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Atomic Dolly Test

Posted: Sat, 5th Apr 2008, 11:24pm

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Atom

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Well, in lieu of recent dolly stuff, we decided to go out and shoot our own little test shoot with our new (and still 'work-in-progress') dolly with the whole Atomic gang at the park we shot parts of Redemption at.

The dollying stuff is ironically pretty minimal in the video, but still feel free to give it a watch. Check it out here!
Posted: Sat, 5th Apr 2008, 11:59pm

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Serpent

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I can't express how much I hate the loading time of your server. Nice dollying, but most of the footage looked horrible. And obviously you could see a camera shadow at the beginning. It definitely showed off the capabilites of your dolly though. I'm going to make one at some point. The cut to the dandelions was cheesy and poorly executed, but the one before that was nice.

One shot stood out as really shaky. You should work that kink out on your dolly or in post (the one before the ear scratching). If this was a stylistic decision, I found it distracting.

I actually dug the music for once.
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 1:33am

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Bryce007

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All but 3 of those shots looked good. The actually smoothness of the dollying was good, the only real problems were to do with the Tripod head not being smooth (which would be easily solved if you were actually being pushed and had both hands free to operate the camera)


Also, that video loaded in about 12 seconds for me. Perhaps Serpents connection is 56K
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 1:51am

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Thrawn

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Nice job Atom. I can't say that all of those shots were perfect, but the dolly itself seemed to work quite well. I'm actually saving up to build a dolly for my next movie, and I've read and watched about 15 tutorials. The reason I bring this up is I was wondering if you used PVC for your tracks? People have different opinions as to whether PVC is good to use for Dolly's or not.
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 1:51am

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SilverDragon7

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Bryce007 wrote:

All but 3 of those shots looked good. The actually smoothness of the dollying was good, the only real problems were to do with the Tripod head not being smooth (which would be easily solved if you were actually being pushed and had both hands free to operate the camera).
Pretty much what I would have said here, instead filling it with this.

Bryce007 wrote:

Also, that video loaded in about 12 seconds for me. Perhaps Serpents connection is 56K
Same here.

:EDIT:

Thrawn wrote:

People have different opinions as to whether PVC is good to use for Dolly's or not.
I have plans for buil;ding a dolly also, but I would think that thick PVC would prove effecient enough.
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 3:26am

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Serpent

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2095 kbps download speed
1339 kbps upload speed

to the Dallas server using this: http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 4:02am

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SilverDragon7

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I averaged...

4840 kbps download
470 kbps upload

I used the Seattle, LA, and San Fransisco servers (Seattle being the closest to my area).
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 4:45am

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Serpent

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SilverDragon7 wrote:

I averaged...

4840 kbps download
470 kbps upload

I used the Seattle, LA, and San Fransisco servers (Seattle being the closest to my area).
I don't want to turn this into a internet connection topic, but I live in Southern Virginia, and to the Washington DC server I was 6,459 download, and 1,151 upload. And I tried downloading his video again, same slowness. I'm just trying to put it in perspective. His server has, for some reason, always been slow for me (other's have complained in the past). So I don't know why it's going slowly for me and not for you and Bryce. Ah well. It's something I've told them about, but if they've since switched and it's quick for everyone, then it's odd. Maybe I'm picking the wrong times to download it? I doubt it though.

Also, Atom, what did you use for the tracks? And have you done any curved dolly shots, or just straight? And if you used PVC, how did you connect the pieces together?
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 5:47am

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Atom

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Yeah, we've used PVC for tracks. A fairly short piece, actually. Some of the reason the ending of some shots actually falls off the track and causes it to stumble.

The shakiness is from shots Ben did by himself pushing the dolly with one knee and holding onto the tripod. But again, this is just to see how well it worked. Obviously with a crane already we're not as much worried about wide stuff as we are getting the best-looking closer shots. Hence there's more of them here.

Another thing to note is that the plan we used didn't really give the base any reinforcement and putting a heavier and sturdier plank of wood down put(s) more pressure on the wheels. For the worse; because it grinds grass and dirt and stuff when outside as we were.

And Serpent, you didn't like my dandelions? It's called a segway cut, hence the luminosity brightens up and goes down. Cheesy, nonetheless. wink
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 3:45pm

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Coureur de Bois

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Atom wrote:

It's called a segway cut
It would actually called a Segue Cut then Atom. You know those annoying two wheel scooters that were supposed to revolutionize the way we traveled? That's a Segway.

Sorry for the interruption, the spelling Nazi has now left the building.

/as you were
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 3:54pm

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Atom

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Gorion wrote:

It would actually called a Segue Cut then Atom.
Nice grammar, spelling Nazi. wink
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 10:44pm

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RodyPolis

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Wow that was a nice way of spending time. No, really that was cool. The shot of Ben or Adam(u all look alike) sitting at the table was really cool. Now I'm starting to see how better dollies can make a scene.
Good music by the way
Posted: Sun, 6th Apr 2008, 11:00pm

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ben3308

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Hello all, I dunno why my bro put this up so soon, I wanted to go and shoot more footage, but I guess you win some, you lose some, hah.

Anyhow, I will be posting up pictures of the dolly itself very soon. Generally it's very smooth, I just need to wipe the caked up grass off of my wheels, which was the reason for bumps in the heavily-zoomed shot of Brian. It's much easier to operate the camera and tripod with a grip pushing you, and this is evident by arguably the best shots in the 'test': the one the circles halfway around Atom (green shirt), the semi-zolly shot, and the one with the camera's shadow in it.

As for construction, it's made of two sheets of drywall screwed plywood (one sheet cut in half, $23), two pieces of angle aluminum ($8 each), 8 skateboard wheels and bearings ($40 at Oshman's but cheaper online), some hardware (1/4"-20 machine screws, 14 @ 98 cents per 3-pack), some paint, primer, and sandpaper (for cosmetic appearance), and some plumbing material for the handle.

The plumbing stuff, while it seemed it easy, was difficult to figure out, because I didn't just want a 90 degree-angled piece of bar to push the thing. I ended up buying a flange to affix pipes to a flat surface, a 45 degree elbow with a nipple coupler, (this makes the flange, coupler, and elbow into one big piece that lets the pipes attach to the wood at a diagonal angle), then just three pipes (one 48" and two 6"), some caps to go on the ends, and a T-joint to attach to three main pieces. This might sound vague, but I'll get pictures up here soon.

I know this isn't much of anything, but I saw the opportunity to get a Michael-Bay-style shot with the sun spilling into a transition (most notably seen in the Transformers trailer) and couldn't pass it up. My wheels need to be tightened more as one of them actually came loose and fell off while filming. I just need to slide off a washer or two and put a lock washer on the bolt instead, no big deal.

Another thing I want to suggest for anyone who is planning on building one of these is to buy more PVC than you think you need. I only bought two eight-foot 1" pieces (1 1/2" is best, I think) and with the dolly being almost four feet long, this only leaves room for a four-foot dollying distance. With about three times as much track, I could do a lot more (as seen in the Hobo teaser).

Digressing, I will be using the dolly for a few upcoming shorts, so be on the lookout for stuff to come. I will also get pictures and more video up in the next few days. Be looking for more tests from us, too, not just dolly stuff. wink
Posted: Mon, 7th Apr 2008, 12:28am

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Coureur de Bois

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ben3308 wrote:

a 45 degree elbow with a nipple coupler
heh, nipple coupler
Posted: Mon, 7th Apr 2008, 12:34am

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ben3308

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Maturity at its finest! biggrin

In case anyone didn't know, is of what I'm speaking:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nipple_(plumbing)
Posted: Mon, 7th Apr 2008, 1:32am

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Serpent

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ben3308 wrote:

Maturity at its finest! biggrin

In case anyone didn't know, is of what I'm speaking:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nipple_(plumbing)
Hahahaha, your hyperlink didn't take the "(plumbing)" into account. Well that was good fun. A dolly might be the next thing I build, followed by a jib. I'm getting a new camera before I head off to college, so I'm all about some DIY stuff right now.
Posted: Mon, 7th Apr 2008, 1:52am

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Zephlon

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Rating: +1

Just a thought...I used metal conduit pipe (the stuff used for running high voltage wires out side) it was $7 for a 10 foot segment at Home Depot (any hard ware store should work)they don't bend or move at all, works great for carpet or grassy areas, a little more expensive, but I recommend it. For connecting them I used some sprinkle head nozzle thing that just barley fit in side.



Posted: Mon, 7th Apr 2008, 2:02am

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ben3308

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Just a question, Zephlon, about the conduit pipe:

Because its smaller diameter and higher density (PVC being relatively 'soft') requires it be elevated (as you have done with the wooden slats in your picture) how do you both transport the materials and support the structure.

As in, do you have to remove the slats to get it to go somewhere else? Also, can the dolly, being elevated and therefore putting stress of the freestanding pipe, still support at least 150lbs for a teenager or light adult?
Posted: Mon, 7th Apr 2008, 3:02am

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Zephlon

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it doesn't have to be elevated, I do that so it doesn't roll side to side. The elevation depends on how high your wheels sit off the ground. sometimes i just put the polls on the ground and not on the slats

I don't quite understand what you mean with "how do you both transport the materials"? I throw the polls in my production vehicle (in the back ground of the last picture) The polls aren't attached to the wood slats at all, they just rest in "U" bracket, so a friend and I can pick up the polls and move the 20ft length piece as a whole, while a third person gets the wood slats and moves them to a new shot area, or I can dismantle the whole thing

the metal doesn't bow at all with just the dolly. With a person on it (I weigh 165) its doesn't bow with the track pieces evenly spaced. if you take out the middle one and just put one slate on either end of the 10 foot length, the poll will bow about 1/4" to 1/2" but will not touch the ground, and it has very little horizontal motion when moving the dolly.

What really nice is that metal against the skateboard wheels causes less friction than the PVC does, so it runs a little smoother

I hope this makes since
Posted: Mon, 7th Apr 2008, 5:53pm

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EvilDonut

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I like the Robert Rodriguez method.

Use a small floor dolly ) used for amps, boxes, etc. No handles, just 4 wheels.( the top side has carpet/cloth)

Then you can lie on it, use your feet, and shoot up for some killer camera angles (you see this used a lot in Dusk til Dawn).

Want to dolly? Sit up with steadicam, and have person behind you push or pull you.

And it's so small and easy to store and transport.

d
Posted: Mon, 7th Apr 2008, 8:29pm

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ben3308

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If I'm not mistaken, Rodriguez used more wheelchair than anything else; not really the dolly. This is cited in 'Rebel Without A Crew' where he only ditched the wheelchair when it had to be used for actual invalid patients at the local hospital.
Posted: Mon, 7th Apr 2008, 10:06pm

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EvilDonut

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ben3308 wrote:

If I'm not mistaken, Rodriguez used more wheelchair than anything else; not really the dolly.
I'm talking later years, such as in Dusk til Dawn. I don't think he's still using a wheelchair for Sin City 2 smile

d
Posted: Wed, 9th Apr 2008, 6:26pm

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A Pickle

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Well, I thought it was fantastic. biggrin
Posted: Wed, 9th Apr 2008, 6:41pm

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Mellifluous

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Looks good, some nice looking footage.

ben3308 wrote:

If I'm not mistaken, Rodriguez used more wheelchair than anything else; not really the dolly. This is cited in 'Rebel Without A Crew' where he only ditched the wheelchair when it had to be used for actual invalid patients at the local hospital.
Someone I know stole a wheelchair from a hospital for the purpose of using it as a dolly. I wasn't too happy. Plus the footage was actually pretty mediocre - from that experience, wheelchairs do NOT make good dollies.