Michael Lynders ’19 To Debut Innovative Filmmaking Equipment, AutoDolly, at Fairfield’s Annual StartUp Showcase, April 25

Michael Lynders ’19 To Debut Innovative Filmmaking Equipment, AutoDolly, at Fairfield’s Annual StartUp Showcase, April 25

Image of students Michael Lynders '19 and Matt Fanelli ’20

Michael Lynders '19 and Matt Fanelli ’20

The AutoDolly will have the form factor of a traditional tripod with the addition of three specially designed wheel modules that allow it to glide in any direction and turn on a dime.

Senior electrical engineering major Michael Lynders’ invention, the AutoDolly, won the attention of the judges during the qualifier round for Fairfield’s annual entrepreneurship competition, the Fairfield StartUp Showcase.

Lynders invented the AutoDolly after recognizing the time-consuming struggles that filmmakers encounter when setting up equipment between scenes. He also saw an opportunity to put his engineering and robotics background to use to create a more accessible platform for delivering film and camera movements.

The AutoDolly is designed as a robotic cinema camera tripod that applies collaborative robotics - the idea that a camera operator can work directly with a robot to provide smooth cinematic motions. The AutoDolly has the form factor of a traditional tripod with the addition of three specially designed wheel modules that allow it to glide in any direction and turn on a dime.

Lynders’ inspiration for the product was grounded in his desire to provide technology for camera operators that replaces the need to physically move equipment between shots. To achieve this, the AutoDolly’s software works with hardware to provide a virtual rail system that can be easily configured from shot-to-shot, meaning that time is saved when switching sets.

With the AutoDolly's capacity to transition in very little time from a lockdown tripod shot to a complicated dolly move, the AutoDolly aims to improve overall production for filmmakers and save money on set. As Lynders put it, “On stage, time is money. Production value increases with more shots per day. With fewer hours spent on stage, money can be saved on set wages and other expenses.”

Currently, Lynders is collaborating with two other partners, Matt Fanelli ’20 and Fairfield graduate student Parth Bhavsar. The team plans to debut a scaled-down prototype at the Showcase, specifically focused on the wheel model because, as Lynders claims, that is the “special sauce.”

The final product is expected to be a footprint of a traditional tripod, with tilting and vertical axes. This groundbreaking technology will allow the user to position the camera and have full control without having to move to a different attachment between shots. Lynders also hopes to make a more affordable version of the AutoDolly for independent filmmakers.

To see Michael Lynders ‘19 pitch the AutoDolly at the StartUp Showcase be sure to save your seat at the event on Thursday, April 25, 2019.

Fairfield StartUp Showcase

Date: Thursday, April 25, 2019
Time: Doors open at 6 p.m. Showcase starts at 6:30 p.m.
Location: Quick Center

Tags:  Dolan School,  Top Stories

Last modified: 04-05-19 9:28 AM

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