August 25, 2016

The Dutti: A Pro-Quality Skate Dolly Reports For Duty

Matthews brings professional materials, design, and manufacturing to the venerable fixture of indie sets: the skate-wheel dolly.

The skate dolly is often the first dolly a lot of us ever use on a film set. That's because it's inexpensive—using skateboard wheels, and often bolted to a piece of plywood, it’s a great way to get your feet moving with camera movement. But just because it’s low cost doesn’t mean there aren’t some real advantages to using a skate dolly. These dollies can pull off with some shots with ease that you just can’t with a Chapman or a Fisher. 

To deliver the benefits of a skate dolly with a few improvements and greatly improved durability, Matthews Studio Equipment has released the Dutti Dolly, named for Key Grip Jim Saldutti, who developed it over his years of work on major film and TV sets. We previewed it in our NAB video back in April, but now that it's shipping there are more details available.

The size allows for tracking shots in locations not otherwise feasible, such as airplane or church aisles.

The Dutti dolly has a camera mount that rides 2” off the ground, allowing for impressively low-angle shots. It can be used on track or off, riding directly on four pairs of inline skate-wheels. While it’s useful on either round or square track, it’s recommended for a 1.25” square track, and is just as comfortable on professionally engineered track from Matthews as it is on 1.25” box steel bought from your local metal supply shop. (If you don’t know your local metal supply shop, get to know them; you're a filmmaker!)

Dutti Dolly Wheel Close
The Dutti dolly uses pairs of inline skate wheels instead of the traditional skateboard wheels.Credit: MSE

The size of the dolly—just 20” x 24”—allows for the creation of tracking shots in locations not otherwise feasible, such as airplane or church aisles, tight bathroom locations, and more. CNC machining from T-6 aluminum, it is available in several non-reflective colors, including black, red, and matte silver.

The Dutti can also be underslung from that same box steel, providing for some pretty interesting camera placement scenarios. Of course, this goes without saying, but let’s say it anyway: hanging your camera upside-down ("under-slinging") is a dangerous setup. You need to triple-check every single connection in the chain that holds the camera off the ground. A slightly loose camera mounting knob is never a good thing, but it’s a seriously bad thing when the camera is hanging from above.

The Dutti Bare
Bare dutti dolly, reporting for duty.Credit: MSE
The original design for the Dutti was inspired by Saldutti’s work with James Muro, ASC, a longtime Steadicam operator who transitioned to cinematography and was the DP on Open Range (a movie everybody should watch).

Tech specs

  • 1.75” camera mount platform height
  • 20x24” platform dimensions, 3.5” wheel well height
  • .75”-2.25” round tube or .75”-2.25” square tube track
  • 1.25” square tube track recommended
  • Center to center track distance of 16” 
  • Comes with low-profile Mitchell tie-down
  • 25lb weight
  • 800lb capacity
  • Mitchell mount platform
  • 75/100 and 150mm bowl adapters available
  • Billet 6061 T-6 aluminum

Your Comment

3 Comments

There's a glaring omission from this article.

September 2, 2016 at 5:42PM, Edited September 2, 5:42PM

3
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David Gurney
DP
1888

Price?

September 3, 2016 at 9:28AM

3
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avatar
Alex Douglas
Music Video Producer
169

$1,189 at B&H. I've got my trusty Dana Dolly for now.

September 3, 2016 at 3:00PM

0
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