Tripod Dolly

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About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. You'll like it.

Intro: Tripod Dolly

Want to get a nice dolly shot without spending a lot of money? With less than $20 and a Gorillapod you can have an adjustable tripod dolly. You can adjust the angle, the direction, and the radius for circular dolly shots.

It's also ridiculously easy to make. With all the supplies and tools, the build time here is less than 10 minutes.

Video below shows some shots with it. There are still a few jiggles due to the texture of the floor, but you get the idea.

Step 1: What You Need

Inspiration
This project may look familiar. That's because it's based off of the CineSkates project on Kickstarter. I liked the shots it was getting, but didn't want to drop $200 for three wheels. i also knew that I wouldn't have extensive use for this. It's fun once in a while. I'm sure that the CineSkates are much more solid and a great solution, but this Instructable costs less than 10% of those.

Supplies
  1. Gorillapod. I'm using the Hybrid here, but my camera is also light. The SLR-Zoom or Focus would be better.
  2. Three rollerblade wheels with bearings. Lots of these can be found on ebay or amazon. These cost $35 (incl. shipping) for a set of 8. There are cheaper options, but I like the color purple.
  3. Three 2 1/4" 1/4" bolts
  4. Three 1/4" lock nuts
Tools
  1. Drill
  2. Couple of wrenches

Step 2: Drill!

Easy enough. Drill three holes as straight across the bottom of each foot as possible.

Step 3: Add Nuts and Bolts

Again, really easy here. Stick the bolt through the wheel, then the foot, and cap it with the lock nut.

Step 4: Ta-da!

It's a tripod... with wheels! Now you just need to plop a camera on top and you're good to go and experiment.

You can get some cool shots with this tripod dolly, but there can be a decent amount of setup for each shot. Try and keep the wheels as vertical as possible and use the direction of them to control how the dolly will move.

Something else to consider is that for a smooth shot you'll want a smooth surface. This rules out many floors, especially for any large circular dolly shots. 

In the end, this isn't the ende of the world because viewers can only handle so many spinning shots. I like shorter dolly shots that just add a bit more life than a locked down shot. Doing too much will just feel a bit too extreme.

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    57 Discussions

    It is! Good spotting. It's something I picked up from a friend. Makes the camera more anonymous and when shooting you avoid the whole camera conversation.

    I love it, though. Great shooter.

    I Love this! Just - aarrggrrhh! - had a Gorillapod through the door from Amazon, this one being way too small to not fall over (on wheels that is) with my camera on top... Nah, actually only use it for stills , so that's okay; but this nonetheless is an absolutely 5*-awesome hack :D! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Also like the tape idea!!

    My good friend Tomas turned me on to both that camera and the film tape technique. Mostly he uses it on his pro cameras.

    One time we where in aNYC bar and this big guy is eye his camera - a little nerve wracking. Turns out the bouncer was an amateur photographer and was just trying to figure out what camera it was. Turned in to a good way to meet people.

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    devineDIY

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I found that drilling at an angle makes the wheels stay far away from the 'arms' and wing-nuts worked perfectly to finger tighten them. My bro-in-law loved them.

    Hope this helps someone! (oh yea, eBay for the knock off gorilla-pods [small and big])

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    shootfilm

    6 years ago on Introduction

    LOVE this project! I'm a filmmaking hobbyist, and now I'm thinking about devising some detachable wheels that can clamp onto the feet of my tripod. If possible I'll mount the wheels on pivots of some kind, like office-chair casters, so they (and the tripod) can rotate freely during a shot.

    Again, love this project!

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    awakebyjava

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Cool! I just ordered a Gorillapod video with a GLIF for my iPhone 4S. Maybe I'll look for a way to do this without drilling through the legs.

    4 replies

    Cool. Good luck. If you're going to try this, though, you may want a beefier version of the gorillapod. With the wheels on the bottom, the gorillapod has no grip and so you are solely relying on the friction between all of the leg components to keep it in position. The gorillapod I used is rated at more than my camera needed, but could still lose position if I extended the legs too far.

    Then again, the 4S is pretty light. My camera weighs about 17 ounces, 4x the 4S.

    Good luck avoiding the drilling. I tried a couple different non-destructive methods and then just went to the drill press. Don't bother with hot glue.

    Here is what I came up with. Works really well! Thanks for the inspiration!

    https://www.instructables.com/id/Removable-Tripod-Dolly-Feet/

    Yah, the video pod has magnetic feet, so i was thinking of rigging up a metal angle piece with the wheel shaft ending on that. Also would go with smaller wheels, maybe some roller bearings instead of the blade wheels. Would need a really smooth surface, but for my applications I think it might be fine.

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    inkfzz

    6 years ago on Introduction

    As promised, here's a link to a youtube video (if it works, cause this is the 4th time i'm trying) of a few tests i did right after i made my tripodolly. It runs way smoother than i expected and it holds a Pen E-PL1 easily. it's a few simple shots like riding into focus, left to right and some circular movement:

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    evan808

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Really nice! I'd like to build one now! It is amazing how one always finds roller-blades at thrift stores, goodwill, yard sales, etc.

    Also: I'd like to build a simple method for rolling it along a surface (very slowly) to have some tracking time-lapse video... Maybe a string winding slowly along a lego gear motor spool or something... (does that make any sense?)

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    inkfzz

    6 years ago on Introduction

    i just finished making this. and i am very pleased with the result.
    it runs way smoother than i anticipated.
    i went to a skate shop and just bought everything new, cause the old ones they had were to worn out and uneven.
    but still, the whole thing cost me no more than €20,-.
    excellent!!!

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    inkfzzfungus amungus

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    how do i post the shots tho? i don't want to upload them to my youtube channel, since i use that for my jobs only. can i upload them to instructables?

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    fungus amungusinkfzz

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    No, sorry, Instructables doesn't host video. Maybe you can post them somewhere else, like vimeo?