For most of us, no matter how much fancy kit we buy, no matter how good we think we’ve got it, something comes along that just makes us feel totally inadequate. The iconic dolly crane from Saturday Night live is such a thing. And it makes the cranes that most of us might use in our own productions look like toys.
Finding that perfect slider or dolly is a challenge. I’ve got a few of them now, and they all annoy me in slightly different ways, and for different reasons. None of them look quite like this, though. The MUWI is an ultra small, folding dolly for smartphones that packs up about as small as the phone itself. It’s not just for phones, though, it’ll also handle small cameras.
Currently funding through Kickstarter, the MUWI has already smashed its $35,000 goal and currently sits at $195,000 with two weeks still left to go on the campaign. Prices for the MUWI start at only $39 for the early bird basic model, but there are a bunch of extras available, too, including a motor to automate your movements.
Anybody who shoots video or timelapse knows that the key to getting great shots often involves camera movement. This is why sliders and dollies are so popular. Almost every timelapse shooter or filmmaker I know owns one. Of course, they’re not cheap. So lots of people have come up with ingenious ways to build their own. Including one from way back in 2011 by Frugal Filmmaker that costs less than $20.
For Eric Strebel, though, while it worked great, he wanted more. So, he upgraded the one he made to add a motor. The problem is, it’s too fast. So now he’s upgraded it again to turn it into a motorised Hot Rod table dolly. The construction extends Frugal Filmmaker’s original design quite nicely. It’s a fairly simple modification, but you may need to use a few more tools.
Good sliders aren’t cheap. Most cheap sliders are rarely good. But when your budget’s ultra low, what are you going to do? Either you buy something that you’ll probably use twice and throw away, or you build your own.
The latter is the option chosen by YouTuber Atti Bear in his most recent video. In it, Atti shows us how he build his slider with items bought from Ikea for a total price of less than $20.
Floor dollies are fantastic tools for giving your camera some motion when shooting video. The problem with them, though, is that you need a perfectly flat stable surface on which to use them. The slightest imperfection or bump becomes obvious and easily noticeable in your footage. This is why so many photographers and filmmakers user sliders instead. But, what if you could get that same smooth motion with a tripod?
Well, with this fairly straightforward conversion, you can. In this video from ImaginetMedia, our host BobB204 (we’ll call him Bob) talks us through converting a regular cheap floor dolly. It’s a pretty straightforward process, but there are some tricks to help make life easier.
Creating super long slider or dolly shots is something many timelapse photographers and filmmakers dream about doing. For some, hyperlapse techniques and a lot of post production work is the answer. For others, that’s far too much work. When you look at the whole process, you can quickly see why. For others, the solution is a cable cam zipline type system.
It works with the Syrp Genie (review here), to provide you with a level of control that is otherwise difficult to achieve. Until now, though, these have been DIY solutions. In fact, you can see our own DIY Syrp Genie cable cam here. Today, though, Syrp have released their official cablecam, the Slingshot.
DIY dollies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes using a variety of tricks and technology. Sometimes, though, you just have to go back to basics. That’s exactly what’s in this entertaining video from filmmaker David Sandberg. This is the second such dolly David has made since leaving his previous one in Sweden.
Using a variety of inexpensive items available at any hardware store (with the exception of the skateboard wheels), David builds a very respectable dolly. He might describe it as “a sh**ty dolly”, but I don’t think so. This type of dolly is almost exactly what I used when I first started with video around a decade ago. The PVC pipe track makes it easy to get smooth sliding moves on
This is one of those unique repurposing projects that would have never occurred to me. Having never owned a train set in my life, why would it? I didn’t even know they came in such scales that would be capable of shifting a DSLR. It did, however, occur to the folks at Granite Bay Software, creators of GBTimelapse.
In this video, we see how the “Loco Moco” system works. A laptop running GBTimelapse powers the whole thing. Signals get sent out through a USB interface to the train and camera. This controls when the train moves, and when the camera takes its shots.
As visual creators, if and when we begin on that journey from stills to motion, one of the first things we learn is the power of a moving camera. Once confined to the likes of big production companies, camera dollies and tracks have now become an almost essential piece of kit for many filmmakers and timelapse shooters.
Rollocam have now entered into this market with The Hercules, a pocket sized, but pretty powerful motorised camera dolly system for both video and motion controlled timelapse sequences.