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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:04 AM   #1
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DIY Lowcost Remote Dolly System

Hey guys, :) I've been putting together a plan for a fairly low cost automated dolly platform. The concept behind it is that it will perform all the tasks of a regular dolly with a turn of a remote control. A few questions before I start on the controls of the prototype, would you rather have the dolly controled with a single joystick to ride forward and backwards and pan in each direction or would you rather have control with two different nobs (think remote toy cars). Another question is how much would computer remote controlled programmed mechanisms be in demand in order to preprogram the dolly to do a certain action at a certain time with a timeline like control with your laptop? Is that something anyone would want to use in production? If everything will go according to plan the finished prototype should be ready within the next few weeks.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:10 AM   #2
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What are you planning on running this dolly on? Remember it has to be smooooth and quiet!

Mike
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:34 AM   #3
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This dolly will use the pipe tracks and the V-Shaped wheels, I'm working on insulating the sound as much as possible but so far it's not even the issue at hand, everything should be fine as far as noise and stability, my only dillema right now is the user control preference...what would you rather have to control it is the question at hand?
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:38 AM   #4
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How do you move sideways on tracks? What means to drive the wheels?

Thanks---Mike
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:50 AM   #5
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Sorry there is no moving sideways on the tracks, there is panning of the camcorder on the dolly thus sideways movement. sorry but I'll disclose all the means of the movement mechanism after the prototype is completed.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:08 AM   #6
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In that case, no person on the dolly, it will be hard to follow subjects etc..

Good luck with your project and keep us posted on your progress.

Mike
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:21 AM   #7
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Thanks I'l try to work out all the kinks in order to make this thing as controlled as possible, I'll keep you guys updated.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 11:48 AM   #8
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Hi Dmitry,
Since you are asking about user preferences, I think that if I was looking for something along these lines, I would probably be looking for a dual control device.

If you are looking for specifics, I offer this:

The movement of the dolly along the track is signalled by a bi-directional lever controlled by the left hand. This allows for movement along a single plane, to move the dolly one way along the track, or the other, depending upon the position of the lever. Whether the movement of the lever is vertical or horizontal is irrelevant to me, but it cannot be both. For a more advanced lever option, you can introduce variable speed control to the dolly movement, designated by the distance of the lever control from dead center. The dead center point is 'stop', and the speed increases in conjunction with increasing distance of the lever from the center point.

Additionally, my preference would include a 'speed lock' option, wherein a single-speed preference can be dialed in via a dial ring, and then activated by a lock switch that overrides the variable speed control of the lever, making the dolly movement a uniform speed across the track.

For the pan motor, I think that a fully directional joystick type control manipulated by the right hand would feel intuitive.

In simple terms, a simple joystick that corresponds to a 360 degree rotational axis would work for most basic pans.

For more advanced movement, the pan mechanism could include a half-ball mount with a corresponding ball-mount joystick that adds the control of vertical (up/down) tilt.

And to get really crazy, the joystick could include a lightly notched 'twisting' palm grip that controls camera zoom through a LANC interface on the unit.



That's my wish list for such a device, though it is also something that I would not likely be able to afford for a very long time.

However, if budget allows, I would probably give realistic consideration for even the basic specs, especially if it included the abilty to pre-program timeline controls (via my laptop) to aid in redundant compositing shots. That would be awesome.

-Jon
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 12:01 PM   #9
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Thanks a bunch for the advice :) The mechanism will be very affordable by the time I get to mass producing it, As far as the tilts and zoom that would be a little bit of a problem because that would mean I'd have to tamper with the tripod head mechanism, and I want the users to have a choice on what tripod they connect to this rig. I'll get to it sometime after this as an add on. :) But thanks a bunch I'll take into consideration for the controls, this is going to be a great device for fairly simple redundant shots that need to be repeated and after I get the tripod head tilting you can do all kinds of things, including preprogramming two or let's get wild here three of these platforms to simultaneously ride along a track for experimental shots, or with the simple pan and ride one light suport on a moving scene. All kinds of possibilities.
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