In this topic I will talk about a DIY Project you can do really easy.
You will get a Dolly similar to the Konova Skater Dolly (google it)
First of all i bet there are a few questions
What is a Dolly?
A Dolly is basically a wheeled Device that let´s you "drive around" with your Cam mounted on it.
What do I need a Dolly For?
You can use a Dolly to create dramatic effects by getting closer/farther from you subject. With a bigger/better Dolly you can also follow your subject while he is walking/running/crawling/etc. away and have a realy steady image. Dollys are also really usefull because you don´t change your angle as you would while using regular pan.
What kind of Dollys are there?
Track Dollys are mounterd on Tracks and are usually placed under a regular Tripod.
-Easy to build for DIY Projects
-Tracks can be placed anywhere.
-Tracks can cover a long range of movement
-The image quality is really smooth if the Dolly+Tracks are of good quality (usually expensive)
Con´s:-You need to carry the Tracks with you if you want to use the Dolly (if you have no car you´re screwed)
-The movement is really stiff making curves or turns with the Dolly is only doable if you have a really expensive rail system+dolly
-For smooth movement you need a good dolly (really hard to build in DIY)
-You need a tripod to use it
Skater Dollys are Dollys which are usually really small . The Konova Skater Dolly is a good example of what they usually look like.
-The wheels can be adjusted in any angle so you can do fast and rapid turns with the dolly
-The Dolly is really Small taking away little room in your bag (you can carry it with you even if you don´t have a car)
-The Dolly can only be used on a COMPLETELY flat surface (it can´t even have the sligthest bum or hole or else it will be visible on yourshot)
-No Tripod can be Mounted on it (If you want to have higher shots you need to either use a higher table or mount a flat surface on a tripod/chair/etc.)
-The Cam is closer to the wheels every bump will be on you shots
3. Slider Dolly
One can argue about this thing beeing a dolly as it may doesn´t even have wheels but I think it makes the same effect as the other Dollys so it still is a Dolly for me ;)
Slider Dolly are bassically Tracks with a Mount sliding up and down on it. (google it)
-Can usually be mounted on Tripods (can be used at any heights)
-Have extremly fast and smooth camera movement due to lack of wheels
-Can also be used to create a cran like effect (Really COOL!)
-Extremly hard to do a good DIY version of them
-Restricted to right left movement (can´t do turns)
-Have restricted sliding length
So these are the Pro´s and Con´s of these different kinds of Dollys.
What kind of Dolly will we Craft?
It will be closer to the Skater Dolly but still be able to be mounted on Tracks if you wish so.
Basically it´s really easy to make you need:
-A Baseplate you´ll be able to find at ANY Homework Store (search fo a metal plate with holes in it)
-2 long screws(for youre Skateboard wheels)
-1 short screw(for youre ball head) Be Carefull if you have a good Ballhead it will just be able to be mounted if you use special screws!
-a couple of nuts (the more the better!!!!)
- a Ball Head
Basically you just need to unscrew your skateboard wheels and scree them to your basplate and then screw the ball head in the middle of the thing.
One Problem you may encounter are the shock absorbers of the skateboard wheels who stick out anddont let you scre tha wheels to yopur baseplate. If you use really long screws just use the nuts to create a gap between the end of the screw and the wheels.
Thats it you skater dolly is done!
If you want to you can also build a couple of Tracks from PVC but I can´t give you any advice for this because I haven´t done it myself.
I took the idea from http://filmmakeriq.com/2010/07/25-diy-spider-trax-dolly/
All Credits for the Idea go to Just Basl Productions
With your new Dolly You´ll be able to get shots like this:
Have Fun with your new Dolly ;)
Disclaimer: Use my Tipps at your own risk. If you´re doing any harm to your DSLR while doing my "tricks you´re responsible for the harm!