Danny Dodge is a cameraman and cinematographer who has devised what may be the most light-weight and portable curved dolly track system you've ever seen. Searching for a way to build the ultimate portable dolly setup, Dodge stumbled upon the fact that a draw string could be used to arch PVC track to any degree he wished. The SnapTrack Cinerails rig was the result. Combining a simple draw string device with seven Cinerails gives you up to eight feet of curvable dolly track that seems primed for low-impact DSLR shooting, weighs under ten pounds, and breaks down/sets up in about a minute. Check out the SnapTrack Cinerails below, and some pre-ordering info if you're interested.
The SnapTrack Cinerails Kickstarter project has already met its $5K goal, with another couple of days remaining for pledges. Here's Danny and the Cinerails themselves from the Kickstarter:
The system is simple enough, though you'd need to purchase 8+ foot 3/4" PVC pipes upon arrival at every shooting destination if you're traveling, which means it's not a full all-in-one package. If need be, you may be able to build upon Danny's design here and come up with a collapsible track system to complement the Cinerails for all-inclusive portability. A lot of good for DIY shooting can be done with telescoping PVC pipe (just ask The Frugal Filmmaker), so this is surely possible if Danny's solution doesn't work for you. Conceivably you could even try to recreate the whole thing yourself, but given Danny's use of a custom bit size to bore out the 3/4" PVC track snap-in feature, it may be difficult to get it to work as well as the Cinerails.
As for the Cinerails themselves, the shots they can get seem impressively smooth. Danny's posted some example work that has aired already, and he utilized the Cinerails to accomplish the dolly moves (the dolly system was used to shoot the Lexus driving by):
$300 gets you the full SnapTrack Cinerails system, which is enough Cinerails (7) for an eight foot pipe track curve supporting up to 20 pounds, dolly, and draw string. $375+ gets you a triple set, meaning you build up to twenty-four feet in track length, or over-brace a shorter length to support greater dolly weight. This may be a better option if you're a very mobile shooter but you use a heavier camera or rig. Alternatively, $60 gets you a set of 7 Cinerails and draw string only (no dolly), so you have the option of building or beefing up to whatever extent you may need. Danny's promising pre-purchase backers a better price than everyone else will end up having to pay, so if this system seems to meet your needs, head on over to Kickstarter.
What do you guys think, does this system sell itself for you? Is this something you've been waiting for? How do you see yourself benefitting from a rig this transportable and light-weight?