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George Ebersole

mini table top dolly

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Has anyone ever mounted a DSLR on one of those mini table top dollys? I did the other day and found it difficult as anything to not only mount the camera but also just to push it around to get a smooth shot.

 

Is there a secret to using these guys?

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I've never bothered with those for DSLR, cause the cameras are always so light/tiny.

 

One thing I'd do a lot is getting a big glossy magazine page, putting the DSLR screwed into a metal release plate on top and tug it along by the sides on a flat surface like carpet or counter top. Worked great on carpet and costed nothing for a dynamic angle.

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Not sure what exact dolly you are talking about, but I've done it with an Alexa on a smaller table top dolly and didn't seem to have any problems getting any smooth shots. I imagine it wouldn't be much different with a DSLR other than the weight factor.

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The chasis for the thing was about the size of a roller skate, and it had a flex arm that just didn't want to cooperate. It's meant for slow subtle moves, but I just didn't have the patience for it.

 

Not a big deal. But thanks for the replies.

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When applying movement to the dolly, use a drawstring attached as near to table level as you can to avoid a tipping moment also being applied. Adding weight should help. The easiest method might be to beg some wheel weights from your local tyrefitter and gaffertape those on to the structure at as low a position as you can. Make sure the wheels are scrupulously clean so no bits of grit cause the wheel to hop. Spin the wheels to check for runout. Silicon tyred rollerblade wheels may develop flat spots if the dolly has been stored on the wheels and not propped upright. If moisture has entered the bearings, they may also be running out or momentarily catching, causing jolts. To control the movement, maybe tie another drawstring on the rear and attach to it, a weight with a flat surface wrapped in cloth to provide a dragging load which is easier to controllably pull against. Don't cut the drawstring too short or it will pull upwards and will jump. If the tabletop is too small then hang the load on a long string over the edge.

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Has anyone ever mounted a DSLR on one of those mini table top dollys? I did the other day and found it difficult as anything to not only mount the camera but also just to push it around to get a smooth shot.

 

Is there a secret to using these guys?

 

In my experience using one of these with a Red Epic and a prime lens, you have to keep your hands on it to get a smooth shot. It helps to mount the camera as low as possible on the thing to keep the CG low. Also, I generally use a piece of laminated shelving for it to ride on.

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I guess it will depend on the model, there are good products and not good products. With a decent product, it shouldnt be difficult to achieve smooth moves.

 

But, unless you require long moves or curved / arc movements, Id recommend using a motorized slider.

 

Ive been using a Digislider for 5 years and wouldnt use anything else, Im currently shooting motion time lapses with it, shoot-move-shoot. Next week I shoot a Red Epic on it.

 

With a speed control, you can slow your move down gradually to a hault, so you have a lot of accuracy and control using a motorized slider.

Edited by David Daniel Doherty

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