Time-lapse Dolly Project
I was approached by my friend Josh Van Patter to design him a dolly that could move a camera from point A to point B smoothly at a speed so slow it’s almost undetectable by the human eye. The purpose of this dolly is to capture time-lapse video.
The time-lapse video dolly is electronically controlled, allowing the user to adjust both the speed and direction of which the dolly travels. The dolly moves down pipe tracks at a rate of about 2′/hr. It is equipped with an electronic kill switch that cuts the power to the 1 RPM gear motor when the dolly reaches the end of the elevated tracks. This allows the user to set up the shot and leave without risking damage to the dolly and his equipment in the event the dolly overruns the length of the track.
What makes this dolly especially unique is its ability to accommodate curved tracks without binding or derailing. The dolly is designed on a three-wheeled platform. Two of the wheel sets guide the dolly on the outside rail, while the third wheel set assembly mounts to a telescoping arm that allows the dolly to accommodate for any discrepancies in the curved rails.
The dolly rides on a fully adjustable rail system that has the ability to break down for easy transportation. The pipe rails used are sturdy 1.375” OD steel pipes, the same that are used for commercial greenhouses. With the use of an industrial pipe bender, custom bent rails systems can be created to capture nearly any shot.