In this age of digital video and film production, we are constantly being pushed to learn new and innovative ways to tell stories and capture light. As budgets and timelines shrink, we are forced to figure out faster and more effective ways to get shots accomplished. It can quickly become very costly if you spend good money on the wrong tools.
There are now more manufacturers than ever making new and innovative tools for all of us in the production industry. Earlier this year I received a Pico Dolly from Photography & Cinema to experiment with, but I’ve only recently had much opportunity to use it. I love how these smaller companies are breaking to mold of large equipment (dolly and track system) and shrinking them down (in size and price) to meet the needs smaller cameras and budgets.
I typically bring my Cinevate Altas 10 on set, but there have been a few instances when I just couldn’t get it set up properly. Either there wasn’t enough room to setup a sturdy tripod to mount it on, or the slider track was visible in my shot. That’s where something like the Pico Dolly is an ideal solution. Because it doesn’t sit on a track, there’s nothing to interfere with your shot and it can then glide on any smooth surface available.
On a recent shoot in a small Honolulu office, I utilized the Pico Dolly to achieve a subtle moving shots on a desk. The dolly simply glided along the desktop, without the need for a tripod or rails. It also doubled as a hi-hat for stationary table top and floor shots. I didn’t use my tripod at all the whole day.
I also used the Pico Dolly on a project earlier this year for Startup Weekend Honolulu. Because The Greenhouse: Innovation Hub was packed full of people and chairs, there was no way for me to use a traditional slider or dolly in the space allotted. Instead, I ran the tiny Pico Dolly across the 8 foot stage floor to give movement to my time-lapse.
The Pico Dolly is a compact and versatile tool that would be a great addition to any production kit. At a mere $100 for the dolly, ball head and carrying pouch, it’s a really cost effective way to give movement to your shots.