Saturday, September 01, 2012


I ran over one a few weeks ago and it actually derailed the dolly. It ran it the %^&* off the track. The fracking thing is as thick as a welding cable. Is this progress? It's like 1945 again. I used to bitch about the tiny BNC cable that I had to trail along. In comparison to this donkey d&*ck I'm dragging around now, the BNC is like a gossamer strand, almost lighter than air. What I would give to have it back. It's my first video show. Everything up to now has had a film mag with the name Panavision or Arri on the side of it. So now I'm dealing with a shaky camera (apologies to Arriflex. I know you guys are dealing with the issue. I have great love for you), a cable that rivals the one they strung across the ocean floor in the 40's, and you still have to reload the thing every twenty something minutes and it takes LONGER. I often wonder, if video technology had come first, would film be the new big thing? Would we all be rolling our eyes at this "new" technology with it's whirring cameras and quaint "gate checks?" Plus, the eyepiece isn't long enough. I now have to set the dolly up on the wrong side for a Lambda Head shot because the eyepiece isn't long enough to get the operator's head out from under the camera offset. I realize I sound like one of the old cranky Dolly Grips I used to laugh at and say, " I'll never turn into that guy." but I was young and stupid. Meanwhile, there's a concert at the amphitheater about four miles away from my house and I can hear it while I'm trying to sleep. So, excuse me, I've got to call the cops and ask them to turn down that awful rock and roll racket.


  1. Ha ha ha !! Cranky old grip !
    Who was wrangling the cable ? And was he asleep at the wheel ? I hate digital too ... I think it slows the process down and erodes on set discipline.

    ...apart from the damn cables !!

  2. You know nobody wants to start at the bottom anymore! Everyone's automatically a filmmmaker. I would wrangle the shit out of that cable.

  3. Welcome to Geezerville, where I too raise the cry "Ubangi now and forever!" I'm a fairly liberal guy, but this kind of PC crap -- offset instead of Ubangi -- drives me off my own rails.

    Sooner or later, we all turn into "that guy," but the difference lies in never succumbing to the black tide of bitterness that infects so many old timers.

    I don't see digital offering any advantages to those of us who do the heavy lifting on set. On a multi-camera show, we have four cameras on peds trailing that digital horse-cock, with two camera utility assistants assigned to keep it all in order as those camera move from set to set.

    This is progress?

    Now that the digital infrastructure is in place, the producers can save lots of money using the new technology, but then the bastards have the gall to turn around and pay us cable rate.

    And while you're yelling at the rock and rollers, tell 'em to get off your lawn...

  4. Ah that just made me laugh. Cables are evil. I'm curious as to why you have one like that though. I've done a lot of video shows and it seems to have started out with a huge one like that and has now shrunk down to a lovely BNC again. I wonder what is different on your show. As far as the video guy...who makes more than me probably...I've made it clear that if that cable is attached to the dolly, he needs to be around to wrangle it at all times unless his services are needed elsewhere and if so, he needs to get one of the ACs to cover him. If it ain't being wrangled, I unplug that mother fucker til someone comes and wrangles it. I only have two hands and both are occupied when I'm actually doing my job. How weird! I'm not quite the angry old dolly grip, yet but I'm sure as hell not gonna wrangle that cable while you play scrabble on your fucking phone. Oh and if you don't want it run over when we move better be johnny on the spot so when they say, "Good gate!" you're unplugging that thing and wrapping it up off the floor, cuz I'm not stopping every six feet as I move to the next position because you don't know to run cable against walls and cross as few thresholds as possible! Ok wait, maybe I am that old dolly grip after all. Oh well.

    I have the privilege of working on a film show once in awhile where there is no video cable on the floor whatsoever. It's all done with this new fangled space-age technology called "wireless transmission." I'm just a ditch digger, but if it works there, it's gotta work elsewhere...

    Wow I just re-read this post. I sound so angry! hahahaha!

  5. Love it !!

    I hate the thought that the video guy possibly earns more than us. He presses record. WOW !

  6. I've gone as far as stopping a shot until the cable wrangler gets off his ass to do it. I'm not doing both.

  7. I think it was a budgetary decision although this is far from a low budget movie.

  8. So...what's so offensive about "ubangi"? I can't figure out what that's a reference to. I've actually never heard it said (heard "offset head" plenty). But I'm a young'un, and art department, so maybe it persists as a department-internal thing.

  9. Rae, "Ubangi" refers to an African tribe known for placing disks in their bottom lips causing them to protrude well beyond their face. Although WC Fields did use the term "Ubangi" in a derogatory fashion in the 20's, the way we use it is clearly a reference to the appearance of the lip, as an offset resembles protruberence of the disk they place in their lip, an actual thing. There are terms I no longer use as they are clearly derogatory (although I didn't think of it that way until I grew older and realized it) such as "chinese" for placing the Peewee sideways on the track. This is just the term I learned many years ago and honestly didn't think of it as hurtful until later. I can understand how this might be taken as a slur by someone so I don't say this anymore.

  10. Huh; thanks for explanation. But man, if anyone's gonna take issue with offensive language on set, I don't think "ubangi" would really be first up. There's some bigger landmines in our common vocabulary, for sure.

    For what it's worth, I've discovered an actual benefit to VTR's existence; it gives everyone else somewhere to check frame without having to wade through the pack of company/agency appendages and their assistants all parked out in front of the main monitor.