Introduction: 30 Second Table Top Dolly

About: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Martha…

If you're shooting a small-scale table top video, and want a cheap 'n easy* way to track horizontal movement, this 30 second table top dolly idea is a quick and (just a little bit) dirty way to get smooth tracking shots using things you probably already have in your kitchen.

(Thanks to my co-brain behind this MacGyver fix, Mr. Jon Brown and our model Mikeasaurus)

*Camera equipment can be pretty expensive / cost prohibitive, so this offers a no cost way of getting professional results that will help you make do until you're ready to invest in some profesh equipment.

Step 1: What You Need

1. A book (or books) to raise the camera to the height needed to frame the shot.

2. A very fine powder that will act as the dolly's 'wheels'. Any of the following will work:

  • corn starch
  • powdered sugar
  • cream of tartar
  • pastry flour
  • baking soda / powder

Step 2: The How

Decide where the camera needs to be to get the shot you want.

Sprinkle about 1 tbsp of powder along the path of the shot to be tracked.

Spread it out with your hand.

Place your book(s) at the start of the shot track.

Position camera on the book(s).

NOTE: I got the smoothest results from pulling to follow the shot vs. pushing. So if possible have the action of the shot go in the direction that will allow for that. Pushing is still effective, it just takes a bit more muscle control and practice.

Step 3: ACTION!

Hit record and go!

Happy budget video making everyone. :)

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