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DSLR and Pocket Dolly Action Kit Opinions

Filming an ANDRA TV Commercial with the Pocket Dolly v2.0 Hidden Valley Drag Strip - Image:  +Edmund Forman Recently DSLR video has ...

Filming an ANDRA TV Commercial with the Pocket Dolly v2.0
Hidden Valley Drag Strip - Image: +Edmund Forman
Recently DSLR video has matured to the point where most anyone wanting that 'filmic' look is using one nowadays, I know amateurs and professional production houses alike using them for everything from short indie films to television commercials.

The creamy shallow depth of field (or that 'blurry background effect thingy' as my friends like to describe it) is the obvious draw card and so common out there in video land now that you really need to employ some interesting camera moves to stand out from the crowd.  Enter stage left; a bunch of affordable film making tools for the budget lens monkey. From cheap jibs and hand held stabilisers to consumer friendly flying camera platforms in all shapes and sizes.  I have used most of these things while filming motorsports events in Australia for +HighRPM.

Now motorsports action, especially close-up, is not the usual domain for the ubiquitous DSLR. The complexity of functions, awkward placement of buttons and ungainly focus/zoom movement are hardly conducive to the quick pace and unpredictability of high octane sports (lets not get into fast pan rolling shutter artefacts in this article).  To be fair, DSLR video was just a happy coincidence on what essentially is photography equipment.  However they do have their place for some shots, you just need to choose your situations, mostly ones that you can predict with some confidence.

Lately the favourite tool of choice in my DSLR support arsenal has been the Pocket Dolly v2.0 from Kessler Crane, this fantastic piece of kit gives me smooth-as-silk movement on a rig that is lightweight, portable, and perhaps most importantly for the environment I operate in ... I can move out the way bloody fast with it!


DSLR Footage on the Pocket Dolly v2.0

Saftey considerations aside, the fact that I can rely on such a fluid start and stop movement every time means no premature clipping of shots in edits, the intended action is there. The dolly itself is very robust and rigid, so no flexing in use. The action of the ball bearing wheel design eliminates any glitching in movement that might spoil a take.

If you've had to lug one of these around, you wouldn't
be complaining about a DSLR/Pocket Dolly combo!
Image by +Jeremy Horvath 
Surprisingly I have heard quibbles from the occasional film maker about how cumbersome the Pocket Dolly is to carry and use but I put this down to them not having experienced on-the-fly action filming before.  I've used a range of kit in motorsports filming over the years from Steadicam mounted rigs to shoulder borne XDCAM gear and I can safely say that it is possible to displace with my Pocket Dolly/DSLR/Monitor rig faster and easier when the situation calls for it (including over concrete barriers) than with most other systems.

Ease of use? Quality of build? Production value? Bang for buck? Final words are that this combo comes approved by me!

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The Official Auki Henry: DSLR and Pocket Dolly Action Kit Opinions
DSLR and Pocket Dolly Action Kit Opinions
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