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Filming Dolly Parton

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Steve Maskery

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Oh, don't you just hate Predictive Text? That should have read Filming Dolly: Part One. Sorry about that.

My filming is pretty much entirely static, as I'm the only one around to be chief, cook and bottlewasher. So the camera is on a tripod and I stand there and spout off.

But I have a need for a tracking shot, about 2m long. I've seen the little home-made ones using plastic pipe and skateboard wheels, but I need it yesterday and I do have some nice big rubber wheels salvaged off a wrecked shopping trolley that was dumped in my front garden. So off I went.

The first task was to measure the angle of the tripod leg when fully open.

P1050555.JPG


The feet are going to be held in a sort of saw-tooth rack, with the teeth set at the angle of the tripod. This requires a bevel cut, but my saw tilts to the right, so I prefer to have the fence on the left, so that the blade tilts away from it. That way nothing can get trapped.

However, if I move my fence to the left, it can no longer support my SUVA guard, so I brought my Workshop Essentials Tablesaw Fence into play. I don't need to use it very often, because my normal fence is superb, but at times like this it comes into its own. I made it for the last of my DVDs in my old workshop, but it is so good that if I made it again, I would change nothing except the size of the main fence section. This is 50mm wide and 25mm high - I would recommend 50w x 75H now.
So this is the setup. WE fence on the left, then the tilted blade, then a big gap, then the fence supporting the guard.

P1050556.JPG


And from the side:

P1050557.JPG


As soon as I had ripped the piece I could see that it was not thick enough, so I found a bigger piece and did it again.

P1050566.JPG


Then it was a case of cutting it up into 120mm lengths and gluing them to a piece of 6mm MDF.

P1050567.JPG
 

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Steve Maskery

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While the glue was going off, I cut the three arms of the tri-star, cutting a 120 degree point on the end:

P1050568.JPG


P1050570.JPG


I made a circle of MDF, roughed out on the BS and then cleaned up on my RT circle jig.

P1050572.JPG


By now the saw-tooth assembly was dry, so I ripped it (well, actually, it is more a case of many short cross-cutting operations, I had to go quite slowly to avoid some pretty severe breakout) and glued some MDF to the sides.

P1050573.JPG


Then it was just a case of attaching the arms to the circle, the wheels to the arms and glue on the teeth.

P1050574.JPG


I tried it out. It was impossibly unwieldy on the floor, far too big a footprint. So I whipped off the arms (they were only screwed on, fortunately) and shortened them by several inches. The result was much more user-friendly.

P1050576.JPG


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But now I'm happy, it runs very smoothly. It's a bit of a challenge to move in a perfectly straight line (shopping trolleys...), but I think I shall try running two of the wheels against a board on the floor and see if that helps. But this will do what I want at the moment.

I think I shall have a go at making a pipe-and-roller dolly as well, I shall have to keep my eye out for some wheels.
 

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Inspector

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Good Idea.

Have you given thought to glueing pieces on either sides of the racks to prevent the feet of the tripod from slipping off if it gets bumped when moving it?

Pete
 

AES

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Not that I'll ever need such a thing (I don't even own a video camera) but that was an interesting post on "problem solving" Steve, thanks.

BUT having lead us all on with that title (I had visions of Steve's aircraft hangar shop being visited by said lady) I do think you should have somehow contrived to not disappoint us all - I'm sure she would appreciate a guided tour!
 

Steve Maskery

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Yesterday I said that although it runs smoothly, steering was a bit of an issue. So I decided to make a track for it. As long as two of the wheels are in the track, it should stay straight.

I have a couple of lengths of kitchen kick-board stuff, surplus to requirements, which I thought could be ripped up to make a U-shaped channel, but as I was looking round the workshop to find them, I saw my tracksaw track hanging on the wall. Perfect! I can join a couple together if I want and the wheels run in the groove in the track. There isn't ZERO play, but it is minimal.

dolly track.JPG


And the proof of the pudding:
[youtube]8gHbzXmfdcU[/youtube]

As you can hear it is not silent, but I can deal with that in the editor.

Dead chuffed.
 

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petermillard

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Nice solution Steve, but I can’t help but wonder why you couldn’t just clamp a camera to your tracksaw and run it along the track? Or the old ‘postal tubes and a plank’ trick, seeing as how you needed yesterday, and all??
 

Steve Maskery

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petermillard":ytluj0f6 said:
Nice solution Steve, but I can’t help but wonder why you couldn’t just clamp a camera to your tracksaw and run it along the track? Or the old ‘postal tubes and a plank’ trick, seeing as how you needed yesterday, and all??
Well, mainly because I didn't think of that, Peter! Anyway, how would you support the track? My bench isn't deep enough to hold the rod at an angle and the track

It works and it was a fun mini-project in its own right, so I'm happy.
 

petermillard

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Not knocking the project Steve - I hope you shot video of it for your channel as those kind of ‘how to make XXX for shooting video in the workshop’ vids can be popular. As for ‘how to support the track’, I think it’s more a case of ‘why does the rod need to be on the bench’ for a tracking shot??

Out of interest, how long did you spend making this, for the shot you needed yesterday??

As I said, Steve, it’s a nice solution, but the temptation for makers is always to make something - and sometimes a quickly clamped-together lash-up is actually what you need to get the shot done.

Look forward to the video.
 

Steve Maskery

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petermillard":1cd89jux said:
Not knocking the project Steve - I hope you shot video of it for your channel as those kind of ‘how to make XXX for shooting video in the workshop’ vids can be popular.
No I didn't. It takes me an age to film anything. I don't know how you get so much stuff out so regularly, I really don't. You are obviously a LOT more efficient at it than I am.
petermillard":1cd89jux said:
As for ‘how to support the track’, I think it’s more a case of ‘why does the rod need to be on the bench’ for a tracking shot??
Well only for continuity purposes, really, I suppose.
petermillard":1cd89jux said:
Out of interest, how long did you spend making this, for the shot you needed yesterday??
Ummm, don't ask. A mere couple of days...
petermillard":1cd89jux said:
As I said, Steve, it’s a nice solution, but the temptation for makers is always to make something - and sometimes a quickly clamped-together lash-up is actually what you need to get the shot done.
I do not deny that you are right. It's probably why I've never made any real money out of this filming malarkey.
 

screwpainting

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To be fair to yourself Steve, you have been producing great content for a long time and to be honest, clever videography takes a back seat to proper woodworking skills for most of us. Too much chopping up sheet material, pocket holes, table saw tricks, product revues... and not enough 'Square of Thales' =D> =D>

What camera, lighting and lens are you using??
 

Steve Maskery

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screwpainting":15dhl240 said:
To be fair to yourself Steve, you have been producing great content for a long time and to be honest, clever videography takes a back seat to proper woodworking skills for most of us. Too much chopping up sheet material, pocket holes, table saw tricks, product revues... and not enough 'Square of Thales' =D> =D>

What camera, lighting and lens are you using??
OUCH! My current project is sheet materials and pocket screws...
Though I will be using my Square of Thales :)

I have two cameras. Three actually, although I've never used my GoPro lookalike in anger.

I have a Panasonic Lumix G1 for stills, and a Lumix G7 for videography. It's good for quality, the jury is out for user-friendliness. There is no video-out-whilst-recording, and that is a real pain. Yes, I can transmit it to a tablet, but it's not the same. My camcorder had this facility 13 years ago!

Lighting is a mixture of fluorescents, LED panels and halogen redheads. It's not a good combo, but it's what I have to work with.

S
 

screwpainting

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Ahh, I was hoping you used canon stuff. I fancy having a go at making a few floor preparation/ leveling videos and have a 600D but I've never used the video function and know nothing about it.
I will stick to one type of lighting though Steve, I used to do a lot of colour critical product photography for myself and studio flash or continuous lighting with no daylight pollution was about the best, but for video apparently halogen is okay?? and cheap to set up, if a little hot.

In most of the utube stuff I see, the lighting is appalling.
 

petermillard

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Steve Maskery":169kefei said:
I have a Panasonic Lumix G1 for stills, and a Lumix G7 for videography. It's good for quality, the jury is out for user-friendliness. There is no video-out-whilst-recording, and that is a real pain. Yes, I can transmit it to a tablet, but it's not the same.
Agree about the usability/menus. I think ‘video out whilst recording’ was deemed a ‘pro’ feature - it’s on the GH-series after the GH3 - whereas the consumer cameras had a phone/tablet app. Which works pretty well, to be fair, and means you can use the touchscreen for focus etc... which is handy. The current ‘pro-sumer’ G80/85 Panasonic’s have simultaneous live out and local recording, just FYI.
 

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