Good day! Today I decided that I wanted to do a photo project that would mimic a 'car rig shot' but on a much smaller scale. Specifically metal die-cast cars. Given that there is a lot of different pieces needed for the full scale rig, a complete redesign and slightly different methodology would be needed given that a scaled down rig would not support my camera!
The theory is this: If you move your car and camera at the same speed and orientation and drag the shutter, it will appear that the car is moving really fast. Now, because I like to have a bit of fun I thought that it would be interesting to make a scale model car appear to be moving very quickly.
I decided that I would need to get a smooth rolling camera dolly to mount my camera on and devise a way to attach a car to it. A quick internet search showed a few, but I was convinced that I could do this for less than $25. I designed something in my head and went about getting the parts for it. The most important part of this rig is the wheels. They need to roll smoothly. I decided that inline skate wheels would fit the bill. Fortunately there is a Thrift Store pretty close to me. Found a pair of donor skates for $7.99. I figured that $1 a wheel was pretty good, and since I only needed 4 of them, that would leave me 4 extra for another project.
4 - inline skate wheels ($8)
1 - 12"x1"x4' pine board ($6)
1 - 3/8"x1 1/2" hex head bolt ($.22) [this is specific to the size of the thread of your ball head - check first and buy the correct size. If you are unsure, get both a 3/8" and a 1/4")
4 - #10-24x2 1/2" machine screws and 12 - #10-24 nuts ($3.54)
8 - 1 5/8" Sheetrock screws ($.?? I had them in the garage and they are like $5 a pound - so maybe $.10)
Table saw, Drill, Drill Bits, Counter Sink Bit, Screw Driver or Driver bit for your drill, Tape Measure
* Cut 2 parts of the board to be 12"x12". Save the remainder of the board for another project.
I do have to put a little note here - if your ball head pans, make sure you have it tightened so that you can give it a little twist if need be, but not so loose that it will go all rotatey... On my head, the knob to tighten the pan is right at the board. When mounted, it cannot tighten. I learned...
You can stop here if this dolly will suit your needs. But remember me telling you that my project was to move a scale model car and the camera at the same speed and orientation? Joan Crawford was wrong - I *DO* need a wire coat hanger. They are great DIY staples to have around! Cut off the hook part and straighten it out. On one end, bend a loop in it so that you can screw it into the dolly. You will need to decide where you want your car to be to determine where you want your bends on it. Also, depending on the scale of the scale model, may dictate the length. The last bit of stuff needed is how to secure this to the car. Because some of these cars can be pretty expensive, I wanted to use something that was non harmful to the car. My daughter has to use these silicone-wax ear plugs to take a shower. She cannot get water in her ears. She also can't seem to get them into the trash after she uses them. I have stepped on a few. They are sticky. IF you go this route, use a fresh one.
I obviously did not get it dead straight...
I think I will end this tutorial here since the name of this is "DIY - Small basic dolly for smooth camera motion ". I will make a part 2 that will show what I did to create the "Scale Model / Die Cast Rolling Rig Shot". You can view that by clicking "HERE"! I will have more and better images to show you there, along with a how to on the removal of the rig.
If you enjoyed this, please let your photographer friends know by sharing it to them. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them, just leave a comment below.