Although there were roughly fifteen different video camera dolly systems on the market at the time, producer Paul Lyke couldn't find one that fit all the criteria for his video shoots. After several months of design, five prototypes, and hundreds of hours shooting on the field, the DollyTrax was finalized for the mass market.
"I primarily wanted a dolly system that I could operate (push) myself, all while being able to frame the shot and pull focus at the same time. Secondly it had to be fast setup and lightweight, so I could grab and go to my next shot. I do a lot of fast paced EFP/b-roll shooting, and I don't have the time or crew to set up track."
Lyke notes that the biggest challenge of a trackless dolly system is providing smooth motion on a variety of level surfaces. Three-inch wide, four-ply pneumatic slick tires proved to deliver the smoothest performance on rough surfaces, like streets and asphalt. Another critical feature pro shooters want is the ability to quickly convert from straight motion to curved motion around a fixed radius. "While most systems use track that require calculating radii, measuring angles, distances, etc., it was too much of a time waster for me," says Lyke. "I needed something where I could setup a new shot in around 30 seconds."
Realizing that other producers would want the flexibility of a traditional dolly setup, the DollyTrax design was expanded to include a seat and pushbar option, for a cameraman to ride while a dolly grip pushes it. For shooting on uneven surfaces like grass and fields, standard hardware store 2x6s and plywood can be leveled out as a low-cost and convenient substitute for track.
Research was conducted on popular video producer website forums to determine a reasonable and attainable cost for a full featured dolly. With strict cost control of materials and manufacturing methods implemented for the DollyTrax, a starting price of $499 USD was attained. More information and sample demo footage is available at http://www.dollytrax.com.
About MidSouth Visual, Inc:
An award-winning Nashville video production company for corporate and broadcast, and manufacturers of the DollyTrax video camera dolly system.