Thursday, December 27, 2007
The Great Dolly Controversy of 2007
I frequent another site from time to time where various grips, electrics, videographers, and DPs (and a lot of students) discuss various things, mostly equipment related. A while back I stated a rather strong opinion of the Fisher 11. A DP was questioning why his guys liked the Peewee and complained when he made them use the Fisher 11. I rather smarmily (I think I had had a couple of beers . Don't do this and then go on that site) stated that the Fisher 11 wasn't a great dolly and that's probably why his guys disliked it. We traded some back and forth posts, and were quite friendly. A couple of months later, someone dug up this post by me and defended the 11. I (again unwisely after a few) wrote a scathing reply which I then toned way down because I tend to go way over the top and look like a pompous ass. His arguments for it held no more weight than that Fisher had been in business for 50 years, and still made dollies so the 11 must be good. Buy that logic, the Ford Pinto was a great car. Let me say now that I think Fisher is a great company. The Fisher 10 changed the way movies are made. I started out on a Fisher 9 and then a 10. It's just not my dolly of choice. Some guys can play it like a violin and nail it every time. I can't. The boom control is beyond my ability, or desire, to master and be comfortable with (although with time I'm sure I could). The Fisher 23 is the finest jib arm for feature film making in the world. If they sold them I would buy one tomorrow. I just don't share the same view of the 11. I think it's a crappy dolly. Rick Kangrga, a very good Dolly Grip once told me that being able to use both Fisher and Chapman would make me a better Dolly Grip and I believe him. I'm just lazy and set in my ways. Most feature films that carry a Fisher 10 for their large dolly carry a Peewee for their small one. I think there is a reason for this. I think the 11 may be fine for commercials, videos etc, but just doesn't work well for the rigors of features. I don't like the arm speed once you get a real camera and head on it, the marking device on every one I've ever used sticks, they tend to tip easier, and don't even try to ubangi sideways without a lot of counterweight, and doing a boom is out of the question. Those of you who like and use the 11, write in. Am I wrong? If so, tell me. What's your preference?