Sunday, November 09, 2008

In My Kit

CB suggested a post on the contents of our respective kits. Azurgrip and I have actually covered this before, but it was in the infant stages of this site so it's been a while and I doubt if many of you reached back that far to read it.
I'm not very organized. I'll be the first to say it, and my crew will second it (although I've gotten a lot better). My stuff is pretty spread out over two coasts also. My regular Key Grip lives on the East Coast and only ventures to LA when work demands it. He's doing a show in Atlanta right now which I am sitting out, but he keeps most of my stuff on his 48 footer, which means some other guy is using it right now. My favorite level (decorated over a long night years ago with sharpie leopard spots), my beloved Porta Glides (which I am getting rental for), and my various extra bolts, etc. are all out of reach right now so I'm carrying around a rather incomplete package. But generally, this is what I carry:
A 4' level (I also have a 3' that I really like and have here)
Zep Mold Release spray. I call it "that orange crap" when I call for it. I've been using it as track lube for a few years now ever since Chapman started sending it out with their dollies. I used Pledge for years, and a lot of people still do, but I've found this stuff seems to work a little better. You can reach a saturation point with Pledge where it just builds up and doesn't work sometimes no matter how much you spray, the squeak won't come out.
Assorted Chapman bolts of various lengths and aluminum washers. These come in real handy for any dolly rigs you may have to do.
3/8 camera bolts and washers.
Extra bearings for skates.
Castle nut wrench. I rarely use it but I have one.
Daisy chain and caribeaners.
Tent stakes, chalk with these fancy big wooden chalk holders that lumberjacks use (I'm a lumberjack!)
I think I have some beanbag markers but I can't keep up with them.
A couple of 3 and 5 lb shotbags. These come in handy for counterweighting cameras on the tilt plate or for trim weights on cranes. Sometimes they are good for counterweighting on Hotgears, which everyone seems to want to use instead of a proper remote head nowadays.
Channel locks
Crescent wrench
They're not mine, but I always have some Modern camera support rod rigs (you know, the heads and recievers that fit on the rods.)
Cloth diapers or towels, for when the operator spills his coffee.
Umbrella offset adapter
Cupholder. This one rarely makes an appearance. Generally, if the DP or operator asks if I have one I deny it unless I really like them. It just takes up a seat hole and I'm not running a deli cart.
I usually have some showercaps for the seats, but these may or may not make an appearance, depending on me remembering to ask the Best Boy to pick them up.
30' tape measure. I lose tape measures like they're giving them out by the dozen, so most shows buy me one at the beginning, although I have managed to hold onto this one for a while.
That's pretty much it. Most of it stays in a partitioned crate that is fastened to the top of the wedge-em-up bucket.

As far as what production expects me to bring, I can't say that I've ever been expected to bring anything. A level and a tape measure are the basics and most (or every) Key Grip has those anyway, so even if I didn't bring my stuff, it wouldn't be a big deal. I don't own a headset although I keep a walkie on the dolly.
I have few hard and fast rules, but here are a couple: One seat on the dolly. The really good AC's don't need to ride every shot and in fact rarely will except under special circumstances. If they ask to for a particular shot, I will always help them out, but it rarely comes up. No seat offsets. I hate (I'm using the word hate about a seat offset) seat offsets. They're stupid and needless. I managed to make it many years without ever using one until the show in Boston and a special occasion called for it. It gave me a rash. I don't put any sideboards on until they're needed. I don't automatically put the left one on in the morning. They get in the way, they're a hazard. If they need one, I'll get it. The operator just sitting on the dolly isn't helpless and if he's properly centered on the dolly, he doesn't need it. These are just things I've developed over the years for myself. I'm sure you all have your own little quirks that I would love to hear.


Anonymous said...

Nice post. I agree with you on the seat offsets. The only exception I would make is when you put the spoon (Low, low mode) on the fisher 10.
The basic tools I would expect a dolly grip to have would be whatever his particular preference of marking tools may be. Laser etc. Everything that is needed usually is carried on my trucks. If there is something particular the dolly grip needs he will usually requisition it from production via the best boy. But specific tools that he chooses to carry, he will usually bring as part of his kit.
D, I have a specific question for you. I bought a new set of porta glides and they seem to be making an awful lot of squeaky noises that I cant figure out.
When they arrived they were not assembled properly. The posts on which the trucks sit were not seated properly so they wobbled a lot. That was easy to fix. We used a drift to knock the bearings in so the roller bearing sat flush, and that sorted the wobble out. But the squeaks are a real mystery.

D said...

Hi Gripworks, The squeaks are a mystery to me also. I've never had a squeak with mine at all. If it's in the bearings, I would call them and state the problem and maybe they'll send you some new ones or switch them out. Those cost too much money for them to not make them right.

Unknown said...

2 posts in 4 days, I like it!

Does anyone else name their favorite level?

Anonymous said...

Hey it's great reading all your comments about your kits and ways you rig your dollies.
I guess even way down here in New Zealand once you've been doing it long enough it becomes a universal thing. I work and think in a very similar way even tho i have never worked with an American Dolly grip. One thing i would really like to see is the way you guys set up your trucks and onset kits, if you could send some pics to my email i'd greatly appreciate it.
We have what i believe is a unique way of transporting our dollies around set and on locations. We use what's called a loadcarrier, it's basically a 1200x700 base with a motor on the back and rubber tracks below, it has a frame over the dolly which houses all the accessories i need.Copy this link below to see the basic version.

When i figure it out i will post some photo's of our one and some rigs we've done in the past.
Cheers and thanks so much for having this site to chat with like-minded Grips.

D said...

Hi Si. I would appreciate any photos you have. I know about the Loadcarrier, but we don't use anything (normally) like that here although I don't know why. I'm not with my usual guys on this one, so my set up is different than the normal trailer/4-wheeler combo. It'll probably be no more interesting than a western dolly tricked out. Send anything you have and you can even write a guest post if you want about the thing.. Just email it to me and I'll paste it. I'll take some pictures once we have the current truck built out (we're building it for the show now.Thanks.