Kessler Crane’s “Pocket Dolly” and more!

3
Jan
2010

***Giving away 37″ indislider, info near bottom of blog****

Kessler Crane sent me over their Pocket Dolly Basic and Pocket Jib to review just before Christmas. Today I finally got around to playing with the Pocket Dolly and VERY nice it is too!


As you know I have been using the Glidetrack shooter recently for both my Skywalker Ranch film and my Prague film with great results. The Glidetrack Shooter is smaller and works great on my Manfrotto 055XPROB sticks mounting straight on when I take the head off.

The Pocket Dolly is part of a lovely new range from Kessler Cranes than features the new Cineslider, Pocket Dolly and Pocket Dolly Basic.

Pocket Dolly Basic

Cineslider

The Cineslider I hope to review in the future, weighing 10lbs and taking loads up to 80lbs or more, its has a handle for smooth moves, drag control and much more, I will talk about it more when I get my hands on it, but this really is something to look out for…

The Pocket Dolly is the same as the one I have minus the crank. The crank handle and belt drive system with take cameras weighing up to 20lbs and give quiet consistent movement according to the website. Again, I will report on this more when I get to see one in person…

The Pocket Dolly basic is what I have used tonight and it is lovely. It weighs just 6lbs, is 38″ as is very smooth. It’s perfect for HD-DSLRs, Video DSLRs, EX1 etc…

It comes in a nice little (optional) bag…

It will just fit in my suitcase diagonally so good for travel…Opening it up it came with a manfrotto style base plate on the slider. I took this off as I wanted to mount my 701 HDV head straight onto the slider, using an optional attachment it was a cinch to do that.

Manfrotto style plate it comes with

Of course you can put the slider on floor but that leaves you with lots of low shots so it really needs to go on a tripod. To put it on my above mentioned manfrotto sticks without the head I used to put a quick release plate on, the rails now shipping also have 3/8″ tapped holes in them so you don’t have to do what I did, use another QR plate on the sticks and on the underside of the rails…

To be honest these legs are a bit lightweight for this set up. Fine for the Glidetrack shooter but the pocket dolly is too long, when it gets to either end the balance goes a bit. You can hold the legs tight and it works fine though. I will most likely use the Pocket Dolly with my Miller DS20 Head mounted on top of that which will make it much more secure

It’s a really nice piece of kit, really well made, ULTRA smooth and I mean ULTRA smooth and so light.

I haven’t had a chance to shoot any footage to do this product justice yet as I deep in the middle of a massive edit for a project and then am off to Dubai for a couple of weeks to shoot a feature documentary. I will be taking the Pocket Dolly with me for sure. But do check out the video below from Khalid Mohtaseb who used the Pocket Dolly beautifully in it. Oh and one thing to get excited about, especially if you are into timelapses like me, is that Kessler Crane in Quarter 1 will bring out a modular add on for the Cineslider and Pocket Dolly with crank that will add a motor onto it for motorized movement. THIS IS VERY EXCITING!

***Whilst going through my office I found my old 37″ IndiSlider from 2 years ago. It weighs at least 5 times as much and is nowhere near as smooth. I love this Pocket Dolly so much I am giving it away to someone who can make good use of it. They have to be able to pick it up from West London, they need a 100mm bowl tripod to make it work and I would like the person who takes it to donate £75 to Great Ormand Street Hospital for Children by clicking here. it cost me about $800. Please email me at work@philipbloom.co.uk if interested.***

The Pocket Dolly retails for just $399.95. The case, flat mount adaptor and brake are optional extras. The brake is essential when purchasing this so you can lock the dolly in place.

Comments

  1. Dave says:

    Forthcoming motorized crank is exciting. Would have been nice to have the crank and belt attachment in hand to review, as well. I like.

  2. Jet Kaiser says:

    What a great review and a great video. Thanks so much, Bloom!

  3. Adam says:

    I’m building one of these… All these new sliders are all using the same basic linear sliding system. I’ve already ordered all my parts and once it’s complete it’s going to be a much more modular version of this, allowing the rig to be mounted on stands, in cars, on the floor, at angles, you name it. Much more versatile. If anyone’s interested I can point them in the right direction.

    1. Jeremy Toth says:

      Hey Adam, I am always interested in DIY options. Any details would be much appreciated.

    2. morkus says:

      adam please detail me…

    3. paul says:

      I’m. Very interested

    4. John Eldon says:

      Hi Adam,
      I would also be very interested in your slider. Let me know how you get on.
      John

    5. Sammy 5D says:

      Hi Adam
      Interested. Do tell :)

  4. Steve Staffan says:

    That video is stunning!!! And Philip, I have the inidslider Pro, would you suggest I get rid of it for a Glidetrack, or one of these?
    I think the weight of the indislider is a huge drawback, because there are plenty of times to where I want to use it, but don;t only because I don’t want to carry it with me.

  5. sean says:

    Great review. Which would you say you prefer, Glidetrack or Pocket Dolly?

  6. John Novotny says:

    That crank coupled with a motorized option!! Very nice indeed. I’ve used both the Glidetrack SD and HD and I prefer the HD because of it’s weight. I get a smoother motion out of it. The crank if engineered properly should be even better.

    Thanks.

  7. Fadhel Alhashim says:

    Neat!

    My cosins are from Dubai (locals), one of them works at the airport and the other works in Dubai TV.

    If you need any help just let me know :)

  8. GPSchnyder says:

    Well, I have the big Glidetrack, so this isn’t that interesting. The Handcrank and Belt could make it a must buy, if it really smooth out the movement.

    You should get one system to review that. With the optional motor that could be a burner.

    As I often do Work in minimal space I could place the Pocket Dolly at a wall and start the motor for it to catch the Scene and movement without me trying to move the Cam without being filmed while doing… DOes it work that way?

  9. Jack Atley says:

    ok I am buying one mate , any chance of a Bloom discount for us ?

    1. Nigel Corroon Dubai says:

      I need to order one soon – Glidetrack or Pocket Dolly? I think the Glidetrack is better if you are shooting on the hoof and if you have a smaller type tripod – wat ya think?

      1. pbloom says:

        yep, glidetrack shooter better for quick shots

  10. another example of Pocket dolly footage here… http://www.vimeo.com/8025220 – shot on 7D down in Battery City Park in NYC…
    Great to be able to put one end on the legs, throw it over a shoulder and set up almost anywhere… (I have the version with the removable hand crank, it’s not much heavier and will really be worth it when the motor comes out..)

    Great work Philip!

  11. Al says:

    @Adam, please be kind enough to share your solution for a home made version :)

    Have been doing a little research myself, but finding supply difficult in Aus

    1. Ron Coker says:

      Al, the components are not imported to Oz, I tried but… However if you need a DIY solution that costs peanuts, works as well as any other try Ron’s special, currently running on Vimeo with 6,585 views!

      To make more portable, similar to mini traveling slider reduce the width & height to suit your needs. I rest the rig on my tripod head + handle to provide a third contact point. See my pocket slider comment on this forum for a more detailed rundown.

      http://vimeo.com/4503216

  12. Max says:

    I do not know which parts can be called “made in the USA” ???

    These “Glidetracks”, “Pocket Dolly” are all just taking from the industrie 1:1 and renaming it…
    It is actually a german product…

    http://www.igus.de/wpck/default.aspx?pagenr=1994

    And much cheaper….

    Max

  13. SteveT says:

    Nice Phil, looks the business. Which is your preference? Glidetrack HD or the Pocket Dolly?

    Must say the hand crank of the Pocket Dolly looks superb, as does the Hercules head – I presume the belt/crank are part of the pocket dolly and not ‘extras’?

    Also any chance of a discount code?

    Thanks

  14. SteveT says:

    Have you ever tried the Cinevate Pegasus Linear Tracking system? That looks super smooth and flexible too (Table top dolly)?

    1. pbloom says:

      No i haven’t but Cinevate never keen to let me review gear. I tried with the DSLR gear but gave up in the end.

  15. Desmond says:

    Interesting. Phil. Does the Pocket Dolly Basic bend/flexing a little when you mount it on a tripod (the way you have it set up like in the picture)?
    I mean the center of the track was held on a tripod, but when the camera slide to either end on the track, does the weigh of the camera makes the track bend?

    I’m definitely interested in one of these. So, yeah which one would you prefer, Glidetrack or Pocket Dolly?

    1. pbloom says:

      on this tripod yes as the support footprint is small.

  16. Dennis Mathias says:

    I looked at the Egypt/Lebanon Montage and god that kind of affected me. I first just wanted to look at it from the dolly standpoint (which I did the second time I watched it) but that’s a moving piece of video. Something cranked inside of me. Touching moments. Troubled area. Confusing from my perspective–which I suspect was the idea.

    I would have liked a little wild video instead of dubbed sound–but I can deal with it.

  17. Ron Coker says:

    I recently imported the Pocket Dolly to Oz. Several points of interest … To hand crank at constant speed is near on impossible, A slight speed variation is detectable in the file, hence the optional motor drive. I removed the rubber belt and pulley to overcome a vibration problem that occurred with the platform part way along the rails, the rubber belt appeared to oscillate to the detriment of 5D file. My best results have been from the bare bones basic set up … Simply push the carriage with finger or rod.

    I discovered that resting (not attaching) slider on Miller Solo DS10 head with no base plate, provides a smooth surface. Swing handle up to same height as fluid head to provide a third point of contact. Hand hold the slider at the handle (Start) end, push camera carriage with your free hand. This is very quick to set up, it’s also safe with the equipment provided you hold at handle end as described.

    1. pbloom says:

      cool, thanks for info Ron

    2. rnrelay says:

      Yes… I also noticed that the hand crank, while it seemed a really good idea is actually less than ideal for constant speed. I agree 100% that pushing or pulling or sliding by hand is the way to go until a practical motor rig is available. Haven’t had a vibration issue with the belt drive – my moves are pretty slow usually… will try some fast moves.

      another note… I’ve also used this on my Sachtler Video 20 head and Light CF sticks… as a small Jib… only (and barely) practical with a very light camera like the 7D etc… no counter balance, so operating from the mid-front… using a Manfrotto 701HDV head on the dolly to be able to aim the camera… (have to rotate the head on the baseplate)…

      but doable… a very versatile piece of kit, mine didn’t come with the brake… but have one on backorder… should be standard but thankful to have one coming!

  18. mike says:

    Great review Phillip! Have you used your EX-1 on the glidetrack? I own the EX-1 as well as the 7D and would like to get something sufficient for both. Thoughts?

    Cheers

    1. pbloom says:

      the glidetrack shooter HD would work as would the pocket dolly

  19. Karen Abad says:

    Great how is this going? You’re awesome.

  20. Vikash Verma says:

    How can i buy it and how much does it cost…….

    1. pbloom says:

      link and price are in the blog

  21. Aren’t these all based on the Igus DryLinW system?

  22. Eugene says:

    Me too!

  23. Hi Phil,

    I bought the Glidetrack on your recommendation- great piece of kit! You should check this glider out – 24″ $99!

    http://www.indifocus.com/products_indislidermini.htm

    Also, a tip. You should try Hasselblad [Zeiss T* glass] lenses with EOS adapter mount – unbelievable “look” with Canon 5D. You have a 60X60mm lens on a full frame sensor – makes even my Leica 100 ApomacrO F2.8 look “constricted”.

    rgds

    Kostas

  24. Szymon says:

    I’ve just ordered mine from http://www.marcotec-shop.de/ There is such a difference in Price in Europe! Ouch!

  25. Tom says:

    Check this one http://www.itway.pl/products that is Slide Kamera Linear tracking system for canon 7D and 5dm2 much cheaply and you get identical results.

  26. Max says:

    I don’t know if you guys are aware of this, but you can built one of these sliders easily on your own. There is a German manufacturer selling the rails and the slider for industry facilities. You can order them in their online shop. They have distributors around the globe.

    You can get custom lengths and even a geared version so you could actually built your own motor controlled device… or hand crank it.

    Building one is very basic, all you have to do is drill three wholes, there is a tutorial on dvxuser.com

    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=145701

    Obviously you do need to have the time to build your own slider, but it in the end it might save you quite some money…

    1. finn says:

      Yes, Max is right. Order the Igus Profile, drill three holes and save your money!

  27. Anthony Wood says:

    Just picked of the Kessler KC-Lite micro jib arm. Great for DSLR shooting! Compact, fits in it’s own, small carrying case. Works fabulously well on a medium sized video tripod.

  28. Ruskin the Terrible says:

    brilliant work.

  29. Bryce Harvey says:

    Just got my Pocket Dolly. Canon 7d, Kessler Pocket Dolly and Bogen 701 head. Great, light and maneuverable setups. A little hard to level and can be slightly unstable.

    Uploaded some footage here: http://www.vimeo.com/8852645

  30. I have had the Pocket Dolly for a few months now with their K-Pod tripod system – it is just fantastic, soooooooo smooth and bullet proof construction. I would not want to use the tripod on a daily basis (it is really heavy) but that was bought to take a Kessler crane. I am about to take delivery of the new Pocket Jib the early part of next week. I will report back on the Pocket Dolly’s connection to it and the performance of the jib/crane when I have had a chance to use it.

  31. That’s a beautiful bit of work by Khalid, lovely use of light. Thank’s Phil for keeping up the interest levels in this industry by always looking to push the boundaries in simple and innovative ways. Keeps us old hands from becoming complacent!

  32. L J Oshin says:

    I have look at the video sometime ago and have not been able to get a hold of a pocket dolly, would love to carry one with me on my next trip, where and how can i buy one please contact me on this email thank you

  33. [...] Haiti Earthquake Aftermath Montage: Khalid Mohtaseb was hired to shoot footage in Haiti for two international networks. This is a montage of his personal footage of the aftermath shot during his spare time in and around Port au Prince. Amazing stuff. It was shot with a Canon 5D Mark 2 and the slow pans are a result of using the Kessler Pocket Dolly. [...]

  34. Lucas Ridley says:

    Philip, you mentioned putting your Miller head on the pocket dolley? I have the DS-10 and can’t figure out how it would fit on the dolley. I can’t see a way to take off the ball with the bolt sticking out the bottom off the head. Any tips? Thanks.

  35. Alex Palmer says:

    Hi Philip,

    I’m thinking about getting something like this for the corporate work I do, however do you think it will support the HM700, could you recommend something? I’m also looking for a small portable crane too!

    Thanks!

  36. Danny Akker says:

    does anyone know how i can attach a manfrotto 701 head to the top of the cineslider so i can make a dolly in out?
    Thank you in advance!

    1. pbloom says:

      yes you can, just try to avoid the dolly in shot!

  37. Gernot says:

    Interesting piece of stuff!

    I´d like to know how to fix a Miller DS-20 head on the Pocket Dolly! Does someone know? I checked the Miller Website, there is an adapter for mounting ball leveled heads (like the DS-20) to a flat based tripod. So, maybe this is the way to get it done: Miller DS-20, Miller adapter, Kessler Flat mount adapter, Pocket Dolly.

    Does someone already did mount this equipment?

    1. pbloom says:

      manfrotto make a ball mount adaptor then you need the high hat from Kessler Crane

  38. Tim says:

    Philip or Anyone,
    Can you provide the part number or URL to the spacer that you have pictured to allow a 701HDV head to be mounted without interfering with the locking knob?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      that’s the flat head adaptor that comes with the dolly.

  39. Bart Lyons says:

    Philip can you purchase the pocket dolly in the UK?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      afraid not yet . no

  40. . I would not want to use the tripod on a daily basis (it is really heavy) but that was bought to take a Kessler crane. I am about to take delivery of the new Pocket Jib the early part of next week.

  41. Hey Philip/all!

    We’ve purchased 2 of your traveler pocket dollys and they’ve just arrived! Very nice!

    Here is a quick test shot from our studio