Dolly Wheels: What to Look for
Dolly wheels are an essential part to a camera dolly's operation. Whether it's a dolly operating freely on the ground or if it's on track, the quality of the wheels plays a huge factor in the smoothness of the movement. Here's what you should look for when it comes to dolly wheels.
For the Dolly
When you're looking for wheels for the actual dolly, you want to look for big wheels with tires. They don't need to be outrageously big, but making something cheap using the castor wheels from an office chair will be horrible. Small wheels are difficult to move and pick up every single bump, while big wheels with tires effortlessly travel over small bumps in the floor (with the tires absorbing most of the movement so it's not picked up by the camera). Big wheels make for better dolly movement.
For the Track
Using a dolly on track requires a new wheel system to be adapted for it. The industry standard wheel for dolly track is skateboard wheels. The special design of these wheels allows for very smooth and effortless track movement. The track adapter is designer with at least two skateboard wheels for each piece of track that face each other at a ninety degree angle. This insures that the dolly will not slide off the track.
The best wheel systems for dolly track are made by a company called Modern Studio. This system involves placing the dolly's wheels in trays. The trays then have skateboard wheels that attach it to the track. Each tray allows eights wheels to make contact with each end of track.