The Focus 35 Rotation 360 Skater Dolly is a compact dolly designed for use with HDSLRs and prosumer camcorders. It is based on a 1/4″ aluminum plate with axles on the front and rear and 4 ball-bearing wheels. It’s almost like a baby skateboard – hence the “Skater Dolly” name.
There is a 1/4″ and 3/8″ mounting screw in the center of the plate for attaching a tripod head, which in turn allows you to adjust the angle of the camera. The Skater Dolly is quite solid thanks to the heavy-duty aluminum plate and the durable wheels. I used it with the Canon 5D Mark II and Nikon D3100 with several different lenses, as well as the Sony Z5U, and had no concerns about the Skater Dolly’s ability to handle any of them.
The Skater Dolly is also very compact – small enough to fit easily into most camera bags. You could even take your tripod head off and lay it flat in a bag. It’s a tool that you could feasibly carry with you all the time – even when traveling light.
The feature that really makes the Skater Dolly so effective is the adjustable axles. You can turn both axles for a variety of track dolly movements. The axles are locked in place via friction knobs, which work very well. Once your angle is set, you don’t have to worry about the angle changing unless you adjust it yourself.
The Focus 35 Skater Dolly rolls very freely. In fact, it may roll too freely. I could have used a little more friction from the wheels when making slow movements – as you can see with some of the inconsistent motions in the sample video below. I’m expect that this is something which will improve over time as I noticed better handling with it the more I used it.
In the below video, you’ll see some sample footage of mostly tabletop scenes; however, you can also use a countertop, table or any elevated flat surface (think saw horses and a 2′ x 8′ board) for more traditional track dolly shots.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Focus 35 Rotation 360 Skater Dolly. For the $119 asking price, it is an effective tool for the filmmaker on a budget. Obviously, the Skater Dolly won’t replace a proper track dolly; however, there is a lot of creative potential built into this affordable tool.
You can find the Focus 35 Skater Dolly at Focus35.com.