Jump to content


Photo

cheap dolly


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Niki Mundo

Niki Mundo
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 166 posts
  • Student
  • Los Angeles

Posted 28 March 2008 - 04:59 PM

I have a "skateboard" type dolly system I bought off ebay for $200. It came as a four (4) wheel trucks barebones make-it-yourself. I made my own plywood platform from lowe's and it folds in half.
My problem is the the uneven speed and shakiness that betrays the whole thing to begin with. I can't seem to fix the problem with big guys pushing or a bar mount.

What about a rope or cable geared system powered by a motor or hand-powered? Has anyone tried that?

I need a smoooooth start/run/stop.
  • 0

#2 robert duke

robert duke
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 438 posts
  • Grip
  • southeast USA

Posted 28 March 2008 - 06:38 PM

It is probably operator error. Pushing a dolly smoothly is an art. small cameras and small dollies are actually harder to get smoothmotion with than heavier dollies and cameras.

It is all about momentum. the more inertia the dolly has the smoother it will ride, so long as the wheels are not getting flat spots.

Try rocking the dolly slowly back and forth to get rid of the flat spots. cheap dolly wheels and even expensive ones can develop a flat spot from weight sitting still while setting up a shot or actors getting into character. rocking out the wheels helps prevent flat spots.

in pushing the dolly you have to exert even smooth force constantly. I push with my finger tips to help dampen my steps. I dont grasp the push handle firmly, so as to help isolate my own movements.

there are hundreds of tricks. Check out the dolly blog.
  • 0

#3 Darryl Richard Humber

Darryl Richard Humber
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 143 posts
  • Grip

Posted 28 March 2008 - 06:39 PM

I have a "skateboard" type dolly system I bought off ebay for $200. It came as a four (4) wheel trucks barebones make-it-yourself. I made my own plywood platform from lowe's and it folds in half.
My problem is the the uneven speed and shakiness that betrays the whole thing to begin with. I can't seem to fix the problem with big guys pushing or a bar mount.

What about a rope or cable geared system powered by a motor or hand-powered? Has anyone tried that?

I need a smoooooth start/run/stop.


Most likely, it's either the track you are running on, or the guys pushing it need to learn to push it properly. I don't think a gear system is the answer. Dolly grips have been pushing dollies for 80 years and done just fine. There's more to pushing a dolly shot than just pushing it from 1 to 2.
  • 0

#4 Darryl Richard Humber

Darryl Richard Humber
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 143 posts
  • Grip

Posted 28 March 2008 - 09:03 PM

Robert's right. I forgot about the flat spots. I've been using the Portaglides so long it didn't even cross my mind. Also, as your guy pushes, try having him lock his upper body and be conscious of his steps, keeping constant pressure on the dolly as the weight is transferred. It seems like a simple thing but a lot of people don't think about it.
  • 0

#5 Bob Hayes

Bob Hayes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1087 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Culver City, California

Posted 28 March 2008 - 09:48 PM

In addition to your push bar attach a c-stand arm to the dolly and the bar to triangulate the support.
  • 0

#6 Matthew Rogers

Matthew Rogers
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 175 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 29 March 2008 - 08:43 AM

No one else has asked yet, so I will...How much weight do you have on the dolly? I know that when I use a doorway dolly on skater wheels I need at least 75 lbs of sandbags to make it have a smooth pushable weight. Weight along with good wheels on good track will help.

Matthew
  • 0

#7 Billy Furnett

Billy Furnett
  • Guests

Posted 29 March 2008 - 10:23 AM

How much does "It folds in half" come into play in terms of stability? Do you have a pic of it?

A double layer of 3/4 or 1/2 plywood or MDF screwed and liquid nailed together then dried with clamps or evenly placed weight should make for a pretty firm deck.

The method in which you secured the trucks to the wood will come into play as well.
I've seen pre made trucks that have 4 mounting holes each (The angle iron the wheels are fastened to is welded to a plate with 4 mounting holes in it), I would use bolts, washers and two nuts each for those, not like drywall or wood screws. Wood screws WILL hold, but it's plywood, so that will flex and chip and losen eventually and unevenly, especially with 4 in a small area.

If possible, use a metal plate (of somekind) with 4 bolt holes and then washers and two nuts each on the top of the deck to fasten each truck. If you have the 4 bolt type of truck and can get a metal plate, unbolt a truck and use it as template for the 4 holes to be drilled into the plate.

The design and mounting of a push bar should be rock soild and made to take a beating as well, if there is play in the push bar, or if it flexes or bends it could tranfer to uneven start and stops, or could vibrate and add a small degree of rattletrap shakiness to the whole dolly.

A bad design, less than ideal material, or poor handeling of the push bar could lend a lever effect that seeks to tilt back or dump forward the dolly, but can't, so instead it bends or loosens at it's mounting.

One way to do it is to have the push bar angle out slightly behind the dolly from as low as possible so the force is like a shuffle board...shuffler, which is to say the force is pushing from almost the bottom edge of the deck forward and not placing wasted force that seeks to bend or flex and push from OVER the deck, but since lever action is present from such an angle, ultimatly it must be approached as forward or backward, but not downward or upward lever action force.

Think of a lawnmower's push bar and how it usually isn't at a right angle to the chasis (Obviously for safety too), but instead is angled out behind so that proper equal forward force needs to be applied to avoid lever action.

Bob Hayes is right, if you can, support the push bar in a tripod fashion try it, this will distribute the force to more of an angle and help lessen the stress placed on push bar mounting seeking to take the force from over the deck.

Billy
  • 0

#8 Niki Mundo

Niki Mundo
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 166 posts
  • Student
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 March 2008 - 06:45 PM

Ok,thanks for all the tips. "Gripping" is very important to me because it's something that can be done for no cost and yet contribute in a significant way towards the professional look that can send a small low-budget production into distribution channels.
I fully intend to make a profit so I can pay the actors and crew. With each saleable film I'll be given more money and bigger budgets.
  • 0

#9 Daniel Wallens

Daniel Wallens
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 214 posts
  • Grip
  • New York City

Posted 30 March 2008 - 09:29 PM

"Gripping" is very important to me because it's something that can be done for no cost

I'd say that many of the professional members here would hardly say that at all. Hell, you just paid $200 for some "grippage."

Can it be done cheaply? Yes, just as any other part of the production process. But, as they say, you get what you pay for ;)
  • 0

#10 Michael Collier

Michael Collier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1262 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 31 March 2008 - 12:18 AM

you mentioned shakiness along with uneven pulls, nobody has brought it up yet so I'll ask to make sure...you are shimming the track before you roll dolly, right? That's $10 of 'gippage'(purchased) that would certainly make the move more proffessional.
  • 0

#11 Niki Mundo

Niki Mundo
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 166 posts
  • Student
  • Los Angeles

Posted 31 March 2008 - 08:38 PM

wow, so much stuff I didn't know. "Shimming" the track? Check and mate sir.
  • 0

#12 Daniel Wallens

Daniel Wallens
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 214 posts
  • Grip
  • New York City

Posted 31 March 2008 - 08:51 PM

I'm not sure if you are asking a question, but just in case you are, "shimming" involves making the sure the track is level, and using wooden wedges or shims to even it out. Here is a crude picture of a very easy/basic leveling job:

Posted Image


wow, so much stuff I didn't know.

A professional grip can be a grip for 10 years, just gripping, and still be learning stuff.
  • 0


Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Opal

CineLab

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

CineLab

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

CineTape