Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dancefloor Outside etc.

Hi Guys. My computer is holding together for the moment so I'll post quickly.
One thing about the show I'm on- a lot of dance floor. A lot of 5 point moves with three booms in them. I love it. One thing that you usually don't worry too much about normally is dance floor outside. You may have a couple of bucks made up in the off chance, but usually, DPs and directors will go for the easier option of Steadicam (see my post from a year or so ago, Steadicam is not faster!) On my show, however, it's a constant possibility. One of the readers of this site, GHB, has had aluminum tracking frames made up which really simplify the process. We are renting them on this show and they work really well and go down fast. We have them in 4x8, 4x4, 2x8, and a pie piece or two. They bolt together into a solid surface and you level them just as if they were track and then floor them. They fit in the jockey boxes and are a lifesaver. Hopefully, GHB will comment on the specifics of how he had them made etc. I rarely lay track on this show because I like to give the DP and operator a little more freedom to widen on tighten as we shoot and not be locked onto track. TV, as most of you know, tends to be a little more free form than movies, so I made the decision to floor when possible to allow that. Dolly wise, I'm pushing a Hustler 4 and a Peewee 4. I am not completely satisfied with the arm on the Hustler. When I checked out the dolly, they had it waiting for me and I thought it was a little too quick on the up actuation. There's not much feather built into the arm. So I asked if they had another to look at and was told that they had none ready yet. I went ahead and took it and it worked fine, just not what I wanted. My intention was to get by with it for a month or so and then trade out when they had more available. As it happened, we had a shot with the Fisher 23 last week and they sent another Hustler to support it. I tried the arm on it out of curiosity and found I liked it better. So I kept it. It's much more what I look for as far as feathering, although I do plan to crack it open and tune it up a little. There's a little too much play between up and down, but a much better start on the up. This is the second Hustler arm I've gotten that was too quick on the up. When it first came out, every arm I got was pristine. I mean they were perfect. Now, the shops have had time to play with them and there is a little more variation in the arms I see. I'll talk to them at some point and see what is going on and what we can do about it. I don't mean this as a criticism of Chapman. They've always been very responsive to my needs. I just think there's a communication breakdown between the techs and the dolly grips. What do you other Chapman guys think?

4 comments:

Azurgrip said...

I'd love to hear more about GHB's frames!!

One trick that got me out of a bind years ago was using track as you sub base. We were in a field and needed to lay an 8x8 dance floor and the Key Grip suggested using track. It worked out really well!

GHB said...

The aluminum frames are 1" x 2" rectangular tubes welded together in the shapes that D described. I got a guy in L.A. to weld them for me. It's a tough job. They obviously have to be perfectly fabricated and perfectly flat. He said he's been welding his whole life and that was a challenging project. Then the holes all have to line up perfectly or you can't bolt them together. But like D said, it's an awesome sub-floor for dance floor moves outside and any soft carpet floor inside. For those of us that love to do dance floor moves and really like to give the DP that option outside, they are really great to have. I can give anyone that wants more detailed specs more info if they want. I'd love to see more of these out in the field. I copied the idea from my dolly mentor and he uses them all the time.

As far as the Chapman rental house is concerned...

I think when they first came out with the Hustler IV, they were all tuned perfectly, but of course everyone has their preferences on how that boom should perform. So Chapman obliged and tuned them all to taste, but now it's a crap shoot when you get your dolly. I just do like you guys do and have the techs tune it the way I like it when I'm there. Takes longer, but I'm the one that's gotta push the thing for three months and I can't blame the boom when I'm late on a stand up....

The Grip Works said...

Hi GHB,
What wall thickness of Alu do you use? I have frames that I use, but made of steel. As you can imagine, they are a bitch to carry. What kind of deflection to you get on the Alu? If I understand right you use rectangular box section? I use 'C' section. But its very heavy. I also have slots for sticking legs in, so it doubles up as deck.

GHB said...

It's 1/8' thick wall, rectangular and they're rock solid. when it's all bolted together there's no sag at all. Basically the 4' x 8' frame is exactly that and then has a cross section of stock every two feet going the 4' direction and one long one down the 8' middle. they are really light weight due to the aluminum. one guy could carry two or three of the big ones alone. essentially, it's a two foot square grid within every piece. Maybe D can take a photo of one when he gets a chance and post it. I don't think I have any.