Saturday, February 13, 2010

What's New at Chapman

I spent the morning at Chapman- LA checking out dollies for my next show. Shafi, the tech who sets up my dollies, offered to take me around to see what's going on in the various shops there. I had been through it before a few years ago, but it's been a while and this was the first time I had been there on a Saturday, giving Shafi an opportunity to take me around at a more leisurely pace. The most interesting thing was the new 75' Hydrascope, which Sam, the man building it, was happy to show me. It's still in pieces (big pieces), but it's going to be a beautiful arm. It will mount on a Titan base as well as have a smaller motorized base for other applications. I am really excited to see the finished product.
 I also saw one more future dolly, which I can't talk about yet (Ok, I didn't see the finished product, just a hollowed out chassis with a label on it). It's something that's been talked about for a while and I know a lot of you will be interested in, but I don't know when it will be finished or when I can expand on it. So enough about that.
I met a lot of the guys behind the scenes at Chapman, and got a lot better insight into what goes into building a dolly, from material delivery to final testing. As an East Coast Dolly Grip for many years, I never really had an opportunity to deal with their West Coast facilities or people. My dollies all came out of a local rental house or from the Chapman facility in Orlando, so, other than talking to Christine or Hector, I never really crossed paths  with them. The dolly is the tool of our trade, though, and we depend on these people to make sure our machines do what we need them to do. So, I'm making an effort to be a little more involved with the people there. If those of you who use Chapman have never been through the shop, or met any of their talented technicians, I suggest you drop by on a Saturday and learn what goes into making these fantastic machines that we all depend upon. Give them some feedback. If they don't know what we need, they can't help us. As Dolly Grips we have to have a relationship with them. They've always gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure my dollies were right and I rest easier knowing that they're only a phone call away.


Azurgrip said...

So cool to hear! I'm still waiting to the HydraScopes to be installed at my local rental houses. Oddly enough we've had an influx of TechnoCranes in town. More than there's work. It's a rough financial decision.

What about Chapman's carbon fiber or like track? Any word on that?

New chassis? Looking forward to it!

GHB said...

Shafi is the coolest. Such an awesome tech, too. I can't wait to see the 75 footer. Should be awesome.

acraw said...

Hi guys. I've been out of touch for a while, though have been reading whenever I can. Chapman is truly an amazing place. Shafi is also who I deal with mostly there now and he's great--he has an instict for knowing what I need to have done and he's one of the nicest people you'll meet in this business. All the techs I've dealt with at Chapman have been wonderful and inventive people who come up with solutions to the problems I've put before them that are inventive and well engineered every time. I absolutely agree that taking the time to tour the shop can give you an insight to what this company can do that you'll never get in a hundred years of picking up and dropping off. I hope this doesn't sound too much like a commercial for Chapman but I've had a very long relationship with them over there and I'm still amazed at the work they put in to give us new and better tools to do our job.

D said...

Acraw, it's so good to hear from you. Your name came up on Saturday with Shafi. Thanks for the comments and thanks for staying in touch.