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Old November 10th, 2012, 12:16 PM   #1
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Dolly that fits through doorways?

I own/use a Manfrotto 3156 collapsible dolly. When the legs are opened for use, it's too wide to fit through doorways, and the hard wheels exaggerate every bump in the floor. (Grout lines between floor tile produces too much shake).

Recently, I've taken on jobs shooting promo web spots on-location for businesses, e.g. law practices, doctor's offices, dental practices, restaurants...all places with normal-width doorways, and I most often work as an OMB, so ease of transport/set-up/breakdown are key considerations.

My sticks are Manfrotto 351MVB and 351MVB2, both w/503 heads.

Does anyone know of a similar collapsible dolly that opens to a size that fits through normal doorways, e.g. 30"? Maybe even one with soft or spring-loaded wheels/tires that might reduce or (hopefully eliminate) camera shake? (Though I know that's nearly impossible to do).

I don't quite understand why a dolly of this type must extend so far beyond normal doorway width, and I have a hunch I'm not the only one who would benefit from what I'm looking for, which makes me suspect there may be something already on the market that would suit my needs.

Does anyone know of anything like what I'm looking for? If not, I may have the opportunity to design and build one, but that may not be until next spring or summer.

Any advice appreciated.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 12:39 PM   #2
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

Suggest you look into a slider if you are working as a one man band.
or
Tripod dolly and track
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Old November 10th, 2012, 12:44 PM   #3
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

The Manfrotto 3156 collapsible dolly is really just a form of wheels and not meant to perform actual dolly moves. It is meant to provide a way to move tripod from one area to another.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 06:20 PM   #4
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

"...meant to provide a way to move a tripod from one area to another."

Thanks. I've come to realize that, but not fitting through doorways doesn't really accomplish that very well, either. I still don't understand why it/others like it need to be so wide. Maybe it's a throwback to a mindset that equipment was built for studio/stage, or other wide-open-space use, but with so much equipment being so small and portable nowadays, some equipment just hasn't caught up.

I'm looking for something other than shoulder mount that will let me guide the camera through/around a business, e.g. a showroom, down a store aisle or hallway, or behind a counter, reception desk, etc..
Sliders generally aren't long enough, dolly/track combo's don't really strike me as easily usable by a OMB, e.g. transported and set-up/broken-down quickly, and the cost of each is really outside my budget.

I also realize that without a track system, I'll likely never eliminate shake from bumps in the floor.

Thanks for "slapping" me back to my senses.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 07:02 PM   #5
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

Well, it sort of begs the question but the obvious answer is: a
Doorway Dolly
. But, a one man band operation it is not. Any rideable dolly obviously requires someone to push it.

The most obvious solution to the type of shooting you are describing is a Steadicam-style stabilizer. Unlimited mobility and given enough practice, a solid substitute for a dolly.

I'm really sorry to hear that promo shoots have slimmed down now to one-person operations.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

I have a set of 3067 wheels. they're 5 inches and still give me fits going over hard floors like tile with the bigger grout lines. Since those wheels have a 40 inch wing span or wheel span as it were, and I couldn't get it thru a doorway without turning it and yes I do use them for making moves in a church going from the front to the back or whatever, I cut the outriggers down. Now I don't recommend the extreme cut that I made but I'm comfortable with it and it works for me. Of course I had to practice a bit because now that the span is only 27 inches (each outrigger is 13.5 inches) it is not as stable when moving so I need to be aware and keep it steady. I would suggest maybe a 16 or 17 inch span to try it at first and see how you like it. Of course if you want to go back to the long span you can't. I can't think of any set of wheels thats going to be smaller than what you've got without a remanufacture on your part.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 05:02 AM   #7
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

Ha! I actually Googled it to discover it's the pile of rubbish sitting in the back of my store, that I used once and abandoned. It really isn't designed to do anything other than make repositioning simple. It's meant to be shoot, stop, move, shoot, stop. It has hard casters, and isn't forgiving in any way as it's not designed that way. If you move up to a studio or location support, costs go up massively and to be honest, my vinten per can still bump as it crosses a tiled floor - the rubber tyres add a little give, but any change in level means a jump. On a wide angle shot, these tiny bumps are often invisible - but take the lens in even just a little and a steady track just doesn't work. I've found that if I stick a small jib on the ped and track with that, the bumps get eased a little by the inertia of the jib arm. My ped doesn't, however go through doors, and ones of the same type that do cost a lot more! Would a stabiliser be a better bet of you need to do lots of tracking in difficult spaces? Track I've never found quick and simple.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 05:07 AM   #8
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

Another possibility--the Spider Dolly with Flextrak.

Losmandy FlexTrak - a flexible dolly track made of a rubber compound
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Old November 11th, 2012, 07:24 AM   #9
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

For me, laying track just ain't gonna work but I use the wheels for what they are intended. to move the tripod from point A to point B. While I can actually get some smooth moves most times it's not but that's not the intent. I just can't lay track at a church. the officiants get a bit testy. ;-)
I cut the wheels down so it was easier for me to get thru certain ares of many of the venues I shoot in and to save some weight when I carry the wheels. them suckers are heavy!

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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:19 AM   #10
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
The most obvious solution to the type of shooting you are describing is a Steadicam-style stabilizer. Unlimited mobility and given enough practice, a solid substitute for a dolly.
Charles, yeah, I realize that. In my heart, I know/knew that would be the answer; I was "hoping against hope" that something else might be on the market. Unfortunately, they're beyond my budget right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I'm really sorry to hear that promo shoots have slimmed down now to one-person operations.
I'm just as sorry to have to make that claim. I've done nearly 150 of them, and I'd guess that at least 97% were done by me alone. (OTOH, I've become a bit more efficient than when I first started out). As an OMB, I definitely spend more time seeking work than doing work, and I'm sure that cuts into the types of jobs I can take on, as well as opportunities to expand my network. Living/working/seeking work in the shadow of NYC is pretty challenging, what with so many others around with better equipment/more experience. I usually get the low-end shoots where folks are looking to save $$.

Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:48 AM   #11
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
I have a set of 3067 wheels. I cut the outriggers down.
Don,
I don't really have any experience with precision metalwork, though my son does. (He's a licensed structural engineer). Also, I'm hesitant to (maybe) render my current dolly unusable.(At present, it's the only tool I have available). However, having a 2nd one with less of a "wing-span" would be nice.
I'll have to do some research to see if the connectors and wheel-housings are available as separate items. If so, perhaps I can cajole my son into helping me build one at some point in the future.

Thanks for the idea, and the feedback.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:11 AM   #12
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
...It really isn't designed to do anything other than make repositioning simple. It's meant to be shoot, stop, move, shoot, stop. It has hard casters, and isn't forgiving in any way as it's not designed that way.
Paul,
I know what you mean. On a smooth floor, I've been able to get wide shots that were passably usable for a short web spot. There are some brief (and I do mean brief) examples in this spot:

General Plumbing Supply in Edison, NJ | 950 - 998 New Durham Rd, Edison, NJ

I shot some of that footage with a Panny HMC-150 on a tripod using my 3156 dolly. (Not being a shoulder-mount cam, I'm hesitant to do hand-held shots with it). While I didn't do the editing, the customer seemed to like it. I'm still searching for something that will roll easily and that I can use alone, though I'm doubtful my search will be successful.

I appreciate you taking the time to provide feedback/input.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 12:01 AM   #13
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

Guys the Australian Wally Dolly will fit through a standard doorway.

They now have a dealer in the US for the first time...it's very popular in the UK and Australia.

Professional Camera Tripod Dolly Television Production Filmmaking - Wally Dolly
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Old October 26th, 2013, 06:25 PM   #14
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

I have a significant investment in this, but it is making the days where I have to do too many things myself a lot easier and a lot higher in quality:

It's a Elemack Cricket dolly and a MYTWorks medium 4ft slider.
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Dolly that fits through doorways?-2013-09-17-18.22.59.jpg   Dolly that fits through doorways?-2013-09-05-15.04.40.jpg  

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Old October 27th, 2013, 10:47 PM   #15
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Re: Dolly that fits through doorways?

Wow Nate, I long to touch and feel that dolly...I'm jealous. That is truly a masterpiece! Who services those in LA? Are they hard to maintain? We've used the Chapman-Leonard Super Pee Wee and Hustler before, but I'm assuming maintenance must be pretty high.
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