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Old April 23rd, 2012, 02:42 PM   #1
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Thoughts on the kessler pocket dolly and potential use as a jib?

I believe I've heard it mentioned once or twice but I'm not sure how it would work. The pocket dolly seems like a great addition to my kit, something I'd really get a lot of use out of... and it seems like if it's mountable to a tripod, I'd be able to use it as a short jib, particularly with the track system it has. Has anyone tried this? Is there a particular kind of tripod or adapter it'd need to be mounted to?

Also for anyone that uses it, could you help me out in figuring which adapter I'd need for the vinten vision blue head (75mm)?

thanks
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 04:22 PM   #2
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Re: Thoughts on the kessler pocket dolly and potential use as a jib?

How exactly would you use it like a jib? You could mount it to a tripod in the center, put the camera at the front and a counterweight at the back. But now when you crane up or down, the camera will aim up or down. Jibs usually have an additional arm and a joint at the end that keeps the camera level.

I have the Pocket Dolly and the Pocket Jib yet I don't see how to use the PD as an effective (very short) jib.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 05:01 PM   #3
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Re: Thoughts on the kessler pocket dolly and potential use as a jib?

I'm probably missing something, but wouldn't having the camera on a tripod head, on the pocket dolly, which itself is on a tripod, fix the problem?
For instance, I'd have my camera on my vision blue head, which is on the pocket dolly, and the dolly is on another tripod?
You'd have to have someone manually adjusting the camera on the tripod head, but it shouldn't be too hard and get some extra use out of the slider until I can upgrade to a better jib. I imagine it would be tough to keep the camera exactly level, but if I wanted to stay on a subject and go from a low shot up to a high shot it should be pretty doable.
Seems like it should work, but has anyone tried it?
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 05:28 PM   #4
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Re: Thoughts on the kessler pocket dolly and potential use as a jib?

You're exactly right about the implementation and the challenges - keeping the head level would be tough. Normally one levels a head so the pan is horizontal. When used at the end of the PD, the head can be far from level. Your horizontal pan will now follow a strange orbit.

Also, keep in mind that a good jib setup will be balanced, so you need counterweights on the other end of the pocket dolly. You'd want to use the brake on the PD to keep the camera fixed at the end to ensure that the system stays balanced and to keep the camera from running away from you. When you tilt down, the camera will want to fall to the end. When you tilt up above horizontal, the camera will race toward the counterweights.

When using a slider that isn't level, it forces you to manhandle it to fight gravity and it usually isn't as smooth as a level slider.

I think the real benefit of this is for fixed shots in difficult positions. Say you want a macro shot of a flower on the ground, but your tripod doesn't go below 18-inches. With this method, you could get the camera lower. Rather than a fluid head, I use a ball head on my slider. It's one less variable to mess with. You could get the camera low, setup your shot on the subject, and use the main tripod head to pan and swivel the camera away from your shot. Play it in reverse and the camera flies into perfect focus on your target.

To me, that's a key function of a jib. Not only do you want to crane up and down, but sometimes you just want to get the camera into odd positions where a tripod won't reach.

Of course, you could do this with a 2x4 piece of lumber. Screw a tripod plate at the 1/3 point, add some weights at one end, and drill a hole for a bolt to a ball head at the other. Voila! You can now get your camera above somebody's desk looking straight down. :)
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 05:59 PM   #5
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Re: Thoughts on the kessler pocket dolly and potential use as a jib?

Thanks for the input Jon, and your point about using the break is a good one but I had *hoped* that this is where the PD would be better than others-- and where I'd need someone who's tried it before to confirm... since the PD specifically has a track system, couldn't one use it instead of the break to maintain position, or even have it purposefully move if you wanted?
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 07:14 PM   #6
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Re: Thoughts on the kessler pocket dolly and potential use as a jib?

Yeah, you could move the camera up the slider, put on the brake, and have it where you want it. That's more flexible than my two-by-four solution. :) Of course, unless your system is heavy, it's not hard to lift the whole tripod to place it where you need it.

With the Pocket Jib, I've got the transport wheels under the tripod most of the time. It's easy to move right where it's needed. But the K-Pod is a real monster. You don't want to try to pick it up with the jib, weights, and camera on it. With a short, light arm, a small camera, and a typical tripod, lifting it wouldn't be so bad.

Frankly, the bigger challenge to use the PD well is to have a tripod that can get low enough as well as a cheap, low stand to support the other end. As I mentioned, I just use a ball head on mine to keep it light and simple. It makes sense to get spare adapters and plates so you can set it up quickly and firmly. Rather than over think it, I recommend optimizing the standard usage first.

Also, note that it has some flex. If your camera/head are too heavy, it can sag in the middle. It will sag on the ends with one tripod in the center. It's really not made to withstand too much torque or weight.

After the basic setup, a motor would be the next thing on my list. It's harder than it seems to get a smooth pull - even with a string wrapped around the pulley.
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Old April 24th, 2012, 08:48 AM   #7
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Re: Thoughts on the kessler pocket dolly and potential use as a jib?

The pulley is hard, you have to use a 'limp wrist' to get it smooth - Ive actually built a motor that works pretty well - few teething problems but ..

and I've tried the jib idea, PD on a manfrotto head with another manfrotto head on the dolly - you can pull some moves

dolly on an angle and lift up while compensating with the head - it's only good for a short move and is a pain to get right

dolly level and instead of sliding, swing the whole thing in an arc compensating with the top head

dolly on a 45 angle and wind up from the bottom to get a type of reveal

no I haven't got examples to show you, just try it out

the k-pod is, as Jon said, a monster, I've tried a couple of other tripods and the best I've found (it's now permanently set up for the pocket dolly is...
Davis & Sanford Davis & Sanford PROVISTAGR18 PROVISTAGR18
yep - it's an el cheapo - but it's solid and you can tighten the thing up to hold the PD on an angle - works for me
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