On just about every TV or movie set, or in any behind-the-scenes shot, is a camera dolly. Why? Because it’s arguably one of the most important pieces of equipment when creating a video, besides the actual camera itself.

A camera dolly is a wheeled cart for the camera. In more advanced setups, the cart runs on tracks. The camera is attached to the dolly and an operator or assistant moves the entire setup together—or even rides along.

What a dolly allows for is smooth horizontal camera shots. A “dolly shot”, as it’s called in the industry, follows a subject. That’s why the smooth movement the dolly creates is necessary; viewers don’t want to watch video that is erratically moving. Think about a time you were watching something and the camera followed people walking and talking—that’s a dolly shot.

But, how do you recreate that on a budget or without all of the fancy equipment professional sets have? It’s easy. Let’s walk through it.

What You Need

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • 3 Furniture Sliders

How to Make Your Own Dolly

A furniture slider underneath the tripod foot.
A furniture slider underneath the tripod foot.

Set up your tripod, and under each foot affix one of the furniture sliders with the pad facing down. If you don’t want to glue the sliders to your tripod, consider using strong tape. This makes it easier to transport or pick up your tripod without losing the sliders.

Then, set your camera up on the tripod, and that’s it! You’ll be making movie-quality videos in no time.

a homemade camera dolly
The finished product—a homemade camera dolly.

Create Your Own Professional Videos!

DIY Filming: Creating Pro Video with Tools You Already Own | Learn with Vimeo

Written by:

Laura Brothers