Low Camera Dolly: How to Assemble

A low camera dolly is a specialized camera dolly that places the camera low to the ground so that it can capture some very nice low angle shots. You can buy professional low camera dollies, but they are very expensive. You can, however, easily make your own with some wheel castors and wood. Here's how you can assemble the professional ones, as well as make your own cheap low camera dolly.

Assembling a Professional Low Camera Dolly

A professional low camera dolly functions similarly to a tripod dolly. At the center of the dolly is a mount for the tripod head and camera. Three legs extend from the center at 120 degree angles. At the end of these legs are wheels that can rotate a full 360 degrees to allow the low camera dolly to move in any direction.

Connecting the Wheels

The low camera dolly body is one piece of metal, so the only real assembling required for it is to add the wheels. There are usually two to three pieces required for this in addition to the dolly's body. There are two pieces to hold the actual wheel in place, and then one more piece is placed over those pieces to keep the wheel attached to the body. Everything is held together by three small screws. Sometimes the wheel comes already enclosed so it's one giant piece. 

Once the wheels are attached to the dolly, you can add the tripod head to it. Screw the head onto the mount and then attach the camera.

Making Your Own Low Dolly

If buying a professional low camera dolly or making your own metal one is not an option, then there is a cheap alternative. All you need is a 1' by 1' pieces of plywood and four wheel castors that can spin in any direction.

  • Step 1: Drill a hole into the center of the plywood for mounting the tripod head.
  • Step 2: Then, drill the four castor wheels into each corner of the plywood. It's important that each caster is flush against the plywood so that low dolly is level. When you attach the tripod head to it, you now have a cheap low camera dolly.

The Drawbacks to Making Your Own

The draw back to the cheaper alternative is that the wheels aren't really that great in terms of quality. They could easily jam up and ruin some smooth dolly movement. Also, it is very light weight so every tiny bump is picked up by the camera. If you're using this low camera dolly, then you should consider making dolly track for it. A curtain rod from a hardware store can easily be altered to perform the job.