Wednesday, March 12, 2008
B Camera and You
I've thought mainly of B camera over the years as a training ground for A camera. You can learn all the logistics of the dolly with less pressure and you get a move every now and then. Personally, I really don't like doing B camera. Mainly because it's boring. Often the B camera dolly grip is also treated as a third and has to work the set when his camera isn't working. Every job is different though. Some treat both cameras more or less equally (even though one is still B camera) and you just have two dolly grips. I take B jobs (especially if I like the operator) if no A camera jobs are available. We recieved a question as to how to act as a B camera dolly grip. Treat it like you would if you were on A. Take care of your operator, protect the lens, keep your eyes peeled. You may not do as many moves (or you might depending on the show) but there's still plenty to do. Mostly, though, if you're moving up and plan to do A camera some day, treat it as a learning opportunity. Watch the operator, learn lenses, learn the dolly (usually a Peewee). Become the A camera dolly grip's right hand man.
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Ideally, I make a deal, that if I take a "B" Dolly job, that I won't work the floor with the rest of the guys, however I will be responsible for being the "A" guy's right hand man - helping with laying track & dance floor, keeping the dolly parts and carts in order, cleaning dollies & wheels, etc. That way he / she will be looked after 24/7 while the rest of the floor crew are running around dealing with the key's calls. Also, the "A" person will turn around and help me if they're free.
BTW - I am available!
Azurgrip, you nailed it again. I usually make the same condition as B camera, but get so bored I end up running around setting flages anyway. Great info.
You recently had a post about Dolly Grips joining the camera department which I thought was very interesting and it brings me to this: The Dolly department.
A-Camera usually always works on a TV Series, so why not think of it as a department. B-Dolly is an assistant to the A-dolly grip, working together they are very much a team and need to look out for one another. I have worked with several Keys who would just as well not have to worry about what is happening with the camera and concentrate on lighting. Or we could go to the European style of Gripping, Screw lighting.
(P.S. Dolly Coordinator, a position on Multi-cam shows, pays residuals.)
good timing on this post as i am currently trying to figure out when to leave my b dolly and when to stay put. it seems like every time i step away from the dolly i come back to find i've missed something- change has occurerd and i wasn't there for it. but like you said D, most of the time we aren't moving so it's hard to watch my fellow heavylifters getting a beat down while i just stand there feeling useless.
and Azurgrip... what a great learning environment that would be for the b dolly newbie to be able to focus like that.
Gina, Communication is the key to success. I think that you need to discuss with the Key, camera operator and foucus puller what is expected of you. The politics of a dolly grip is much like a tennis match... Always send the ball back to your opponent.
Thanks CBGrip, it's good to have you with us.
Gina, if you're on one of those shows where you're expected to help out, then help out, but only if the boys are getting buried. Even though it seems like you're slacking off, it's your job to stay close to the dolly. If you see the grips falling behind and you're set, tell the operator you're going to be helping them for a minute and to call if he needs you. If it's to the point where the grips are constantly buried and 2 cameras are running, they need to hire more grips.
I tend, like you , to think of myself as my own department, not to set myself apart from the boys, but to make sure the Key doesn't have to think or worry about camera and, like you said, can concentrate on lighting. We're just specialists hired to take care of a specific aspect of gripping.
thanks for the advice guys
I have been reading your posts for a few months now, and I find it very interesting to see how fellow grips deal with the various problems that crop up from time to time.
I am a Key Grip, working in Europe, Africa, India Australia etc. I have a company caled The Grip Works ( www.thegripworks.com)
It is great to hear from other Grips and see that the Film Business is the same the world over !!
Hi Gripworks and welcome. I'm glad you like the site.
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