NOTE: These instructions are for complete assembly of a Stage Zero from loose source components, and include complete information for re-build of the dolly. If you have purchased a dolly from us, it will come completely assembled, except for attaching the cart to the rail and installing the belt. Advance to the 'Belt Clips' section below if you've just received your dolly.
The Stage Zero Dolly is easy to assemble for the first time and
should take less than 30 minutes. You’ll find everything you need to
assemble the kit including tools with the exception of a mid-size wrench
1. Slide the stainless 5/16 bolts through the thick flanged aluminum idler roller shafts with the bolt head on the flange side.
2. Slide the yellow idler rollers (‘tubes’) over the thick flanged aluminum shafts.
2. Screw the two assemblies through the bottom of the cart plate using the 5/16 threaded holes and tighten. NOTE: the top of the plate is the side with the v-shape countersink holes, the bottom is completely flat.
4. Now use your wrench to unscrew the motor mounts that block the motor mount holes. WARNING: the installed motor mounts HOLD THE MOTOR TOGETHER. Once you have removed them take extra care handling the motor so it does not fall apart!
5. Holding the motor together sideways; Slide the 1-1/4″ long black thumbscrews through the motor mount holes and place the small aluminum spacers on the ends. If you encounter any resistance, rotate until they break free.
6. Holding the plate and motor sideways (this will keep your spacers from sliding off) guide the motor shaft through the plate, then carefully rotate the motor/plate until the motor is up and gravity is holding it in place. Now gently screw down the thumb screws rotating around the motor to each one until all have reached the bottom then securely tighten them down.
6. Power the motor via the MX2 or 12v power supply and stop the rotation of the shaft when the flat section of the ‘D-shaft’ is facing the outside edge of the plate (this will allow placing the belt pulley on much easier in the next step)
7. Loosen the key locks on the toothed belt pulley and slide the belt pulley onto the shaft lining up one of the key locks with the flat section of the shaft. Position the top of the pulley (‘top’ being the collar with the hex key locks) flush with the bottom of the plate and firmly tighten both key locks using the included allen wrench (smallest hex point)
1. Loosen the two pre-assembled ‘double keyed’ slider pads and slide the double t-nut into a single slot in the 1″x1″x8″ aluminum ‘stabilization bar’ . Position the two sliders flush to each end of the bar and tighten into place.
2. Place the 1/4-20 countersink screws into the top of the plate (once in place they should be flush with the top surface) and screw a 1/4-20 t-nut on the end of each about 1 turn (Note: the flat side should be toward the plate)
3. Slide the 1″x1″x8″ bar onto the t-nuts using the slot on the opposite side of the installed sliders.
4. Center the bar on the plate and tighten the countersink screws temporarily securing it in place.
5. Once you have installed the cart guides in the next step and have placed the cart on the rail. Loosen the countersink screws, hold the bar in place and slide back and forth to make sure it’s lined up with the rail slot. Then securely tighten the countersink screws again.
1. Screw the 4 single keyed slider pads onto the aluminum angles using the included countersink screws
2. Attach the angle opposite of the ‘stabilization bar’ to the bottom of the plate using 2 of the 1″ diameter black knobs.
3. Place the cart assembly onto the rail starting with the sliders attached to the angle and then the sliders attached to the stabilization bar (it should sort of ‘click’ into place). Now take the other angle and line up the sliders with the rail slot and the mount holes. Screw the 1″ diameter knobs in place to secure.
1. slide the 3/8″ length (smaller) thumb screws through the plate and screw into the double t-nut NOTE: make sure the FLAT side of the tee nut is facing the belt clip plate)
2.slide the 1/2″ thumb screws through the plate and screw into the toothed belt clip making sure the teeth are facing the plate.
3. loosen the t-nut thumbscrews and slide the assembly into the side rail slot.
4. slide belt into clip with teeth between the ridges and tighten the upper thumbscrews.
5. feed belt though the cart pulleys and repeat step 4 on reverse side.
6. to tighten the belt system lock down one of the belt clips and make sure the belt is fully biting into the toothed pulley, keep the belt secured in both belt clips, then pull on the loose belt clip and lock it into place using the lower knobs.
Dynamic Perception does not sell or provide tripods. When selecting a tripod/head combination consider the weight of the entire system (rail, cart, camera and accessories). If your working with a 6′ stage zero kit and a professional DSLR the total weight supported by the tripod can reach up to 15-20 pounds. To be on the safe side and since it can be desirable to support the entire system with a single tripod (for example fully vertical or with one end resting on the ground or a surface), it’s best to find a tripod/head that is rated for the 15-20 pound range. We have found the Induro AKB2 tripod kit to be an excellent match for ‘Stage Zero’.
The simplest & quickest way to connect your tripods to the #1030 blue aluminum rail is to use a quick release plate. Simply thread one of the included t-nut s on the standard 1/4″-20 stud of your quick release plate, slide the t-nut into the bottom center slot of the rail, position where desired anywhere along the rail and tighten the plate firmly into place. The tripod now can be mounted and dismounted easily via the quick release plate.
Dynamic Perception does not sell or provide cameras. If you purchase a complete kit you will be given the opportunity to choose a single DSLR shutter cable of your choice (green line in the diagram above) that will connect most popular DSLR cameras to the MX2 controller. We do have additional shutter cables in case you have more than one camera and it’s also worth picking up a couple of extra cables in case this connector happens to be lost or breaks in the field.
Video Cameras: up-to 10 pounds can be used with the Stage Zero system as well. Because most video cameras do not have a shutter release port like DSLRs it’s best to use the system in ‘continious motion’ (‘pulse’ mode under ‘settings>Motor Sl mod’ in the MX2) and simply manually press the record button on the video cam.
Dynamic Perception does not sell or provide a camera support head to ride on the cart. Just about any photographic head work great for this application and will allow for creative camera positioning. The kit comes with stainless 3/8″ bolts to secure a head to the cart and the plate has two additional key-locks to secure the head in place (prevent rotation once secured). Keep your camera’s weight in mind when choosing a head. We have found the Manfrotto 460MG works well for this application but many prefer ball heads.
If you are interested in exploring motorized pan/tilt functions to get two additional axis of motion… It’s worth noting that the MX2 can control and coordinate with inexpensive telescope mounts which can support many DSLRs around 5-8 pounds.
The complete kit includes an AC to 12v DC converter for connecting to power mains but you will need a battery for use in the field. For portable power we have an excellent 2700mA battery that will run the Stage Zero for about 10 hours. Any 12V DC battery will work though, so we do have power cable pigtails to standard 2.1 x 5.5mm barrel connector (red line in diagram) to connect your own battery. Note that the power supply wire with the white stripe on it corresponds to the POSITIVE (+) pole at the battery and barrel plug. For safety sake always disconnect your power supply cable from the battery and cover the terminals when not in use.