Gotta love the cool, innovative camera gear that you can find on Kickstarter. The latest find is the SnapTrack Cinerails & Camera Dolly System, which its inventor, long time cameraman Danny Dodge, is touting as the “portable, lightweight, snap together camera dolly system” that allows you to use generic PVC piping from any hardware store as the rails AND allows you to customize the arc of the track.
Best of all, you can carry the Cinerails and dolly in a suitcase when travelling!
What are SnapTrack Cinerails?
“SnapTrack Cinerails are rails used to connect two readily available 3/4 inch PVC tubes to make a dolly track. By using the Cinerails draw string, you can pull the track into an arc of varying degrees allowing you to dolly around your subject. As a part of the complete SnapTrack Cinerails system we’ve created a tripod dolly that works perfectly to create smooth tracking shots. The system is one of the most portable, light weight and easy to assemble dolly systems anywhere…. and it’s affordable. Only 7 Cinerails are neccessary to create 8 feet of track.”
How much weight will it hold?
“The standard track set up will hold 20 lbs, combined weight between your camera and tripod. For example, the set up I show in the video weighs only 13 lbs. combined weight (the DSLR and lens alone is only 3 lbs). But, If you purchase a second set of Cinerails ($59) and add them to the track to give it more support per linear foot, you can run a total weight of 70 lbs. That would allow you to mount a full size (25 lbs) tripod, and up to a 45 lbs camera.”
What’s so special about them?
While most dolly track systems are heavy and time consuming to put together, the Cinerails system can be put together in less than 60 seconds. The most interesting aspect about them is that you can convert the straight rails into an arc. This sounds like a big step up from traditional dolly and sliders that are limited to a straight line movement. You can also vary the diameter of the arc, depending on your scene.
Moreover, you only need to travel with the Cinerails cross members and the dolly itself. Once you get to your shooting location, you can purchase PVC pipes at a local hardware store to make the tracks themselves.
Because you are rotating around the subject, you don’t have to walk and pan at the same time:
“Properly positioning the camera allows you to dolly around the subject while keeping them perfectly framed in the picture. With the SnapTrack Cinerails system the need for panning the camera is eliminated. By positioning the subject at the focal point of the track as the camera moves around it, this allows the operator to keep the subject properly framed without having to pan the camera.”
The SnapTrack in Action
Here is a commercial that Danny made using the SnapTrack Cinerail and Dolly System.