Where to start with a do it yourself homemade project – especially one like dolly for DSLR camera – project that everyone will be able to judge at the end, not only as a tool but also through videos it helps create?
As many out there, I’m also impressed with time-lapses made by smooth moving DSLR cameras, eider capturing high quality photos or high definition videos. Camera sliders and dollies are used as a tool to move camera while shooting photos or video, often having on viewer the WOW effect as result. Once you see one of great videos out there obvious way to go is to choose among models made by dolly manufacturers. Numerous models are available to choose from, suitable for probably any situation you may want to work in. That’s the easiest way to go.
Other option is to build your own DSLR camera slider, assuming that you are handyman and have a solid selection of tools and a material that can be transformed into useful components. For my first camera dolly with manual slider I decided to look around my garage and see if I can give another life to whatever I find. In this case to an aluminum pipe, PC power supply, roller skate bearings etc.
Since this dolly/slider was a home project, I thought that if I need to spend money on material or tools it would be easier to buy, lower end, less expensive, manual dolly. Also, time and patience are important factors you have to take into account, as with any other DIY project. Remember, this is a home project and there is no need to rush. Dolly you are reading about was a month long project that I went back to once or twice a week for an hour here and there.
As with anything else, it’s important to plan ahead, as much as you can. Draw a plan that is integrating available material. Draw assembly plans, count number of individual pieces you need and write numbers down, take notes of your ideas, measure and remeasure. Think about different ways you could implement ideas, how will different parts interact, how will you use it, what else you could add in the future, what are pros and cons by doing things one way or another. When you think you went through it all draw a final – hopefully bug free – concept and start building.
Material cost for this homemade camera dolly was close to nothing except for some screws. Good planing made this project fun and time consumed did not make me regret starting it.
Short test HD video shoot with DSLR camera on this slider/dolly;
This dolly has been used to shoot few scenes in Blueberry Lake Resort video but keep in mind that temperature was -17 degrees Celsius.
Did you make a dolly / slider?
Share your build in the comment. Thanks!