Saturday, April 11, 2009

My GI Track Experience and a Visit from Wick

As I mentioned earlier this week, Gil at GI Track was kind enough, along with the guys at General Lift in LA, to arrange for us to have a few sticks of GI Track to try out. Our plan ha been to use it on some exteriors and put it through it's paces on a few shots. As it happened, the night we had it turned out to be all handheld and Steadicam, so I was relegated to running back to the truck in my downtime and trying it out without actually using it. The first question I wanted to answer was, how does it lay? I had three 8' and one 4' so I laid them out in a field with a slope. The track has a bigger profile than most track. It sits on an I-Beam which is, I guess about 3 inches high by three or four across. The latches are on the side rather than on the cross ties and I really like this feature. The track is really well constructed. It wedges really well and lays easily due to the wider surface of the beam. The only thing I would change on it is the actual engagement of the hook on the latches. The hook fits into a hole and tightens rather then grabbing onto a nub. I'm not crazy about this feature, but it's easily modified (plus, we had an early batch of it so it may be different now)Update- I spoke to Gil and his latches have been changed to stainless steel, much nicer than the one's we had on the first run track.. Once levelled, we put the caps on and threw both dollies on it. At first, there was a lot of friction between the Hustler wheels and the caps, but we actually just let the caps get water on them and it immediately loosened up. We also realized we hadn't properly staggered all the caps (it was a little dark by now). Once these bugs were worked out, it really began to perform. I can honestly say it's one of the smoothest rides on just dolly wheels I've ever had. Once the seams in the caps are staggered correctly it's pretty flawless and you could easily do a tight lens move on it without the skates. It does take a little more set up because of the caps, but after your crew got used to it, the time would probably be negligeable (plus, it wedges so much easier than Filmair track, that you'd probably come out about the same). I know a couple of guys who have bought it and I really want to get their impressions (Moose? are you out there?) and I know our own Azurgrip is a user. Overall, it's an ingenious system and really well made. I wish I could have spent more time with it to see how much time I could cut out of the lay, but I wanted to get it back to the owners before they needed it. I'll let Azurgrip give some more firsthand info if he wants to. The beauty of it is, if a cap gets damaged, it's easily replaced, unlike the fragile aluminum track we all deal with regularly. So visit the website and check it out. Ask questions. Gil is a great guy and will answer any you may have.
Also, Wick was in town at Fisher last week. He came by set and we had a little while to visit. We did some catching up and he told me about new things going on at Fisher. They're adding a new dampening system to their boom controls which should make it more intuitive for those of us who are not regular Fisher users. Also, he had some flyers for the Fisher Open House on Saturday May 16th at JL Fisher. The address is 1000 West Isabel St. in Burbank, CA 91506. There will be exhibits from different companies as well as facility tours by Jim Fisher and a Moving Camera Seminar from 2:00 to 3:30 PM. The whole thing starts at 10:00 AM and goes to 4:00 PM. Please go check it out. I'm going to try and make it myself if I don't have my daughter that weekend. It should be a really informative and good time.
Had an 80 hour week so I'm whipped. Drop a line and say hi.
On another note, the forum is not coming up for some reason. I've contacted Bravenet and am waiting on a solution. Bear with me.


Wick said...


It was great to meet you and the guys there. I'm just about done at NAB. Nothing too exciting or new here, and Las Vegas is not really my favorite place. The Forums came up okay for me, by the way.

D said...

Wick, it was such a pleasure to have you out to set. Thanks for your insights. I think the forums is just not coming up on my machine for some reason.

Anonymous said...

I am a camera operator and have used GI Track on several movies and not once did I ever feel a bump or seam in the track system. It is fast and and efficient,love it, wish more dolly grips or key grips would buy some, so I could have it all the time. Once you use it and go back to regular track you can really notice the difference.
Steve C