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Camera dolly

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Camera dolly

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A camera dolly is a specialized piece of film equipment that looks like a little car. The camera is mounted to the dolly and the camera operator and camera assistant usually ride on it to operate the camera. The dolly is operated by a dolly grip who is a dedicated technician trained in its use.

Dolly Moves

The camera dolly may be used as a shooting platform on any surface, but is often raised onto track, to create smooth tracking shots on the horizontal axis. Additionally, the dolly usually has a hydraulic arm that raises and lowers the camera on the vertical axis. When a dolly grip operates a dolly on both axiis simultaneously, this is known as a compound move.

Dolly moves may also be executed without track, adding a third axis and the highest degree of difficulty for the operator. These are called dancefloor moves and may either be done on an existing surface, if smooth enough, or on a special floor installed by the grip department made of a bottom layer of 3/4-inch birch veneer plywood and a top layer of 1/4-inch masonite. The skillful execution of a dolly shot is a highly sought after talent that often leads to a long and fulfilling career working closely with a director of photography.

Types of Dollies

Location dollies are smaller, lighter and designed to fit through standard size doorways. These are the first choice for "on location" work, where it is necessary to carry the dolly up stairs, etc. Studio dollies are larger, more stable and have stronger hydraulic arms. These are the first choice for studio and backlot work where carrying them around is not necessary and stability and comfort are a primary concern.

Dolly Track

Dolly track is available in steel and aluminum. Steel is heavier and cheaper to rent so it has the double disadvantage of being more cumbersome to work with while also being the more used and abused type of track. Aluminum designs are just as stiff if not more so and are lighter and usually in better condition than steel. If steel must be used, 10' lengths are preferred over 8'. Even though they are heavier, they are usually straighter and tighter making them easier to level and keep quiet. Curved track is also available in different radii.

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Movies, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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