Types of Wheels On Camera Dollies

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Types of Wheels on Camera Dollies? All of them! Well, almost. There are many different types of wheels on camera dollies, each serving a different purpose.

Different types of wheels allow the camera to move in different ways, and each type has its own set of pros and cons. Wheels allow the camera to move quickly and smoothly, and are a great addition to any camera stabilizer.

While most people associate dollies with wheels, there are also non-wheeled dollies. Let’s take a look at both.

Camera dollie wheels

Smooth Camera Movement with Remote Dolly Systems

When it comes to video production, having smooth camera movement is key. That’s why remote controlled camera dollies (roundup of the top choices here) are often used. They’re like a mini train that runs on a metal rail, and they can move the broadcast camera horizontally without obstructing the view of the audience.

Types of Dollies

When it comes to dollies, there are three main types:

  • Professional Dollies: The real deal. These are the ones used by the pros.
  • Sliders: These use bearings over rails instead of wheels.
  • DIY Systems: From wheelchairs to PVC dollies to plywood dollies on skateboard wheels, these are the ones you can make yourself.


Dollies can move in four different ways:

  • On a track: This is the most stable platform and produces the smoothest moves, especially at high speed.
  • All wheels free: For tight turns and complex moves, the dolly can circle in place.
  • All wheels locked at the same angle: This is called a crab movement and allows the dolly to move in a diagonal while pointed in another direction.
  • Dolly in or dolly out: This refers to moving towards or away from the subject being shot.


Dollies can be controlled in two ways:

  • Tracks: This helps keep the dolly on track and is used when on rough terrain or uneven surfaces.
  • Smooth floor: This is also known as the ‘dance floor’ and gives the dolly unlimited freedom to move around.

What’s the Difference Between a Dolly and a Slider or DIY System?

Wheelchairs vs. Sliders

  • Wheelchairs can’t turn their wheels, while sliders can – but the longer they get, the less stable they become.
  • Sliders can’t hide bumps in the ground, so if you’re shooting on an uneven surface, you’re out of luck.
  • Sliders can’t do both horizontal and vertical moves without motorized control.

Smooth Moves: All About Camera Dollies

What is a Camera Dolly?

Camera dollies are like the skateboards of the film world. They’re the perfect way to get smooth, cinematic shots without having to hire a professional skateboarder.

A camera dolly is a platform on wheels that can be used to move the camera in a variety of directions. The dolly can be used on any surface, but it’s often raised onto a track to create a smooth, horizontal tracking shot. Most professional film studio dollies also have a hydraulic jib arm that can raise or lower the camera on the vertical axis.

Types of Camera Dolly Moves

When a dolly grip operates a dolly on perpendicular axes simultaneously, it’s known as a compound move. But you don’t need to be limited to track – you can also do dancefloor moves. These are done on either an existing smooth surface or an overlay designed for dolly movement, which usually consists of thick plywood and masonite.

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Steering the Camera Dolly

Dolly grips have several steering mechanisms at their disposal. The typical mode is rear-wheel steering, where the front wheels remain fixed while the wheels closest to the operating handle are used to turn.

Round steering is when the front wheels turn in the opposite direction from the rear wheels, allowing the dolly to move in smooth circles. This is great for curved track.

Crab steering is when the front wheels steer in the same direction as the rear wheels, allowing the dolly to move diagonally.

So if you’re looking for smooth, cinematic shots, a camera dolly is the way to go!

Dollies: What They Are and What They Do

Flexible Tripod Based Camera Dollies

Flexible tripod based camera dollies are great for getting smooth, steady shots. They come in two varieties: studio and lightweight.

  • Studio dollies are the big boys of the bunch. They’re large, stable, and can even have hydraulics. They’re the go-to choice for professional cameras when shooting in studios, backlots, and on location. They usually need an operator called a “dolly grip” and some even have room for the camera operator to ride along.
  • Lightweight dollies are simpler and more affordable. They’re best used with lighter cameras and are a favorite among independent filmmakers and students because they’re easy to carry and operate. They only support the camera, so the operator needs to move alongside.

Dollies on Track

If you want to replicate the same camera movement for multiple takes (which is important for editing), you’ll want to use a dolly on track. This way, you can get the same smooth shots over and over again.

Everything You Need to Know About Skater Dollies and Professional Video Cine

What Are Skater Dollies?

Skater dollies are the perfect tool for any filmmaker who wants to get those smooth, moving shots. They consist of a base plate, bearings, and wheels, and you can use them with or without tracks. Most skater dollies have a Mitchell mount in the center of the base, which is where you attach your camera. Plus, many come in kits or systems with interchangeable wheels, adapters, and a case.

What’s a Camera Dolly Track?

Camera dolly tracks are like rail-like structures that slightly raise dollies off the ground. This provides a steady route for them to travel, and they’re especially useful for heavier cameras. You can find professional video cine dolly tracks made out of a strong material such as steel or aluminum, as well as lightweight rubber or plastic tracks for smaller camera systems.

Tripod Dollies

Tripod dollies are another great option for filmmakers. They house tripod stands, so you can move cameras around smoothly while still getting all of the benefits of tripods, such as increased height. Some features you’ll find in different tripod varieties include:

  • Individually locking wheels
  • Leg locks
  • The ability to fold down for easy storage


When it comes to camera dollies, the type of wheel you choose can make a huge difference in the quality of your shots. Professional dollies have the most durable wheels, while DIY systems can be great for tight budgets. Whether you’re looking for a smooth ride on tracks or a more unpredictable dance floor, the right wheels can make all the difference. So don’t be afraid to roll with it – PUN INTENDED – and get creative with your dolly moves!

Hi, I'm Kim, a mom and a stop-motion enthusiast with a background in media creation and web development. I've got a huge passion for drawing and animation, and now I'm diving headfirst into the stop-motion world. With my blog, I'm sharing my learnings with you guys.