View Full Version : Motorised tracks or dollies (and ideas)

05-26-2004, 08:36 PM
I'm planning on greenscreening some miniatures, and I need a few ideas for moving the camera.

Currently, my idea is to use a lightweight camera (about 3 pounds) and mount it onto a model-train carriage. One with a relatively wide set of tracks, and the train would be powered by the electric tracks... and have that dial control to adjust speed, etc. Camera makes it's pass along the set, like so, nice and smooth.

That makes for a pretty flat shot, though, as the tracks can't be raised/lowered like a rollercoaster track for swooping about in exciting arcs.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Books to read, mechanical devices to check out, jury-rig plans for controlling a camera in a similar (but more exciting) fashion?

05-26-2004, 08:44 PM
You're idea is a good one ... basically taking what is used for full scale, and using the miniature version (model train tracks = dolly tracks)

05-27-2004, 10:44 AM
I'd think that you'd be able to lay the track up & down ramps. As to whether or not the train has enough torque to pull the camera up & down the ramps at a consistent speed, I don't know. Have you considered a small jib arm? It won't be motorized, I know, but you'd have more freedom to swoop up or down on the miniature.

05-27-2004, 05:34 PM
I like Arnie's idea of a small jib arm, there's a lot more freedom of movement.

Just an observation about the train tracks - unless the surface is smooth there's apt to be some jitter. Perhaps padding the mounting surface would help.

How about suspending a camera platform from a pulley running along wire or rope. You could control speed by gradual incline or decline. Sling the wire from a couple of C-stands (or tall Production Assistants).

Just random thoughts. Arghhh... now I'm going to have to go build something to see if it works.

05-27-2004, 07:27 PM
rubber wheels may be better than trian tracks ..all movement will be enhanced. Mini-jib would be cool.

Shot Renegade
05-27-2004, 09:14 PM
Make sure you get the scale speed right!

05-27-2004, 10:06 PM
Funny you should mention that scale-speed. ;) I just finished a few hours boning up on miniatures, and that was mentioned frequently.

However... (perfect time to ask) would overcranking be needed on a miniature that is being greenscreened, all by its lonesome? There are no other objects involved at all that could give a frame of reference to size/scale; at least until composited in AFX.

Plenty of time to experiment with techniques, anyway. :shock:

Looks like the train-tracks idea not so hot, after all. I'll look at the jib plan, ta. :)