Make your own Camera Dolly


This simple, “roller-skate” dolly will provide smooth, quiet dolly rolls that one person can set up and operate.  Sure, you can rent one but you don’t always know on which production day you will need the dolly. You can make the basic platform and wheel trucks for about $166.00, less if you use fewer wheels. This dolly rolls on sixteen 65mm roller-skate wheels with ABEC 3 or 5 bearings ($66). The metal V trucks, 8mm axles and welding it all together cost $100. I chose to bolt a high hat ($153.00) to the platform with a 75mm half-ball adapter ($40.00) to level the fluid head and camera.

Roller-Skate Camera Dolly
It glides on speed rail. I made this one 6.5 feet long and 13 inches wide ($125). It would be simple to replace the 6.5 foot sections with 10 foot speed rail for a longer dolly roll outdoors. It mounts onto two low boy stands which you may already own for reflectors or lights (Matthews $265, or Modern Equipment $177, low boy with rocky mountain leg). You can set the speed rail on the ground or apple boxes for low-angle shooting. I keep 6 wedges with the dolly to level the legs.

So, as you see it here the dolly portion costs $359. The speed rail costs $125 for a total of $484 without the low-boy stands.

Weights can be added to the platform without affecting the smooth roll. Weights are used to balance a larger camera, longer lens or teleprompter. I attach a small 7” monitor to the platform to follow the action as the camera rolls.

With a little practice you will be panning as you roll.

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