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Old February 5th, 2006, 02:39 PM   #1
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Dolly

Hey guys I am thinking about building a pipe dolly, but recently i've been thinking, whats the point? I mean they cant be used with inclines very well and if it is flat, couldnt you just as well use pneumatic tires? So guys, enlighten me on whats so great about these dollies, if there is anything.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 03:07 PM   #2
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I believe the reason so many people use dolly's instead of merely using wheels, is the consistancy over a long run. You see, no matter what type of terrain you are on, spreading your tracks the length of the run, (with the help of some shims, here and there, you can have a smooth run over any type of surface...almost. For instance, let's say for some reason, you travel back in time to the 80's when in Oklahoma, people did away with grass for their yards and decided on using lava rocks. If you were to try to dolly across that with nothing but wheels, you would get caught up and it would be a very bumpy shot. However, let's say that you decided to use a dolly on tracks. you simply level the tracks over the lava rocks and you are set. It makes it easy to get a smooth and beautiful shot.

Lava Rocks... A thing of genius.

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Old February 5th, 2006, 03:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Hayes
Hey guys I am thinking about building a pipe dolly, but recently i've been thinking, whats the point? I mean they cant be used with inclines very well and if it is flat, couldnt you just as well use pneumatic tires? So guys, enlighten me on whats so great about these dollies, if there is anything.
Unless there is a drastic incline they will work fine, and no different than a pneumatic tired dolly. Your going to be controling it by hand and either would work the same.

The advantage to the track dolly is that it removes imperfections in the surface. For example, I used mine in my living room and that is a tiled floor. It is very flat, but it has tile grooves every 14 inches. Even the best of pneumatic tired dollies would be disturbed by the grooves. Laying my PVC on the floor eliminated all of the problems. Makes it smooth a silk, and once you get it in motion, you could move it with a feather.

One other advantage to a track dolly is that they are lower to the ground most often, and this can be an advantage at times.

Both have their places.

Mike
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Old February 5th, 2006, 03:45 PM   #4
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Don't forget - with a track dolly, the path of the movement will be IDENTICAL from take to take. I've seen wheeled dollys drift in and out depending on the quality of the grip doing the take. Not a big deal on a short run... but on a long one it's great to be dead on in the path take after take.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 03:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
Don't forget - with a track dolly, the path of the movement will be IDENTICAL from take to take. I've seen wheeled dollys drift in and out depending on the quality of the grip doing the take. Not a big deal on a short run... but on a long one it's great to be dead on in the path take after take.

That's another good point! I used 5 or 6 dolly shots in DV#4 and blended them into one shot, and it worked great! Also, any minor change in direction at all, will cause the camera angle to change, not just go in and out.

Good one.


Mike
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Old May 4th, 2006, 10:55 AM   #6
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No Incline? I've used a smaller version of mine to go up stairs and through car windows as well as hanging up-side down between two roof tops across an alley in downtown L.A.. Often with tire dollies, you have to lay dance floor, which is a much bigger pain than leveling track, believe me!

Dan
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dan Selakovich
No Incline? I've used a smaller version of mine to go up stairs and through car windows as well as hanging up-side down between two roof tops across an alley in downtown L.A.. Often with tire dollies, you have to lay dance floor, which is a much bigger pain than leveling track, believe me!

Dan
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Dan,

Great way to get in a plug for the website, but you misquoted me! My statement was "drastic incline!" Of course they can be used on an incline, but to put a full tripod and camera rig on a dolly with a drastic incline, is asking for drastic problems, such as the outfit tipping over.

If you were quoting Will, then we had already addressed with his statement.

Best of luck----Mike
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Old May 4th, 2006, 10:46 PM   #8
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If you already have a pnuematic tire dolly, and have to take it across an uneven surface, you can bring a stack of plywood with to smooth out the ride. Overlap the ends so the tires will not get stuck between them (old skateboarding/bmx trick). You could also bevel the edges of them to get rid of the slight drop from piece to piece. A plumb line (preferably solid and affixed to the dolly - perhaps a curb feeler spring) hanging just above the ground and a line of gaffers tape can act as a guide for it as well. Just keep the plumb above the tape and the ride is the same :)

<edit>And a block and tackle can pull the dolly up an incline</edit>
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Old May 5th, 2006, 10:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
Dan,

Great way to get in a plug for the website, but you misquoted me! My statement was "drastic incline!" Of course they can be used on an incline, but to put a full tripod and camera rig on a dolly with a drastic incline, is asking for drastic problems, such as the outfit tipping over.

If you were quoting Will, then we had already addressed with his statement.

Best of luck----Mike
So you're not talking about an incline here, but an uneven surface, right? Like dolly going across a driveway, for example? Not up or down and incline, as Will asked about. Any tripod can be rigged to stay in place on an incline, depending on the dolly, and I think stairs are a pretty "drastic incline". As for an uneven surface, leveling the track with apple boxes, sandbags, shims, what have you, is a bit of work but a simple operation, where laying dance floor on an incline or uneven surface--like dollying across a field, or up a flight of stairs really isn't an option for a tire dolly. I think I'm allowed to chime in if I don't agree with you; issue addressed or not. Plug or not (in my defense, that was these were innocent examples of what can be done with a track dolly and that a tire dolly just doesn't have the versatility). For example, Cole is kind enough to tell Will how to make dance floor for a tire dolly, should I tell Cole that I already addressed this issue? That's just silly.

Dan
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Old May 5th, 2006, 11:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Selakovich
I think I'm allowed to chime in if I don't agree with you; issue addressed or not. Plug or not.
Examples and counter examples are important to the learning process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Selakovich
For example, Cole is kind enough to tell Will how to make dance floor for a tire dolly, should I tell Cole that I already addressed this issue?
I'd never heard the term dance floors applied this way before, I've just made paths to ramps across grass with plywood :)
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Old May 6th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #11
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Sorry, Cole, guess I'm showing my age; I assume they still call this stuff "Dance Floor". At least I hope things haven't changed that much since I was a grip! Dance floor is basically big sheets of plywood with a thin hardwood glued on top. Like you mention in your version, you lay them out on surfaces that aren't exactly smooth or carpeted so the dolly gets a smooth ride.

Dan
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Old May 6th, 2006, 12:46 PM   #12
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I never was a grip, so I've absolutely no experience with "dance floor" other than working the top side of it ;) It may still be called that for all I know :)
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