Oh my goodness! Where to start?

I first learned about TIMELAPSE round about the middle of 2010. It wasn’t until a few months later that I really started to research the topic and to find out all I can about timelapse and timelapse DOLLIES. I never knew that timelapse shots are actually produced by means of STILL IMAGES until now.

The first inspiring video that got me hooked on timelapse was shot by none other then the amazingly talented TOM LOWE. I now knew that you can add MOTION to your timelapse by means of a MOTORISED DOLLY, like the Stage Zero from Dynamic Perception and I was determined to get one myself. I just had to have this! I mean, It’s incredible to add movement to your shots. And so, my dolly journey started...

Due to the high cost involved in getting a unit shipped and imported to South Africa I had to find alternative ways to get MY OWN DOLLY. I got down to the drawing board in no time! And of course, if I build my own dolly I’ll be able to do it much cheaper, right? I wanted to proof to myself that I CAN DO IT and do it cheaper, but I’m just too stubborn to have realised that this is going to work out way more expensive!

The research was EXCITING, though time consuming but at times very FRUSTRATING and tiring and it nearly pushed me to just drop it. It proved practically impossible to find all the items needed to build such a rail. Cost just kept on increasing and the amount of suppliers got MORE and MORE each day. It soon became clear that this is not going to be a “one-stop-shop” outing, especially in South Africa. Trying to keep COST as low as possible didn’t make it any easier and neither did the AVAILABILITY and stock factor play into my favour. Most items aren’t even IMPORTED to this country.

I finally COMPLETED my PROTOTYPE in mid September 2011 and it was obvious that this dolly wasn’t going to be the last dolly I make. I really ENJOY doing this kind of stuff and the challenges behind it keeps me DETERMINED to continue IMPROVE and do further developments. My initial estimate on cost was WAY OFF and I didn’t fully know where things would go to. One thing was certain; I had no intension in selling a product that looks like it was produced in a garage! This dolly must LOOK good, WORK well, be good QUALITY, make an impression and be COMPACT, VERSATILE and MOBILE. I want to be PROUD of my product!

Thanks to the awesome forum on TIMESCAPES I was able to get answers to many of my questions. This has been a huge LEARNING EXPERIENCE and I am EXCITED to go out and shoot TIMELAPSE with every opportunity I get.

SPECIAL THANKS to Jay and Chris from Dynamic Perception! Firstly, for loads of inspiration on designing my own dolly but also for allowing me to use and adapt their MX2 into my SMC, together with the software usage.

Here are some photos and sketches of my prototype. I think the IMPROVEMENT from my first prototype to the now called SHUKUMA DOLLY is pretty good. Going from the initial 14 suppliers to almost 30 suppliers seems to have paid off in the end ;-)