Archive for October 19th, 2008

Review of the Glidetrack dolly system

Alastair Brown, a professional filmmaker from the UK, came up with this great dolly idea for his own needs, the Glidetrack. The invention worked so well, that he now sells it via his web site. I tried the gadget this weekend, so here’s my take on it.

The dolly arrived within just 2-3 days via Fedex from UK. An extra $13 was paid for customs. The box was well-padded and all the parts found in tact. I am usually terrible with DIY work, but I had no problem at all putting all the parts together. There is a long stripe of steel that mounts to the tripod, and then a gliding part where you mount a second tripod head, or the camera directly. The Glidetrack is pretty light for what it is so carrying it around is not really a big problem. When assembled, it is about 1 meter long.

The lubricated plastic bearings do the job, and so moving the camera left and right in the track is very smooth and slippery. It will require you about 10 minutes to learn to push/drag the head to the rail correctly, but then it’s a free ride. I used the Canon HV20 for my tests, and I know that the dolly has been tested with it, as Alastair also owns one too. The Glidetrack also comes with some plastic legs on both sides that allow you to shoot floor-level footage.

The only kind of footage that will require extra care is if you would like to do forward/backwards rail movement instead of left/right one. It is still possible to do so if you mount the camera high-enough so the rail is not visible on the frame.

Overall, the kind of footage you get out of it can look impressive, the parts are high quality, and the tech support is fast. Every serious filmmaker should have one of these around. If I had to just complain about something that would be its price, which feels a bit steep, especially with the current UK pound exchange rate (update: the UK sterling has taken a beating, so this might be an opportunity to get the gadget).

More Glidetrack samples here. Discussion here.

Rating: 8/10