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The Dana Dolly: A Quintessential Cinematic Tool for Filmmakers

Tanner Shinnick

Let’s take a look at what makes the Dana Dolly such a great piece of equipment — and why you might find it on the set of your next production.

The Dana Dolly has quickly become one of those quintessential pieces of film production equipment. It’s reliable, affordable, and it yields high-quality, cinematic results. For its price point, this is a rarity. Since its introduction to the filmmaking market, this dolly has made its way onto the rental trucks of Hollywood features, and even into the trunks of Honda Civics — for filmmakers and content creators of all stripes.

The Dana Dolly: A Quintessential Cinematic Tool for Filmmakers

Image via Dana Dolly.


What Is a Dana Dolly?

The Dana Dolly is a heavy-duty camera slider and dolly system. It helps you capture smooth, cinematic camera movement. In a very simplified sense, the system’s construction and appearance hearkens back to a skateboard on a rail system — although there are some key differences. The Dana Dolly conveniently and efficiently achieves its cinematic movements by sliding on its custom wheels using a piece of metal piping known as a speed rail. The combination of these materials helps to achieve cinematic dolly movements and shots.


Dana Dolly vs. Slider

A Dana Dolly is much larger than a slider. If you’re in extremely tight quarters, a slider may make more sense. However, there are many advantages compared to a traditional slider. For example, this system can hold and secure much larger, heavier camera systems. The amount of support and strong construction also provides much smoother camera movements.

A Dana Dolly can also run much longer track lengths. This allows you to get much longer dolly pushes. Essentially, you can dolly a shot as far as you have the track to support it.

Now, an advantage that a slider has over a Dana Dolly is that it’s much more compact and far more travel-friendly. While you can make a Dana Dolly somewhat compact and travel friendly, you’ll always find that a slider is much more mobile.


Features

There is a laundry list of features. First, the system is capable of supporting cameras and tripod head mounts from 75mm, 100mm, 150mm, and even Mitchell Mounts. This system can support anything from an A7S II up to a fully rigged Alexa package. Simply put, this versatility is what makes it so usable.

Because the wheels can swivel, you can rig it with a curved track — something you can’t do with a slider. As a result, this provides unique camera movements to help make your shots more dynamic. 

Overall, the Dana Dolly is a versatile piece of filmmaking equipment that many filmmakers choose to use when creating their content. If you’re looking for smooth, cinematic camera movements, this system is just what you’re looking for.


Cover image via Dana Dolly.

Looking for more on working with a dolly? Check out these articles.

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