FADE: a short film [Video]

Shot entirely in one week, in and around Lake Powell using DIY video & time-lapse dollies.

A little over a year ago, I was approached by my friend Josh Van Patter to build him a dolly for shooting time-lapse video.  This is now the second version of the original time-lapse dolly.  The overall concept is more or less the same.  The main difference is that the new design is propelled using a winch instead of a high-friction foam wheel.

The downside to the old design was that the pipe tracks had to be almost perfectly level or the foam wheel would tend to slip under its own weight.  The winch corrects this problem and, as an added bonus, gives the dolly the ability to climb.

I designed the winch to be removable so that it could be interchanged between multiple dollies, each designed for different applications.

I have four different gear motors that we use with this dolly for controlling the speed.  For time-lapse, we use both a 1rpm and 2rpm gear motor.  For long track shots and filming in real time, I also have a 4rpm, 6rpm and 10rpm.  All the motors are geared with a 24-tooth, 48-pitch brass pinion gear.  The larger aluminum gear that is mounted directly to the hub of the winch has 203 teeth. Like this Dolly? Buy one Now.

In addition to the new and improved version of the original time-lapse dolly, I also created a compact travel-size dolly.  Both systems utilize the same electronic wench, which can be interchanged to reduce cost.

The compact dolly is really simple; it’s essentially just a drawer box.  The drawer slides I use are under mount, full extension ball bearing slides with soft close.   They are the same drawer slides I use in high-end kitchens.  When the slides are fully extended, the winch pulls the drawer closed giving you roughly 18 inches of movement. 

The next phase of this project is making the dolly programmable.  This will allow us to shoot multi-day time-lapses and also give us the ability to throttle the speed.  Peter Kirwin is the brains behind this add-on.  We will be coming out with a post on this as soon as it’s ready.  If you want to stay in the loop, subscribe to my blog or hit me up on Twitter.

Behind the Scenes w/ Josh Van Patter

This video gives a quick preview of the gear we used to film FADE.


Order this Time-Lapse Dolly

make a time lapse dolly

Order this fully assembled time-lapse dolly for just $599.
Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.

Includes:

  • 12V battery
  • 1 rpm Gear Motor
  • 24-tooth pinion gear
  • 203-tooth aluminum hub gear
  • 18 inches of movement
  • 2 rugged nylon handles

Comes ready to shoot. Measuring 11” wide x 19” long x 4” tall, this compact travel dolly fits in most carry on suitcases.

Price: $599.00, plus $29 shipping on orders within the continental US.


Note: Does not include camera mount or battery charger. 

Comments

5 Responses to “FADE: a short film [Video]”
  1. Thomas Clark says:

    Great! Just when I about have the last one figured out you post some video of the new one! Hee Hee! I’ll post a video when I have some pieces assembled. Trying to figure out dimensions now. Working out details in a cad program.

  2. Mike Prom says:

    I tried to make my own dolly, but the quality of my work left me with a hard pulling slide. The shots were bumpy because the slide action was not smooth. I then ordered one from Brian and it was a night and day difference. The level of detail in the work makes it very simple to use.

  3. Julian Tryba says:

    Hey this looks really great. I’m a little confused on the design. Is this dolly also capable of moving on a curved track like in some of the pictures or is that a different set up? Also can the dolly be mounted on two tripods so you can shoot in areas where there is not a flat surface? Finally saw your recent post with the flowers blooming, will you be coming out with this add on soon?

    Thank you. Really like the work you have done.

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