SpiderTrax Rotational Dolly – Lost in Translation

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[Above] SpiderTrax Rotational Video Dolly

The SpiderTrax Rotational video dolly is an interesting little product with a long personal history. I recently caught several articles on the web about the SpiderTrax dolly and how I (myself) have been dabbling in DIY versions of this. I've even received several emails about what I thought about the product and 'reviews' i've done. If you don't know the history, I actually created this product and design. Before this simple 4 wheel design hit the Internet, the most common 'skater dollies' were based on a three wheel design by P+S Technik which ran over $6,000 dollars.

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[Above] P+S Technik Skater Mini

DIY'ing a three wheel rotational dolly isn't as easy as it looks. After sitting at home for many months seeing what was available on the web, I decided to tackle the project more simply - Just use four wheels. I tested different designs for several months and then finally placed the product into the hands of PhotographyAndCinema.com. After my initial video showcasing the simple design with upside down axles (to get lowest possible angle), tons of new rotational dollies have spun up. So even though I did a great job at separating myself from this product, just remember that every single knock-off four wheel rotational dolly with upside down axles stemmed from a tiny little blog called Cheesycam.com.


[Above] Sample use of P+S Technik Dolly


[Above] Sample from my own personal SpiderTrax Rotational Dolly - over a year ago.

The SpiderTrax Dolly project for me was successful in making a very simple, low cost design and still be able to replicate all movements of P+S Technik. Forward, back, side to side, and rotational shots were just as fluid. Now before you start searching for a SpiderTrax Dolly, i'll let you know that the original version is out of stock. It's a discontinued item [will there be a v2.0?? Hmm...].

So if you're shopping around for a rotational dolly, there are other versions out there mostly found via eBay. You can tell homemade stuff just by looking at photos, I would stay away from that stuff. If you're looking for a solid product, check out this new version. Smaller than my original design, and cheaper by a few bucks. Anodized plated with fancy markings and graphics. I wanted to see how they went about copying my design and decided to check it out for myself.

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glidecam-dolly-skater (11 of 18)glidecam-dolly-skater (15 of 18)

Ok not bad. It's actually pretty nice compared to what's out there on the current market. A finished looking product. They took the round axles and shaved them flat underneath. This not only brought the axles lower to the baseplate, but allows it to lock down fairly snug with more contact area. Instead of using the 52mm skate wheels, they went with RollerBlade type wheels. I didn't go this route because I wanted the lowest possible profile. It also added more contact area when turning. I personally like the wider skate board wheels. Outside of a few differences, this Rotational Dolly should be a solid option to replace the now discontinued 'SpiderTrax Dolly'. So if you've been waiting for the original to come back online, sorry it's not, but good news is that here's a great alternative above all the other hundreds of rotational dollies now on the market.


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find-price-button Konova Rotational Video Camera Skater Dolly





24 thoughts on “SpiderTrax Rotational Dolly – Lost in Translation

  1. Hi,

    What type of wheels does the spider trax has? Im thinking about making my own dolly. Im planning on getting a 1/4 thick metal plate (12 in long, 4in wide). Skateboard from target, but I heard the wheels are not very good. Any recommendation for the wheels?

    Thanks!

  2. yin

    -emm

    To double check one last time, WF717AH or WF717A is the one that you use on the Korean slider, and is easy to use on other things too, correct?
    Thanks, keep up the good work!

  3. Yin

    Emm,
    Thanks for the quick response. I am confused though. I thought the WF717A is the one that is easy to use with a slider? I have been reading your reviews for the Korean slider, you were using the WF717AH head, which is the same as WF717A, isn't it?

    I do want to use it somewhere else, such as a slider because I just bought one.

    Thanks again.

  4. spaceflows

    I've got to say that Jarrod's DIY with Glidecam cheese plate is the direction I'm going (for a total cost of around $30 and a stupid easy build). Until the rumored Spidertrax 2.0 is unleashed unto the world, I'll kick it with Jarrod's cheap build that appears to be more flexible than the Konova, which I feel is over-priced for what it is and does.

  5. Emm

    Post author

    @Yin - You can take the head off of the WF717 and use it on standard 3/8" mounts. The bowl mount WF717A makes it harder to use the fluid head on other things. If you don't care about using the head elsewhere the WF717A is a good tripod. One other difference is that the WF717 is taller because of the center 'neck'. The WF717A can only expand as far as the legs go.

  6. yin

    Hey Emm,
    I have read every post there is for the WF717A head you have been posting. But I haven't found the difference between WF717A and WF717. On amazon they are both sold with a tripod, price difference of $10. I heard that the only difference of the head is the bottom.

    http://www.amazon.com/Fancier-Professional-Heavy-Camcorder-Tripod/dp/B003UOHPQU/

    http://www.amazon.com/ePhoto-Heavy-Video-Tripod-WF717A/dp/B003HNJ5HQ/

    I want to get the WF717A since that's what you have reviewed, but the tripod with the WF717 seems more solid. If I was getting my first one, which one would you recommend?

  7. Emm,

    You are amazingly moderate when discussing this subject.
    It would be a thorn in my side to no end, especially without crediting the designer. Also, you have done a lot to bolster Konova's products here, and there can be no mistaken the jump in sales since your review of their slider, or any other product you review.

    As you said before, you don't mind these sort of projects, so long as they mention the inspiration or idea origin.

  8. Emm,

    When I went to film school, I learned something that I will never forget. While hanging out with other filmmakers, writers and producers - I would occasionally share some of my story ideas. Inevitably, within weeks or months...I would see my ideas in other people's projects, shown in class or at small festivals. The great thing is that almost everyone realized that the ideas were hacked from my own original concept. And they didn't work well outside of the context that I created them for...but people would just steal them cuz they sounded cool or unique.

    Anyway - I believe that good audiences can tell when something is original or not. If your ideas are original, then no one else will be able to pull them off properly, because they're your ideas. Uncreative people only know how to imitate or steal.

    You are smart to work on a Version 2.0 that will be an even better one than you originally thought of.

    Don't let copycats discourage you. You're creative...you can always think of an even MORE creative way to bring your ideas to fruition!

  9. I'm not saying anything new, but I still felt like I needed to because you deserve it. E, even without this post, us younger (probably older vets as well) will always associate these 4 wheel dolly systems with you. We all know where it came from and everyone who starts up in this world will know as well. Keep up the good work. We all appreciate it!!!!

  10. I bought the Konova dolly a couple days ago and waiting for it to ship. I was trying to buy t he Spider Trax one, but you guys don't ship to Canada!!!

  11. J Toha

    Wow I'll be very upset in that scenario too! Especially when you had the best of intention of sharing that info with the community. It's another thing to have that idea be claimed by someone else...

    Now I see clearly why you kept your latest project under wraps while making sure you'll only reveal that when you're ready (or when you have applied for a patent to it, at least). I think it's legit and wise.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Kay - Yeah speak of the devil. LOL. Don't buy that piece of $H!1 homemade garbage... he's raping people on prices and claiming he's the man behind the idea. You should buy the Konova one, much better quality and better design. You wouldn't be embarrassed in public to use it.

  13. Emm

    Post author

    @Hop - Yes I used a 1/4x20 bolt around everything. To mount a fluid head I used a step up adapter. This way you have the option of mounting a camera directly or a full Fluid Head.

  14. I am amazed on a daily basis by your page. Thank you and keep up the great work.
    Been looking for a spider-dolly myself and found this:

    Any thoughts or experiences, I liked their demo videos.

  15. Hop

    I think I'm going to machine my own this weekend. Did you just have a .25" hole in the middle for a 1/4-20 bolt and tapped holes for the axle tighteners?

    Thanks and very cool videos!

  16. Emm

    Post author

    @J Toha - That's part of the long story. I could patent it very easily and have proof of everything. Shortly after posting the design, this jerk off started pawning it off as his own design and I had a nice phone chat with him. The next few days after the chat, while he acts apologetic he tries filing for patents to steal the design. LOL, talk about a loser.

  17. John

    God bless you and the site, Emm... we love the knowledge you're sharing with us and all the cool stuff you're posting on the site!

  18. J Toha

    Emm, I echo terry's comment. Appreciate all your product reviews (and ocassional rant lol, it's your blog after all).

    Btw, did you ever consider patenting your spidertrax dolly design?

  19. Emm

    Post author

    @skilly Grilly - LOL, nah not about me. Theres an even longer story im biting my tongue about. Maybe ill post that information soon....

  20. terry_mickie

    Hell yeah Emm!! I see your reviews and blog used for other people's stuff all the time. (And I know they didn't ask for your blessing) You are greatly appreciated for all the time and dedication you put into this site. The BEST site on the web. All hail!! LOL I just wanna give you your props, even if others don't!

  21. skilly Grilly

    Emm, I love ya. I love the site and the contribution you give to us all on a budget. But please please don't become a "me Monster". You are too cool for that. Keep up the great work!

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