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Which type of dolly do you prefer?


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#1 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 09:31 AM

Hey guys! I’m just looking for your opinions on which is your preferred type of dolly: The dana-dolly style or the floor track style?

 

Right now I mostly rely on a 54” slider, and looking to upgrade. Looking at a dana-dolly style system, but I’m just curious if anyone here has worked with the two types and can shed some light on the differences (pros and cons) between the two? Given that the Dana-Dolly system can also be expanded beyond the typical 4', is there any real advantage to a floor-track dolly system?


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 22 November 2017 - 09:32 AM.

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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 11:06 AM

I have a Dana dolly which I've used on every show I've done in the last 5 years. It's great. Quick and easy to set up, much less bulky than a dolly, and requires less manpower. It does have its limitations, though. It's hard to join pipe lengths with creating a bump (although not impossible), so you are limited to how long the track can be (usually 12' with speedrail) You can run it on dolly track, if you scissor it so it's narrow, but if you're going to carry dolly track, you may as well carry a dolly. Another issue is the rails getting in shot on wide lenses. This can be a problem for any dolly, but it's more prevalent on a Dana dolly because the rails are only about 15" below the lens. You'll need to get stands for it as well. The baby combos that come on the grip truck are always 6-8" too high for the shot, and even the Dana Dolly combos are often just a little too tall. Make sure you've got some apple boxes with you.

 

All in all, it's a great tool, and it's relatively inexpensive, but it's not going to work for every shot.


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#3 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 11:47 AM

Thanks, Stuart. I can certainly see how the dolly getting in the way of the shots could be an issue, with the camera so close to the rail. I can also imagine that, since the camera is so close, it probably also picks up more track vibration than a floor dolly. 

 

Mainly, right now I'm looking for something similar to a slider for small 'moving shots'. The primary reason why I need to retire the slider I have now is that my current rig weighs in at around 12 pounds with the new rails and support, and I find I need to basically take the camera out of the cage to get it to be usable on the slider, due to weight distribution issues causing the slider to stick. It's not just the weight that is the problem, but those tiny slider plates don't like un-evenly balanced rigs. The slider worked fine on my old, cheap FilmCity rig, but the JTZ setup adds about 8 pounds to the whole rig over what the FC rig weighed.

 

As for length, I was thinking buying a 4' base system with a 4' expansion (for a total of 8'). Anything over that and I'd probably whip out the Glidecam.


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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 01:45 PM

Where it's true, the Dana is a "cheaper" solution, it all depends on what you're doing. I've used the Dana a few times where I just needed some tiny side to side movement during an interview for instance.

Personally I prefer a doorway dolly of some kind. Where they're a bit bulky and don't fit everywhere, for me most dolly shots are pushing in or pulling out, rather than side to side. You can put a riser bar on a dana, but you'll still see the track on a wide shot.

So yea, it's really up to the shot...
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#5 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 06:14 PM

since the camera is so close, it probably also picks up more track vibration than a floor dolly. 

 

As for length, I was thinking buying a 4' base system with a 4' expansion (for a total of 8'). Anything over that and I'd probably whip out the Glidecam.

I've never noticed vibration to be a problem, and generally the only time you get the track ends in shot is on long push-ins. Like I said, it's not the right tool for every shot.

 

Although I use speedrail with it on most jobs, when I'm shooting for myself, or on ultra low budget stuff, I use 1 1/4" steel conduit, which you can buy at Home Depot for $10 for a 10' length. They'll even cut it for you if you want.


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#6 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 08:39 PM

The Matthews HD-DC slider was by far the best on the market.  It's been discontinued.  Probably due to the exhorbitant cost. $10k or so.  I actually just had a place in Brooklyn make me a Dana Dolly / Dutti Dolly hybrid.  So its wide enough to go on standard track and like the Dana, it can take curves unlike the Dutti.  Best of both.  Cost $200 for the steel and cutting.  It's a pretty simple thing to have made.


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#7 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 01:20 PM

After doing some research, I'm going with the Glide Gear DEV 4 dolly and a 4' extension. Most of the shooting I do isn't crew heavy, so I really don't want to deal with laying and leveling dolly tracks. Plus, the DEV 4 mounted to some good tripod legs should allow for quicker leveling/setup in uneven locations.

 

Now, I just wonder if I can fit my 8' camera jib on the DEV 4 without the entire thing crashing to the ground...  :rolleyes:


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