There's a scene in Die Hard where the FBI agent, played by Robert Davi, assesses the situation and says, "This is a standard A-7 scenario." or something to that affect. This line comes to my mind whenever a shot or setup that seems all too familiar comes up. Once you've done this long enough, it's hard to find a shot, or variation of a shot that you haven't done. There are also common dolly set-ups that you just have filed away in your head that you can pull up from the memory bank and slam together without too much forethought. The standard A-7 scenario. You know with a Lambda Head that you're going to need a camera offset (what we used to call a Ubangi until someone with way too much time on their hands decided to be offended by that term. I still call it that though.) You know you'll need a sideboard if it's a moving shot. And you know how to orient the offset in such a way that the camera operator can do the shot in a reasonably comfortable way. I generally always use a 12" riser with a Lambda also. It helps get the dolly arm away from the operator and I can still hit the floor with the head. After a while, you have dozens of these different set-ups floating around in your database. That's what helps separate a part-timer from a full timer. It takes years to build up a catalog of different scenarios to draw from. Over-Under Camera Rig? Bam! Got it. Twin Dollies Tied Together? Boom! Get me some pipe, sideboards for the Peewee and chain vice grips. Need to mount an actor on the dolly with the camera looking at him as he moves back? Front board and a camera offset (Ubangi). This database is what will save you valuable time and double work when someone else would be looking down and scratching their head.
On a different note, the show is going well. Again, the Camera Operator, Jaques, Matt, the DP, and Jeff, the
First AC are all top notch and a pleasure to work with. Internet service is spotty here, so I may be a little infrequent, but keep checking in.
The art of Dolly Gripping is like no other job in the world. It falls to us to work out the mechanics of a particular shot, as well as offer a smooth, aesthetically pleasing move which makes the shot work and delivers emotion to the scene. It's the ultimate blend of engineering and art. This website is a place for professionals in motion picture camera platform movement to meet and swap tips, stories, and gripe a little about the difficulties we often face, but rarely get to talk about among ourselves. It's also a place for aspiring Dolly Grips to learn a little something from the old pros. So, welcome. Look around and join our little community. The site is run by myself, D, and Azurgrip, two guys who have each spent the last 20 years moving cameras around film sets. But it also benefits from the readership and participation of hundreds of Dolly and Key Grips from around the world, men and women who have helped deliver some of the most memorable and beautiful moving shots on film. So if you have any questions, please ask. You can ask questions or make comments on our message forum, which is below, just above the photos, or email us at dollygrippery at gmail dot com. We, or one of the experienced grips who frequent this site will answer.
If you're looking for something in particular, please check out the "Links" section. Everything from equipment in India, to glamour shots of grips can be found there.
What you won't find here: How to make a dolly out of plywood, info on the Wa11y Dolly, anything about how to move a boat.