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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old August 14th, 2013, 08:02 PM   #1
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Does anyone use a dolly?

I was thinking about buying a dolly that attaches to my tripod. I was going to use it somewhat like a slider. Does anyone have any luck with using a dolly that attaches to their tripod?
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Old August 14th, 2013, 08:50 PM   #2
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Re: Does anyone use a dolly?

I very occasionally use a $100 eBay "universal dolly" at ceremonies and receptions, and have used an "Orbit Dolly" in the past.

I don't use it so much for fancy moves; it's more so that one can smoothly make adjustments to framing, so that you don't force a cut. (Without one, you sometimes have to pick up the tripod, move it somewhere else, adjust it again. Can happen if the subject moves, or if guests block you, or you're recording an entertainer who's moving through the crowd, etc.)

As to whether you could use it for fancy moves, I'm sure you could. Circle around the cake or around the first dance. Some of these dollies give you the option to mount a second low-angle camera as well.

But these sorts of dollies are also very prone to bump from uneven surfaces, so sliders definitely give you smoother results. And if you're already packing a slider and a steadicam, then the tripod dolly becomes a bit redundant.

One thing to think about if you're having bump problems with it: use slow motion, increase the frame rate.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; August 14th, 2013 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Added more info
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Old August 14th, 2013, 09:02 PM   #3
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Re: Does anyone use a dolly?

I've been using a modified by me Manfrotto 114V for a good number of years and there are 3 reasons I do so. First off let me say I only use it at Ceremonies especially since I again use a shoulder camera. So why and how do I use it?

1) it makes it much easier to move my camera from one place to another. The 5" wheels give me lots of movability whether during a ceremony or just moving the rig out of the way. Keep in mind though that for the ceremony I generally only make 1 big move. From the front for the processional to the middle or rear of the church for the remainder of the ceremony.

2) The dolly gives me 5 inches of additional height on my tripod without having to raise the legs anymore than I have to so I can get the camera to the height I want for that ceremony.

3) I could no more hang on to my camera rig for say, a Catholic Mass Ceremony, than I could hit a 60 yard field goal

4) It gives me rock steady footage which is one thing MY clients expect during a ceremony.

If you plan to try to use it like a slider you had better do one thing before putting it on the job. PRACTICE! The wheels sometimes have a life of their own and move in different directions. It physics! I can do moves with my rig but nothing more than a few feet before the wheels decide which way they want to go. The dolly wheels aren't made for those kind of moves. HOWEVER, when I do sets like trade shows where there is basically a TV studio setup for the webcast, all the cameras are on wheels if for no other reason it's easier to move them from 1 set up to another. No fancy moves made.
Again practice can go a long way but it will never work like a slider.

Please note....I modified my dolly wheel years ago and it works for ME...YMMV!
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.

Last edited by Don Bloom; August 14th, 2013 at 09:07 PM. Reason: forgot to add
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Old August 14th, 2013, 09:42 PM   #4
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Re: Does anyone use a dolly?

Thanks alot Adrian and Don. I was planning on using the dolly for the ceremony and maybe the prep of bride and groom. I do have a glidecam, but would like to use it sparingly since using it too much takes away from the shots. I appreciate your input.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 02:55 AM   #5
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Re: Does anyone use a dolly?

I've had one of these for a couple of months now
I use a lightweight rig with a Velbon 7000 tripod and I have found the dolly to be really useful. It has 3" rubber tyred wheels and is vey smooth with the wheels castoring quickly. Over smooth and carpeted floors it is a great tool and I have used it mainly during receptions, getting details of the room and tables, circling the cake etc.I also use it for the first dance to move around the floor easily and smoothly.

At the price I took a punt on it, but have been highly delighted with the stability and the fact that it folds up very quickly for easy transport. Also comes with a sturdy carry bag.

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Old August 15th, 2013, 04:42 AM   #6
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Re: Does anyone use a dolly?

I have the same dolly as Roger. I use it occasionally but as others have said the surface on which you roll a dolly has to be smooth therefore limiting its use. Also a combined dolly / tripod takes up a fair bit of space so in tight reception areas you may not be able to use it e.g. for a "slider" shot of the top table.

I also got one of these Konig tripods just on a punt not expecting much:

Konig Professional Heavy Duty Camera Camcorder Tripod: Camera & Photo

It is surprisingly good though. Very solid. I have a Manfrotto sliding plate adapter on the top of it - its own plate is non-standard - so I can quickly attach any of my cams which all have standard plates on their bases.

I prefer heavy duty lightstands to tripods as they can go much higher and are less intrusive into compositions from other cams. Also its easier to clamp accessories to lightstands than to most tripods.

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Old August 16th, 2013, 11:03 PM   #7
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Re: Does anyone use a dolly?

Looks like the same as my dolly. I use Weifeng tripods so I have a Weifeng dolly. I must admit I have never used the dolly for tracking shots. It's simply convenient to be able to wheel the tripod and camera into position for the speeches. Everything else is hand held though!!

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