Its development and use

Posts tagged “dolly

New time and motion movies

Here are some shorts done with this setup (none have any glitches, but they might show the occasional jerk with internet download or a slower graphics card).

The latest Hurley Dolly is great – it’s easy, rugged, and reliable, and folds away into a backpack for getting where we want to go.






Compare this with the previous video.  Using GBDeflicker, the video has been made smoother.  Good program.


Hell’s Gates Hurley Dolly

Hell’s Gates is the name given to the entrance to  Macquarie Harbour.  So called because in the convict days the worst prison of all was on Sarah Island in the middle of the harbour.  It’s a narrow channel with fierce currents and a wide beach.

Rainforest dolly timelapse



We carted the Hurley Dolly into the rainforest down an old railway track at Bird River.  Took some beautiful shots of the bush.


Ice cliffs fulldome panorama timelapse

The circular fulldome lens compresses 360 degrees into a circle.  Imagine the whole of this surrounding you.  The part at the bottom (6 o’clock) will be in front of you, at 12 o’clock it is behind you.  The centre is above your head.

Antarctica – Mawson’s Huts

This posed particular problems.

Nobody had done this sort of immersive cinematography in Mawsons Huts before.  In order to get a good movie of the huts all the extraneous junk had to be cleared out.  This didn’t necessarily please the conservators who were working in the huts, but it had to be done – Pete was shooting fulldome and it would see everything.  For the first time in many years the hut was back to the state in which Mawson left it.

The camera had to go through a doorway – which was thinner than a normal door.  You can see the track system where a second groove had been cut in the ‘sleepers’ so we could put the steel rails closer together.

Pete used a Meade mount on the tripod to get a shot rotating in two other dimensions as well as travelling through the doorway.

A remarkable achievement and a stunning piece of film…..

Building a camera dolly

Pete ( wanted moving timelapse videos from Mawsons Huts at Cape Denison in Antarctica.  The problem is this site is not on any Antarctic Base (in fact, Pete had helped build part of what base there is in 2007-8), and the provision for technology is limited.  Essentially we live in two freezer containers with few resources.  We are dropped off by the French on the way to their base, and remain at Cape Denison for 8 weeks.  Mawsons Huts is one of the historic places in Antarctica where Sir Douglas Mawson overwintered for two years 1911-13.

The location could be anywhere on the Cape, from inside the hut to the top of an ice cliff.  The gear had to be separated into parts able to be stowed in a cage pallet, lifted from a helicopter.  It had to be light enough to carry, easy to assemble.

Pete was using 20 mpix images and a Canon EOS 5 mk 2. The images were to be projected on a fulldome panorama screen.  This meant that any shake in the camera mount was unacceptable, even 1mm was too much because it would translate into a large movement onscreen.

The camera had to move very slowly – a few inches per minute at the most.  It had to move at exactly the same speed all through the travel, the track had to be level and support a tripod.  It was to be powered from a 12v battery and have enough torque to move the whole mount easily.

Many ideas were tried, eventually culminating in the drill dolly, where 3 electric drills were used in a cascade.  The design of every part was important, and it all took a lot of time.

The wheels were from high quality rollerblades, the track was a V-track, with welded links specially designed to be smooth.  The frame was aluminium, bolted together.  The drive wheel was an old RC car hub, but with chamois leather for grip.  The drive string was 3mm nylon cord, stretched just right.

Eventually the whole thing worked – and worked well.  It was very rugged, powerful, transportable.  It’s still going strong, but the design has moved on.

Drive system

Right at the start

The start of the Hurley Dolly

Frank Hurley stands next to the door of Mawsons Huts, 1911.  The debris he is standing on is still at Cape Denison, and the hut has been preserved by the Mawsons Huts Foundation over the past 11 years.  The Foundation has covered the roof, and cleared ice and snow from inside the hut.