to build your own and use pvc pipe with connectors, check
http://www.longvalleyequip.com/dolly.php

You want easy setup and portability, check http://www.microdolly.com/

And I could go on and on and on. You have to figure out what you need and what you want to spend. I've never seen a track dolly, even a homemade one, that wasn't perfectly smooth...if set up right. If you have plenty of money and can hire a dolly grip, get a Matthews or Eagle system wtih track wheels, rent or buy traditional heavy duty dolly track if you have a van to haul it in, and thereyago. If you're shooting with big heavy equipment, a heavy duty jib, that would dictate one of the heavier duty systems. There are a zillion ways to go, including gaffertaping a beanbag on a skateboard, strapping the camera on that and rolling it all across a piece of plywood, and yeah I've done that too.

There's even a Canadian version of the Flextrack dolly but I can't think of the name right now. About the same basic price but probably cheaper in Canada. Flextrack is good only on level surfaces, unless you get all those leveling channels and all that Losmandy sells. Another thing to consider is if you want curves. Eazy Dolly, for instance, only has straight line stuff, Microdolly has curves, and flextrack is almost infinitely curveable with ease.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 09:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spencer Dickson View Post
Really, all I want is smooth shots. I would hate to order a dolly system and use it and be like, "WTF?! There's jitter!".
actually any dolly setup using skateboard style wheels can get wheels with flat sides. this happens simply from the dolly sitting on the wheels. its more of a problem the heavier your setup gets. I've had it happen with fisher 11 setups. thats why a good dolly grip rocks the thing back and forth - to avoid flat spots. it happens to all of them. shooting wide its not a problem most of the time, but shoot long lens and you're screwed. you will get bumps in the shot. only thing you can do is rock the dolly and hope the wheels even out, or change the wheels.

a fisher you can't buy, its lease only.

you can by a phantom dolly - its like a fisher but bigger, about $26K. http://www.premierstudioequipment.com/ click on dollies->phantom

you can also buy the elmac dollies like the cricket. there's a film dealer online in the midwest that usually has them in stock. you can also buy technocrane setups too, but be ready for house sized prices.
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