AirTracks: Kickstarter for an inflatable dollying system for SLRs

Tom Baker (no relation) has nearly funded his Kickstarter for "AirTracks: Inflatable All-Terrain Camera Slider" -- a dollying system for SLRs that will cost you about $275 in pre-support (assuming the project is successfully completed). Baker's product design experience is a little unspecific, but his prototype is impressive, and produces even-more-impressive videos. I can imagine that there are people for whom an AirTrack will open previously inconceivable possibilities.

As soon as you're ready to shoot, un-clip the dolly from your bag and pull out the tracks. Within two breaths and a few squeezes of the built in hand pump, you have a 5-foot dolly ready to use wherever you are. The weight limit for the AirTracks is 8 pounds. That's a lot in the world of DSLR's, because the average camera / lens set-up weighs in at around 3 pounds. (Go-Pro Cameras and cell camera phones weigh even less!) And if it's a pretty windy day, the grommets around the edge allow you to hold it down with tent stakes. As soon as you're finished, twist the mouth valve to instantly release the air, roll it up and you're on your way. The AirTracks were made to get dirty, so once you get home just spray it down with a hose and they'll be dry in no time.

AirTracks: Inflatable All-Terrain Camera Slider (via OhGizmo)


  1. I want to like this, I really do. And I really really want this to work. But here’s the deal, I specialize in manufacturing inflatable devices like this, and I’m a hobby photographer. The end result is that this will only work on a flat surface that’s supported. It’ll be fun for kids with light cheapo cameras, but no DSLR video, and no one looking for consistent results. This is also why I admire/loathe kickstarter – so many ideas out there that seem cool, but have squat for engineering or real market feasibility behind them. 

    1. So do you think the video is faked? Not sure what you’re getting at. They’re shooting video with a DSLR and using the inflatable dolly. Seems like it works just fine.

    2. Sour grapes much?

      The site says it’s to replace metal tracks, which I imagine don’t work that well on uneven surfaces either. All of the video shots show him using it on a flat surface…

      So what’s your complaint? Are you finding it impossible to reliably manufacture working devices? Why won’t the results be consistent? Why shouldn’t kids use light cheapo cameras? Get out of the way dude, there’s people with big ideas coming through.

        1. I have to ask, seeing as I work on devices that use all kinds of motors for a living and often listen to the motor to determine what’s wrong with it: What kinds of motors are you talking about? 

          Stepper motors, Synchronous motors, Variable-speed DC motors, Variable-speed AC motors (Yeah, they’re not noisy at all), Gasoline or diesel motors, Wankel engines, Sterling engines, Permanent-magnet motors, Brushed or Brushless or Coreless DC motors, Air motors, Switched reluctance motors (shades of the Retro- and Turbo-encabulators), Printed armature/pancake DC motors, AC motors with sliding rotors, Synchronous electric motors, Induction motors, Doubly- or Singly-fed electric motors, Torque motors, Traction motors, Repulsion motors, or Only-Included-Because-This-IS-boingboing-After-All Steam-fed motors?

          The only two motors that I would concede are inherently noiseless are flagellar motors and piezo-electric motors.  If our ears were small and close enough, we might be able to hear a flagellar motor.

          As for piezo-electric motors, while these are used in digital imaging (the Mars Rovers used them), they’re of rather limited (as in “no”) use for movie-set dollies.  Which are still pulled by hand.

  2. It looks like a great device, although there is the size, weight, and volume of the sled to consider. And you probably still want a metal track for tripod shots, for example, 4 feet in the air. I have a Konova slider, which is probably not too much bigger or heavier than the inflatable with a sled. Granted, the inflatable is more than double the length. I feel it’s nice to have, but it’s extra gear. 

  3. A metal track can provide a smooth motion on a lightly uneven surface. I don’t really see how this thing would help with slightly uneven surfaces.  I also don’t see why it would be needed on a perfectly smooth surface. And anything that acts as suspension would cause wobble in the motion of the camera.  So I was surprised by the video samples, and I remain skeptical.  It’s cool if it works, though the dolly is more important than the 4 to 6 foot inflatable track; which could be replaces with a similar collapsible metal track.  Maybe it dampens the motion like a fluid head on a tripod?  If so, that would be very cool, and they should explain it.

  4. This thing looks cool and I’m happy for the people involved and was going to send this to some video friends but the demo video has pretty glaring jerks in the shot.  It’s probably great for hobbyists but I think would drive professionals crazy.

  5. “Inflatable Dollying” a *little* misleading.  Enjoyed the post, but now I have to put jammies back on.

  6. Five feet isn’t nearly enough for me – and unlike PVC pipe (which is so cheap and plentiful) this can’t be extended.

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