How do I locate and use different rail lengths with the Stage Zero Dolly?

One of the great things about the Stage Zero System is it’s ability to work with just about any length of rail your heart desires!  It’s also quick and easy to swap the cart and belt system from one rail to another if you’re looking for multiple lengths in your arsenal.  If you're dreaming of ways to push the creative envelope or want something a little easier to transport you have options with our extremely flexible and affordable Stage Zero system.  It will take a little legwork and there are of course limitations and considerations to keep in mind when selecting your rail length.  In this article we’ll cover where to find, how to use and things to consider when using various lengths of rail.

The ‘middle of the road’ length: 6 feet

We offer our premiere complete timelapse dolly with a 6′ rail because we’ve found it to be the most popular and flexible all around length. It’s long enough to get very dramatic moves yet it conforms to a size that will travel like a pair of skis. Both sides of the spectrum (longer and shorter) can be desirable; on the longer side to heighten the drama or on the shorter side to improve transportability. Note that the custom black anodized finish makes our 6′ rail look great out in the field but does not affect performance, it’s more common to find this type of aluminum #1030 ‘t-slot’ extrusion with a clear finish (silver) directly from the manufacturer (


Finding 6′ lengths of rail and less are an easy proposition if you're located in the United States.  There is also not a lot to consider when going shorter.  In terms of the minimum length consider that the cart is about 10 inches long so the travel distance with a 24 inch rail for example would be about 14 inches.  Anything less would probably only suit very tight shots where your lens is close to the foreground subjects (macro photography for example).  Sourcing and shipping short lengths is very accessible to the US market; 2-foot4-foot and 6-foot lengths are available directly from the manufacturer via Amazon: The other direct option inside the US is the 8020 ‘garage sale on ebay’ where various lengths and factory leftovers can be found: .  Granger industrial also supplies 6-foot sections:

If you're outside the US boundary or your looking for a particular ‘in-between’ length not commonly available you’ll need to take advantage of the dealer locator system: . This will allow you to research and find the closest dealer to you, dealers are located throughout the US & world. Our FAQ on "Where can I find Stage Zero track outside the US?" is another great resource for our international customers. 

Going Big!

A few important things to consider when going over 6′ aside from transport challenges are sourcing, support and belt length.  Finding spans over 6′ can be challenging depending on your location…  In the United States 8-foot lengths are available and will ship directly from Amazon but any other length over 6′ will require some research starting with a visit to the dealer locator system: .  Shipping anything over 6′ can be very expensive so longer lengths are best acquired by arranging pickup at a dealer located closest to you.  8020 has great dealer coverage in the states and many heavily populated areas of the world  but unfortunately some areas of the planet may find it very challenging to visit a dealer.

In terms of support it’s best practice to introduce a mid span support when going over 6′ to ensure stability. The rail is very strong so failure is not an issue but bouncing and bowing can effect your image quality.  Belt length is the other important factor here; the belt must be equal to OR longer than the length of rail to take advantage of the full length. For this reason we stock 12-foot lengths of belt which will accommodate any length of rail up-to 12 feet. If you’re looking to go really big (over 12 feet), contact and we can create a custom length belt for you!

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