Dave’s blog: Dolly-on-the-cheap experiment

A quick little experiment this week.

I love tracking shots, and use a glide track whenever appropriate. This is a shot where you physically move the location of the camera while recording, and it creates the feel of moving through space in a way that’s so much more effective than a zoom or pan.

The effect can be created with handheld footage. Image stabilization and smoothing software help. But for a really dramatic tracking shot, you probably need to make an investment: a drone, gimbal or tracking dolly.

Unfortunately, these are not only expensive, but equipment that requires a lot of setup time and practice to use properly. They also take up a lot of room.

Honestly, I usually don’t have the time on a shoot, so I don’t bother.

I was visiting my dad at the assisted living facility where he lives recently, and came up with an idea: He has a wheeled walker gathering dust in his closet. Maybe I could attach a camera to it and see how it works.

After trying it out in my kitchen (which has a really uneven, old floor) I’m super happy with the result. It’s not perfect, but doesn’t need to be. I used some smoothing software in FCPX, and the effect is really dramatic.

I have a dance video shoot coming up soon. Can’t wait to use this!

Write me at dave@davecaptures.com.

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