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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old July 29th, 2003, 12:12 PM   #1
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Dollies....

I'm trying hard to achieve not just the film-look, but a general degree of professionalism as well. Would anyone be so kind to post a link, or write a step-by-step guide to building a decent dolly. I've seen pictures of homemade ones before, especially on homebuiltstabilizers.com, but no guides (Including parts listing, estimated cost etc.)

Anything like this would help!

Thanks in advance, Corey
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Old July 29th, 2003, 12:40 PM   #2
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Willy's widgets offers the most important part of the dolly, the wheel and track system. You can start as low as $200, supplying the plywood yourself and running on PVC pipe.

www.willyswidgets.com/pr_wheels.html

You might also want to consider renting. I don't know about Durham, but here in Phoenix I can get a Matthews Doorway Dolly that will run on rubber wheels on smooth ground, a few sections of steel track, track wheels and all the accessories for about $180/weekend. That's a lot of real pro level equipment for the money!

See if you have any grip houses or video rental outfits near you. Many of them will cut you a deal if the equipment's not going out on your shoot dates. You could also build your own dolly that's compatible with steel track, and just rent the track.
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Old July 29th, 2003, 12:54 PM   #3
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I found 2 links in your area:
www.mandy.com/home.cfm?c=onl014

www.telefilm-south.com/NC/OLNC/6085ALL.shtml
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Old July 29th, 2003, 02:28 PM   #4
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Hey, thanks DUDE..I'm looking for something I can build with 150 dollars or less, and a track system would make things too complicated....This is something like I aspire to make:

http://www.homebuiltstabilizers.com/offdl.html
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Old July 29th, 2003, 03:04 PM   #5
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That's an awesome dolly! I wonder if the center column rotates? That would be the ultimate. Not much different in theory than these (but a lot cheaper):

www.matthewsgrip.com/asp/details.asp?item=395043
www.porta-jib.com/spider_dolly.htm

Why don't you ask the webmaster at homebuiltstabilizers to contact the builder on your behalf? Maybe he drew up a set of plans he would be willing to share.

As for under $150, I wonder if you could even buy the raw materials for that? Do you have access to a machine shop and welding equipment?

The only suggestions I might make are to use tires with less tread, so as to be able to get truly smooth movement, and to cover the entire top with inddor/outdoor carpeting, as this helps traction.
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Old July 31st, 2003, 10:18 AM   #6
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You could build something like that with a lot of already pre-fabricated parts. Check http://www.mcmaster.com and home depot for parts.
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Old July 31st, 2003, 08:01 PM   #7
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check out the garden truck at your local costco, its 90% there for $90
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Old August 1st, 2003, 10:20 AM   #8
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I'm building one with parts strictly from Home Depot. I'll hip you to the plans and step by step process soon.
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Old August 6th, 2003, 10:31 PM   #9
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Any progress?
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Old August 7th, 2003, 05:41 PM   #10
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Dolly parts @ Home Depot? Me too...

OH hey, I also just started building my own dolly as well (using the shadowgirlproject.com specs) I figured out how to do the wheels (mostly guess work) and now it's all waiting for me to put it together. I plan to take lots of photos and document the process very soon (maybe even tonight)...if I get anything done on it, I will throw a web page up...to be continued.
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Old August 8th, 2003, 01:07 AM   #11
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Quick parts list available now....

Well I whipped up a quick page listing the parts for the dolly I'm making. Check it out if you want at:

http://www.pcenginefx.com/dolly
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Old August 8th, 2003, 04:59 PM   #12
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Super Track Dolly by Doug Underdahl

Corey,

Save yourself some time and check the Super Track Dolly from Doug Underdahl at Long Valley Equipment.
http://www.longvalleyequip.com/dolly.htm

Very nicely thought out design, one of the few in this very low price range that actually allows for the cameraman -and- a focus puller to actually live on top of the dolly.

Tell Doug that Don from noisybrain. sent you ;-) Doug is a very helpful filmmaker with a heck of a lot of experience. Doug is in Long Valley, NJ.

Let us know how you make out,

- don
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Old August 8th, 2003, 06:15 PM   #13
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Cool but...

That's a cool dolly setup...but making a dolly is really the way to go (it is SO easy.) Plus it will save yourself lots of $$$. In the end, my dolly will have cost less than $150...GRANTED, mine won't work on curved track and only has 4 sets of wheels but still...
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Old August 8th, 2003, 08:41 PM   #14
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Wow, that's surprisingly cheap, considering some of the other options I've checkes out, but I'd have to agree that building my own is the way to go.

Thanks.
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Old August 15th, 2003, 04:57 PM   #15
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....Anything new?
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