With so many different types of dollies to choose from for theatrical/episodic work, it's inevitable that Dolly Grips will align themselves with their favorites. The perfect one, I think, would have features of all of them. How many times have I wished for a Fisher 10 brake on a Hybrid or Peewee. My shoes all have holes worn in the tops from flipping off the brakes. I also like the sound a Fisher 10 brake makes when you disengage it. It means it's time to get down to business: Quiet please! Settle....aaannd roll camera...........Kerchink! I love that sound but I've always had a flair for the dramatic. A few years ago, I took to twirling the lifting handles on my Hybrid, after picking it up and setting it down on track, and slamming them in the receivers like a cowboy twirling two six shooters. I'm such a loser sometimes, I'm really trying to suppress the urge to do that. Azurgrip recently asked about the Hybrid with roundy that has been making the rumor circuit for a while now. I had a Chapman rep dash those hopes for the immediate future though. "They think people who use the Hustler 4 will abandon it and go back to the Hybrid." Which makes sense I guess depending on how you look at it. Personally, I think I would probably make the same choices I do now when selecting a dolly for a particular job.
Hybrid= tough locations, Westerns, Civil War movies etc.
Hustler 4= Mostly stage work, streets, As Good as it Gets type stuff.
Only now I would have the option of roundy everywhere I went.
As much as I love the Hustler, it's a monster. It's heavy. But it's still the dolly I want for stage etc. because it's just more versatile under certain conditions.
A friend of mine, a longtime Chapman user, just told me that he decided to go with the Fisher 10 for a huge movie he's about to start in Shreveport because it's lighter, and his show is some kind of historical epic in a sandpit, Garden of Eden type setting. It makes sense.
I wish Fisher would come out with some new modifications on the 10 however. I know if you request it, you can get the old lever type boom controls. If they would modify one to get rid of that spring mechanism in the control, that you could request, more of us would use 10's for certain situations. Lose the bogie wheels also. Nobody uses square track anymore unless they're doing a music video and even then they don't like it. The freaking things are always dropping down and it drives me crazy. I do like the Fisher's new(ish) system for going to low mode. There's nothing like switching over on a Hybrid while everyone watches the endless parade of wrenches being passed around. The Hustler's system is also good, but you have to hit it just right, and support this huge chunk of aluminum while you screw it in.
Fisher 11's, we've been there already.
Peewee 4's I like, but a 3 is just as good. I also don't like the extended boom handle on the 4's. I usually ask for a handle from a 3 because you can't pull the handle out without turning the steering column- it's so long it hits. I had my fill of this on a movie last year when I needed to pull the boom handle while I was on track (I don't remember why) and had a problem getting it out and the arm sprang up and made Tom Cruise almost jump out of his skin (not to mention the operator).
The Peewee 4 low mode is a design nightmare. Most operators hate it because it's just not beefy enough. I usually request an old style "L" plate low mode because it's so much stronger, even though it get's the camera further away from the dolly on the 4.
Friction tabs on the wheels are also a pain. If they had a positive locking system like the 10, life would be easier for Chapman users. I've even had to carve shims out of blackwrap to tighten them up when they are just too loose. The Hustler 4 is particularly viscious in this regard. Re aligning the wheels involves opening the back hatches, getting the little tool out, opening the front hatches, prying up the tabs with the tool while squinting into a dark hole, aligning the wheels and pushing the tabs (two to a wheel) back down (not easy with the little tool in a tight space). Hint: forget the tool and hammer them down with a lifting handle (I didn't say that).
Anyway, we all have our favorites, and mine is still Chapman. I remember one time, Hector, who left Chapman a couple of years ago (we miss him), flew in to backwoods Mississippi and took my Hybrid apart on the tailgate at lunch, fixed a boom problem, and was back on a plane before wrap. That's service.