Making a Wooden Dolly for Filming

A wooden dolly is a do-it-yourself camera sliding system that you can easily make on a Saturday afternoon in your garage. You'll be able to give some smooth movement to your shots, but it won't be as dramatic as using a dolly with track due to it's small size. But, don't let this discourage you. It can create some very nice looking shots, and since it is so easy to make, it's worth building.

The Proper Materials

Before you can start building you need to have the right materials. You will need:

  • 1: 24" Heavy Duty Drawer Slider (for moving the slider)
  • 2: 24" long 1/2" by 4" Oak Boards (Base Sides)
  • 1: 24" long 1/2" by 6" Oak Boards (Base Bottom)
  • 12: 1 1/2" Dry Wall Screws (for assembling the wood)
  • 1: Wooden Board cut to 8" long by 6" wide (This is the top)
  • 2: 8" long by 3" wide boards  (The top sides)

You will need a drill for assembling the pieces together. You are essentially building two pieces that are going to be connected with the drawer sider.

Step 1: Building the Bottom

First, begin with constructing the bottom. The first step here is adding the outside part of the heavy drawer slider to the two side pieces. They should be placed as close to the edge as possible, with both pieces at the same height so they are equally level. Use the screws provided with it to put it in place.

The next step is adding the base bottom to the base sides. You want to have the sides resting on the base. Join the three pieces together by drilling four screws into each side. It is very important that the base sides remain parallel to each other in order for the wooden dolly to operate.

Step 2: Building the Top

Again, you want to add the other parts of the drawer slider to the top sides as your first step. They should be placed about an inch away from the edge so that the top of the dolly won't rub against the base sides. Measure before you drill.

Once the drawer sliders have been added, you can place them into the base to measure the distance between them. Once you have that measurement, you can add the top part by using two screws on each side to join it with the top sides. You should also drill a hole into the bade for the camera head to be mounted into.

Step 3: Adding It to the Tripod

The tripod you have will determine how the wooden dolly is mounted to it. Make sure that you have a tripod leg extended under the side to hold the weight so your camera does not fall over.