Lego Camera Dolly for iPhone Filmmaking

We are in lockdown in Los Angeles and campus is closed. I spent spring break figuring out ways to teach intensively hands-on film production classes over Zoom. In Production II, students learn to build and work on a set on the Sound Stage. Students also learn the how’s and why’s of camera moves. I’ve been inventing DIY tools to challenge the students to use their creativity to respond to the Covid-19 crisis and to keep making work with the resources they have on hand. I built this simple Lego Camera Dolly to hold my iPhone. I used the LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box #10696 that I normally use during FaceTime Lego Hours with my nephew in Kansas.

Notes on the build:
The flat side is the lens side. The other side is for the camera operator/dolly grip. The phone can be slid in from either side with notches for positioning the lens higher or lower to the base. The configuration pictured is for trucking shots—side to side camera moves. It is pretty quick to pop off and rotate the wheels for dollying shots—forward and back camera moves. I used a cloth scrap (from a t-shirt I cut up for masks) to keep the phone from sliding around too much. A rubber band around the base to keep the phone from sliding would work better but I didn’t have a large enough one on hand. In a future build I’d like to use Lego Technic and add on the ability to do pans and tilts.