The camera tracking dolly arrived today three weeks early. I assembled it and took it for a short run.
I took a video rather than a stop-action animation just to get a handle on how it works.
- Easy to assemble and nice and heavy for stability
- The tracks are fairly smooth but I need to push the camera along carefully to avoid vibration due to friction. A little lubricant might help.
- I bought a short track to see how it would work. I can see now that a 30 cm effective track distance (taking the centre of the camera lens and starting and endpoint) is fine for small things but is not enough for more extensive tracks. However, tracking for say 1 metre would probably need a smooth ride such as on a wheel and track dolly where friction is not an issue. I shall look into making such a contraption before considering buying a longer track.
- The camera mount is a bit of a problem because the camera base stops along the mounting screw off centre. I managed to get around this problem by using a screw adapter and mounting on this the quick-release monopod mount.
- Tracking the camera while videoing makes it impossible to focus at the same time: hence focus pullers in film studios. This is one of the reasons why I am going to film using stop motion animation. At each frame, I can adjust the focus. I can also control the lens focal length on the zoom and the lighting.