SLIDING ON OVER
Camera Dollies vs. Sliders
When deciding on a portable camera dolly system, there are more options for filmmakers now than ever. With crew sizes shrinking and people favoring to drive compact eco-friendly cars, this makes traditional dollies less practical, especially when transporting them from location-to-location. The production value a ‘slider’ can add is similar in ways to a dolly without the hassle of needing a small army to manage it. One person can easily assemble a slider, and simply ‘dolly’ the camera while shooting with very little effort, often avoiding a communication relay during time-sensitive or subtle movements – especially for the less experienced or micro crew.
As someone who loves a ready, willing, and able JL Fisher handy, at times production restraints have forced me to opt for alternative tools like sliders, especially when traveling to shoot commercials or film music videos in tight spaces with little to no support in the camera department. When in a pinch, I choose Dana Dolly, which can easily withstand the weight of an Arri or Red with all of the bells and whistles as well as any DSLR setup you can possibly concoct. Because of its solid design, with Dana Dolly you won’t get herky-jerky camera moves when using it to tell your story, even while executing the subtlest creep-ins as you can with some of the other brands. They also make curved rails and hi-hat conversions that really set them apart from the competition.
Traveling with the Dana Dolly is a breeze. You can use the case available on their website or by packing everything into a small suitcase and buying speed rail (conduit pipe) at various lengths at any hardware store upon arriving at your destination. Since rails are cheap, throwing them out or donating them to a local filmmaker won’t break the bank when you leave to return home.