If you’ve ever had to work with a dolly and track, you know how much time it can take to get everything set up. You also know how frustrating it can be when you realize the shot is all wrong and the track needs to be moved. The Orbit Dolly from Digital Juice liberates video producers from the weary task of lugging around, setting up and breaking down lengths of dolly track, all while providing those smooth, moving shots that can take any video production to the next level.
Up and Rolling
It didn’t take long for us to get the Orbit Dolly set up and ready to go. The three legs, extending out radially from the center, are easily adjustable with just a few twists of each knob. We found each mode (wide, normal and table top) to be quickly obtainable, which gave us a variety of options in a matter of minutes. Above each wheel we found a dial marked with 180-degrees each. The dials allowed us to set our wheels for a straight path or a curved one of varying radius.
After becoming familiar with the wheel dials, we mounted our camera and tripod, and took the dolly out for a spin. We began with the included three-inch urethane 80a type wheels. The urethane wheels made moving the dolly almost effortless on hard, smooth surfaces. However, we quickly found that if rolling on even the shortest of carpet or textured surface, the eight-inch Pneumatic Wheels (sold separately) made for a much smoother and mobile shot. The T-bar (also sold separately) was helpful in moving the dolly, however, for most shots, we found the dolly to be just as easy to maneuver without it.
At the end of the day, we were able to capture some great-looking 360-degree shots, perfect our Hitchcock Zoom, truck left, truck right, dolly in and dolly out tests – all with minimal effort. We did notice that the Orbit Dolly had a tendency to stray from it’s dialed-in settings. Repeated movements required correction from time to time, and long dolly shots would slowly drift off the desired path. Fortunately, the included urethane wheels give you the option of placing the Orbit Dolly on 3/4-inch PVC piping, which would ensure accuracy during additional takes and longer distances.
On the Move
When it was time to take the Orbit Dolly home, the collapsible design took the headache out of transporting it. By loosening the knobs and pushing two of the legs towards the third, we were able to get the dolly down to a size that easily fit into the trunk of a compact car, along with all of our other gear.
Overall, we found it easy to work with the Orbit Dolly. It provides a number of moving shots that can add a professional flair to any video. Our favorite thing about it was if we happened to change our mind about a shot, a quick turn of the knobs and the Orbit Dolly was off and rolling in another direction.
Weight: Approx. 22 lbs, fully assembled
Dimensions:5 7/8″ H x 18 1/16″ W x 16 3/16″ D (Tabletop), 6 3/8″ H x 37 7/16″ W x 33″ D (Normal), 6 3/8″ H x 40 7/8″ W x 36″ D (Wide). Height measurement is taken from floor to top of knob.
Radius: 10 1/8″ (Tabletop); 21 1/4″ (Normal); 23 1/4 (Wide). Radius measurement is taken from center hole to outer edge of dials.
Weight Capacity: Up to 300lbs
Material: Body Components – 1/2″ aluminum plate (series 6061), industrial matte black powder coating; Wheels – 76mm (3 in) urethane 80a type with ABEC 7 high quality bearings; Knobs – 3/8″ – 16tpi x 1 inch bolts with nylon handles.
- Collapsible, saves on space
- Easy to switch between straight and curved paths
- Wheel options for smooth or textured surfaces
- Path not consistent through repeated movement (Note: Not sure if this would truly be considered a weakness, since it is common for trackless dollys)
- Somewhat cumbersome to transport with Pneumatic wheels attached.
- Tripod leg baskets may be too small for some tripod feet
The Orbit Dolly makes camera movement easy to obtain without demanding a lot of time to set up.
Digital Juice, Inc.
600 Technology Park, Suite 104
Lake Mary, FL 32746
Julie Babcock is an associate editor at Videomaker