Usually, to create a pleasing video recording is a task which takes time and practice. We designed a wheeled camera dolly system that allows laymen and professional filmmakers to define individual, easily reproducible camera movements in no time.

To provide a first insight, a professional introduction in the university's photo studio was obtained. Wishing to gain deeper knowledge and to really immerse into the world of video shoots, we tested all kinds of common equipment. Furthermore, we interviewed a videographer about recurring issues. He primarily mentioned problems around usability, costs and quality.
The idea behind Dolly was not only to combine advantages from already existing camera equipment but to create technical equipment which is open-source and comparatively economical. In comparison to conventional camera dollies our motor-driven prototype expands the motion control capabilities and enables users to build individual and easily replicable recordings with an app.

The app contains two different modes: In the Standard Mode, users have the choice between six pre-built tracking shots, all offering the option to modify route, pan/tilt, and easing functions. Therefor it's possible to easily customize recordings to individual needs. A recorded shot can be saved and reproduced without any problems. For users who desire more creative possibilities, we conceived the Premium Mode. Offering flexible modules, it gives users every freedom in composing and arranging personalized routes.
Our first prototype's focus was on the vehicle's functionality. For testing, we used poplar wood and lego wheels. The second prototype already included aspects of product design. A two-piece structure was built in a CAD program and then 3D- printed. Pursuing a valuable look, we coated it with high-quality lacquer.
The dolly's driving wheel is accelerated by a stepper motor. The two guiding wheels are controlled via servo motors. We tried out multiple types of wheels until we found the ones which guarantee a low rolling resistance and a smooth operation. The gimbal consists of a pan/tilt and is mount to a camera. Vertical and horizontal movements are enabled via two other servo motors.
As the user should be able to interact with dolly utilizing WLAN, we decided to build a local network connection between GoPro and a MKR1000 micro controller.


Redesign / Prototyping
3rd Semester — Summer 2018
HfG Schwaebisch Gmuend

Supervised by Prof. Michael Schuster
Photos by Oliver Jung


Tobias Haag
Ana Keser
Stefan Sengkhun

For detailed information,
check out our documentation